Premium Beauty News - Is Sothys’ story rooted in French cosmetics?
Christian Mas - At the beginning, in 1946, Sothys was a Parisian beauty salon. It was purchased by my family in 1966. The salon stood out because they made their own formulas. So, the brand got part of what I call the new wave of French beauty, with the Carita sisters, Nadia Payot, and all this flourishing, pioneering generation of cosmetologists and craftspeople.
My father, Bernard Mas, soon made the brand operational to sell his formulas in France and beyond. We went from a craft business to an SME. In the 1970s, industrialization naturally became a possibility: my father chose to go back to Corrèze, where he built the brand’s plant, because our family roots were there. And this choice became a real strength.
Premium Beauty News - How did the brand grow on the global level?
Christian Mas - My uncle developed sales in France and my father mainly focused on our growth on the global scale, always through the professional network – they stuck to their first choice. We have very strong stories for our export distribution networks, in particular in the US. In the 1980s, we set up a second local production plant in Miami, Florida, which is now celebrating its 40th anniversary, and then a platform for Asia based in Singapore. Today, we are well-established in about 60 countries and distributed in 90 countries, with a strong presence on both all European markets and our two main subsidiaries’ markets, the US and Singapore. One subsidiary represents 5 to 60 people, one logistics centre, one sales team, local trainers to explain how to use our methods and products, and a marketing hub.
Premium Beauty News - What is Sothys today?
Christian Mas - My brother and I took over more than ten years ago. We kept growing in the beauty salon industry, almost reaching the top position, with 15,000 addresses around the world. Sothys has no wholly-owned salon, except the one located 128, Rue Saint Honoré, the historical address that will reopen in January 2023, after some embellishments. The group achieves a consolidated turnover of more or less 50 million euros, 65% to 70% of which is achieved on the global level. We also successfully entered the high-end hotel sector: we are present in about a hundred four- or five-star hotels in France and in a few beautiful places around the world (Hanoi, Osaka, Bora Bora, Marrakech, Monaco…).
Our development strategy is based on our customers’ loyalty to our network. Without the service to appeal to customers, it is complicated. So, we remain in beauty salons and we aim to develop in the hotel sector through our subsidiaries abroad.
Premium Beauty News - Sothys highlights values close to Nature. How is that conveyed in your formulas?
Christian Mas - When we succeeded him, as a visionary, my father created a botanical garden in Corrèze, in my grandfather’s village, Auriac. He put a lot of energy into it, and now this four-hectare botanical garden helps us study the biotope in its 150 hectares of protected forest. Our visitors can discover how Sothys interacts with its environment. We have green expertise and we work on our flagship actives with the garden. All this is done with local producers, saffron growers in the Lot region, or birch sap locally harvested for our organic range.
Premium Beauty News - What makes the Sothys products stand out?
Christian Mas - Our truth comes from salon treatments. Our laboratory counts about thirty scientists and an integrated salon. Everything is done in vivo, between researchers and field people, and product development takes place at the same time as the treatment phase. That is what makes the difference. About fifty new formulas are created every year for the brand, and they are sold or used in beauty salons.
Premium Beauty News - Can you tell us about the next launches?
Christian Mas - Next year, our organic face range will be completed with a body range. There will also be seasonal treatments and collaborations with French brands sharing the same values. Next January, we will also announce a major launch: a new range of Sothys hotel amenities. We will meet all hotel room needs with a “plastic neutral”, refillable range. Everything is produced at our plant, and the products will be the same as in beauty salons.
Premium Beauty News - To finish, how do you define the Sothys woman?
Christian Mas - She is a 40/45-year-old woman who likes going to beauty salons. But with social media and our hotel presence, our average customer is getting younger. Consumers are aware of our values. In the hotel industry, we also have 30% to 40% of men coming for treatments, so we have reached a new customer category.