Premium Beauty News - Innovation is an integral part of Schwan Cosmetics?
Ulrich Griebel - Unquestionably, yes! There are no secret recipes. Innovation is not an option. Even during the 2009 crisis that in the end didn’t impact too hard on us, we haven’t stopped innovating. Especially in the fields of formulations and application formats that really constitute the heart of our business. Sound industrial implementation remains very important of course, and the development of our international teams as well. And we invest heavily in both areas.
Premium Beauty News - Your international strategy seems to have gained momentum?
Ulrich Griebel - Well, I would be more tempted to say it has consolidated itself. With the acquisition and continuing reorganization of Cosmolab, we intend to build a much stronger partner for the mass market brands in North America and Mexico. In a nutshell, Cosmolab will focus even more on customer service and product development, whereas the Mexican plant will provide a very efficient manufacturing platform.
Premium Beauty News - What is the synergy with the unit you own in New Jersey, near New York?
Ulrich Griebel - Schwan Cosmetics USA stays independent. It actually doesn’t even operate in the same market segment. It seems like yesterday that we decided to open this plant with just two assembly lines for the production of mechanical eyeliners and lipliners, but 2011 actually marks the 15th anniversary of the company. Meanwhile it has grown significantly, constantly adding more capacity, product and service offerings to its North American customer base. It has actually become the birthplace of many award winning products and is recognized by the entire cosmetics industry as a technologically advanced and innovative partner. A second facility focussing on the production of liquid eyeliners and a comprehensive secondary packaging operation was opened recently in the close neighbourhood.
Premium Beauty News - What about Asia?
Ulrich Griebel - Clearly, we are strengthening our presence. Our Chinese operation has been a successful first step starting in 2001. But Asia should not be reduced to China only. It’s an extremely dynamic region with many different consumer preferences and markets. We will announce a number of decisions shortly.