Launched by two friends determined to modernize the use of Savon de Marseille, La Compagnie de Provence soon got the public success expected. A brand of the Ganassini group since 2013, the company now boasts a range of 180 references, counts 1,000 points of sale in France, and exports products in about 40 countries. “I joined La Compagnie de Provence six years ago with one mission: it consisted in repositioning the brand, ensuring it was in line with market trends and consumer expectations,” explains Guillaume Cornu Thénard.
A cosmetics turn
Building on the dermocosmetics expertise of the Ganassini group, La Compagnie de Provence managed to broaden its offering with a substantial face & body care range.
“We created collections with shea butter for the sake of its nourishing virtues, and with velvet algae for its moisturizing benefits. More recently, our holistic apothecary collection combined vegetable and essential oils, and we also have an anti-ageing line with antioxidant fig. We always make a clear, very simple promise, so consumers immediately understand what they buy. This is part of our brand’s codes – we used to write Savon Liquide Marseille in big capital letters on our bottles,” says Guillaume Cornu Thénard.
Today, liquid soap still accounts for 46% of the turnover. It is the entry and discovery point for the brand, but in just a few years, face care and body care have reached a 10% and 30% share, respectively. Home product references (candles, dispensers, cleaning products) complete the picture.
The formulas are composed of at least 95% of ingredients of natural origin. Flagship ingredients are mainly derived from short distribution channels in Provence, and the primary packaging is made from glass or rPET. All inks are plant-derived.
“We made a significant investment and recruited a person in charge of our CSR policy. All the objectives defined by the UN were fulfilled, and this year, we will mainly focus on life quality at work, bearing in mind that the company employs about 40 people. Then, our second target will have to do with packaging to make sure we use as little plastic as possible. Our last priority will be our carbon footprint. All this shows how committed we must be, and we will publish our results at the end of the year,” explains Guillaume Cornu Thénard.
Expanding in France and on the global level
As it plans to achie a 7.3-million-euro turnover this year, with an annual growth rate of 10%, the brand keeps developing in France: it will boast about 1,000 points of sale by the end of the year, mainly in the perfume world – at Sephora’s and Marionnaud’s –, which will represent 300 of them by late 2022. Pharmacies make up the second network, and concept stores, the third.
“We have also defined two other priorities: digital technologies, with our e-shop, which represents more than 10% of our turnover, and wholly-owned stores, because they are crucial in terms of consumer experience. All this helps understand the specificity of our brand, between modernity and tradition,” adds the General Manager.
The brand counts seven wholly-owned stores mainly located in southern France. No further openings are scheduled this year, but the Marseille shop should be redesigned to house an organic coffee shop, a wall of ingredients and, more importantly, a refill fountain. This concept has already been implemented at Galeries Lafayette and in the headquarters store in Aix-en-Provence.
Export accounts for 65% of the company’s turnover, with a presence in about 40 countries, in particular in department stores (Europe, North America, Argentina, Asia, and Oceania).
“The brand quickly managed to establish itself abroad, because people all around the world have a passion for traditional as well as contemporary Provence. This is what makes La Compagnie de Provence unique: we talk a lot about lavender and olive trees, but we equally highlight La Cité Radieuse by Le Corbusier, the LUMA tower, the Mucem, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, impressionism… Over the past few years, new cultural and architectural dynamics in Provence have perfectly echoed our brand’s initial positioning,” concludes Guillaume Cornu Thénard.