In preparation for the Beauty & Money conference in New York, Benedict H. Auld, CEO and Founder of Lapidarius, caught up with Julien Roux, head of sales and business development at Vendôme Beauty Paris. The brand was one of the independent beauty brands hand-picked to share their business and product in a quick-fire round of presentations at Beauty & Money New York.
What is the unique value proposition your brand or product brings to the category?
Alexandre, our founder, is a floral artist—and she is deeply involved in her brand. It is based on her experiences spanning both France and the USA, both Paris and NYC. In essence, she has observed the Frenchwoman’s relationship with flowers, gardens, and botanicals, and taken inspiration from these things to build an aromachology brand for the modern woman. Where ancient wisdom meets cutting edge.
Tell me about that woman.
She’s our core target. We define her as a woman who has a singular way of life. She is very free and independent, doing what she wants to do without fear of being judged. She is connected, open-minded, strong, living a Parisian (or a New York City) lifestyle, she is connected to nature but also connected to technology, with her friends, with social media. This brand was created for her.
Our goal as a brand was to create a mix of modernity and authenticity with the art and science of aromachology and botanicals. That implies creating product from natural florals and botanicals matched with state-of-the-art technology in manufacturing. Why? Alexandre wanted to share her florals knowledge with a great number of women who want to experience that—the atmosphere and health of the garden. Think of the Tuileries Garden in Paris—it’s four seasons, it’s always beautiful, and each season is different. It’s a constant source of pleasure for our woman. So, we take that as constant inspiration for what we do.
What journey is the brand on today in terms of challenges and big opportunities?
Our challenge is to grow this brand carefully, step by step. It takes lots of time to build a brand. Good marketers and retailers realize that. So, that means we have to convince our retail partners that Vendôme is unique and worth building slowly. We have adopted a "love brand" strategy. It requires focusing all our energy on our core target, reaching into her heart as well as her mind. That’s the big opportunity.
Once we have partnerships with retailers, we then will implement our activation plans on social media and begin to do serious in-store promotions, like events, training—everything we need to do to make it a success.
We will start in NYC with small, independent stores. It’s important for us to focus on luxury and prestige channels—and both online and brick-and-mortar channels. We want the brand to be accessible, though—in terms of price, more so than our competitors. So, we are doing two things: offering a more authentic, thoughtful, ancient wisdom meets modern technology, and that means better product. And, we intend to price them so that they offer much better value than most luxury and prestige skincare brands.
What would your ideal investor look like?
They have to share our vision and our values. And, then, what we need is very basic: added knowledge and experience in luxury skincare. That it takes a lot of time to build a brand. We need someone to help and support us.
What is your vision for the brand? Where do you see the brand in 5 years?
We want to be the most natural, accessible, luxury beauty brand in the world in five years. That means being the most loved brand in the world. We are today targeting USA and France and UK. Starting out from those three we will eventually reach the world. We are pragmatic, and this will take time.
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