Thibaut Fougeras created France Lab ten years ago after a marketing and management career at the L’Oréal and LVMH groups. He got the idea of offering brands and companies willing to develop their own product lines a “one-stop shop” that would gather all the skills needed for it under one roof. As a result, today, France Lab activities cover R&D – they have got their own formulation laboratory –, marketing, design, regulatory affairs, manufacturing, and quality, with either a full-service or tailored offering.
“Our positioning is tailor-made beauty delivered as fast as possible. And we focus on high-end, sophisticated, complex, and innovative projects in all product categories,” explains the founding President. “Our strength lies in our ability to talk marketing and R&D at the same time - these two dimensions are key to make a product original and successful,” he adds.
France Lab has another asset: they joined the Marie Claire Group in 2015, which helped them broaden their scope of action to the group’s many customers on the global level. “Marie Claire is one of the most famous French brands in the world. The group is at the core of global cosmetics trends and is present in 30 countries. Now, we have access to all these sources of information, and it is extremely precious for us to create our products as well as for our customers,” says Thibaut Fougeras.
A thorough three-part process
Under the impetus of Thibaut Fougeras, the Marie Claire Group completes the France Lab strategy to seduce all customer types on the global stage.
Already present in New York City, France Lab will inaugurate brand new offices in Shanghai by the end of the year. “This means we will be done with our international expansion, bearing in mind that over half our customers are based abroad,” comments the Director. At the heart of the Chinese metropolis, the new offices will be designed like in Manhattan: a whole ecosystem housing both the France Lab services and an incubator space for innovative start-ups to develop.
This initiative is perfectly in line with the group’s second ongoing project: the creation of Marie Claire Beauty Ventures, a new investment structure to help promising young cosmetics start-ups break through.
“We are on the look-out for promising concepts, wherever they be. This strategy is coherent with the new market situation – there is a revolution going on. We aim to make a difference by identifying these innovative projects very early, and then supporting them with the whole ecosystem they need to succeed. We have already acquired holdings in the Prose and Loli brands in the US and provide them with full support in our offices in New York City,” explains Thibaut Fougeras.
Lastly, the group has just purchased two industrial sites in France: ABO Cosmétiques is based in Mantes, west of Paris, and specialized in cosmetics manufacturing and packaging, while Cegedis is based in Chartres, south-west of Paris, and specialized in perfumes manufacturing and packaging. This acquisition involves their logistics platform that can store and ship products all over the world.
The idea is to add yet another string to Marie Claire’s bow, by reaching customers willing to directly exchange with a plant, without going through the development phase offered by France Lab. “These super agile plants are not meant to become France Lab plants, quite the contrary. France Lab will keep working with their historic network of industrial partners to offer customers the best solution possible. These plants’ development approach consists in searching for global brands that highlight made in France products and want to produce in France. As a result, every company will keep growing independently, but as a complementary entity within the group.”
With this new beauty division, the Marie Claire Group intends not only to pursue their mission of serving beauty players, wherever they be in the world, but to expand it.