Premium Beauty News - How is the Mustela brand perceived today?

Sophie Robert-Velut - The brand was created in 1950 and has a genuine legacy in terms of recognition and reputation. Both in France and in the countries where we are present. The brand was launched to care for the skin of newborns, with this idea that still drives us today: to be at the side of parents to believe that tomorrow’s world can be a better place. The present must not compromise the future, so our manufacturing activity for children and the family must find its place in a desirable future and guarantee a radically lighter footprint.

Premium Beauty News - What are your objectives in terms of brand positioning?

Sophie Robert-Velut - To move from the baby care category to a more family-oriented positioning. In our markets, the trend is to consume less but better. There is also a desire on the part of parents, once they have found a brand they like, not only for what it has to offer but also for its societal commitments, to keep using it over a longer period of time and more broadly for all the family members. We are therefore expanding some of our categories, for example, our products for atopic eczema or sun care. Mustela’s organic range, launched at the end of 2019, was initially more positioned as a baby care range, but given that parents have also adopted it, these products are now positioned as family care products.

We recently launched our Multi-purpose balm with 3 organic certified avocado extracts, a product for the whole family. I don’t want to over-segment our offer with products only intended for adults. We must not create confusion, our aim is really to cater for the whole family.

Premium Beauty News - You have embarked the Mustela brand on a relevant CSR strategy and Laboratoires Expanscience is also B Corp certified, so what concrete actions have you put in place?

Sophie Robert-Velut - With this new CSR strategy, our ambition is to become a company with a positive and regenerative impact by 2040. This covers many aspects. We have set ourselves the following objectives: firstly, zero waste by this deadline and, secondly, to contribute to global carbon neutrality by 2030. This commitment includes being in a position to refuse the packs by switching to solids, and to propose "Reviens", a range of refillable Mustela products, already in use in pharmacies and drugstores. With this solution, we also want to invite competing brands to join us, because this is a consumer gesture that can only become widespread if several market players are also offering it. The planet should no longer be a competitive issue.

We, therefore, want to propose a zero-waste offer for each major useful gesture. For example, at least one washing product will come in a solid or refillable version, the same for atopy or normal skin products, etc. We want the consumer to always have the possibility to choose a product that is better for the planet.

Regarding carbon neutrality, we are working on analysing the life cycle of our products, of our ingredients, which play the most important part in our carbon footprint, by securing their sourcing and traceability. We are also trying to increase our use of upcycled ingredients and food co-products. All our portfolio adjustments are moving towards organic or an even higher level of naturalness.

Premium Beauty News - And in terms of innovation?

Sophie Robert-Velut - Rather than talking about innovation, we prefer to work on the usefulness of the products we put on the market, and on correcting the negative environmental impact of our activity. This goes beyond removing controversial ingredients from our products. It means, for example, also offering a fragrance-free range, or with lighter natural fragrances, even if the Mustela scent remains a Proust’s madeleine.

Premium Beauty News - What about your international footprint?

Sophie Robert-Velut - We are present in about a hundred countries, with fourteen subsidiaries around the world, in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Russia, and also a Chinese subsidiary, which opened last summer. In this very broad geographical area, there is already a lot to do and we don’t intend to open any new markets for the time being. In Europe, the brand has a strong presence, similar to France, where we have been present for decades. In other countries, Mustela is more considered as a premium brand, which is less well known, although it is progressing very quickly, but with a very qualitative and natural brand image. Our commitments are perceived by parents as being of value.

Premium Beauty News - What is your take on this global strategy?

Sophie Robert-Velut - Two and a half years ago, we completely revamped our brand platform and worked on a raison d’être based on the empowerment of parents, starting with a change in our communication charter, so that we would no longer talk in a way that could make parents or pregnant women feel guilty. Qualitatively, a new narrative was established. We communicate with a touch of humour and diversity, there are as many good educational systems as there are parents.

Today, Mustela has again returned to growth and is gaining market shares in all the countries where the brand is present, in terms of both value and volume.