France Business Report 2018

Presented by

Discovery Reports

Clarins solidifies global presence with new concept stores in Asia

French luxury skincare brand is devoted to combining nature, science and integrity to achieve an enriching life for its clients

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 March, 2018, 10:21am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 March, 2018, 10:21am

[Country Business Reports interviews and articles by Discovery Reports]

For Groupe Clarins, the promise of a beautiful life made by founder Jacques Courtin-Clarins 60 years ago still holds true today. The renowned French luxury skincare brand is devoted to combining nature, science and integrity to achieve an enriching life for its clients. Revealing beauty that is natural and responsible, Clarins continues to share its expertise and experience in Asia and across the globe.

Clarins has been daring to innovate for decades. Supported by the motto “do more, do better and enjoy doing so”, one of the world leaders in cosmetics and skincare continues to create exciting products and concepts that entice more women and men in Asia to try its luxurious and highly effective beauty offerings.

“It’s proven – Clarins makes life more beautiful,” says Dr Olivier Courtin-Clarins, Clarins’ managing director who, along with brother Christian Courtin-Clarins, is a second-generation owner of the family-run company. “Our services and our connection to our clients differentiate us from other beauty and skincare brands. We evoke a distinct feeling from our customers about the brand.”

Clarins is implementing a new management strategy to solidify its global presence. With regional hubs in Hong Kong and Singapore, the company is decentralising control to directly provide better services and more fitting products that address a market’s culture, environment and specific needs.

Concept stores sprouting across mainland China, for instance, cater to Chinese clients’ penchant for make-up and cosmetics. In Thailand, Clarins seeks to sustain its No 3 rank in the spa business, and in parallel, the brand is also bolstering its skincare line in Japan and South Korea.

“We know each country more now, especially China,” Olivier Courtin-Clarins says. “The business in Asia has changed a lot. It is very profitable. We opened a new concept store in Shanghai in 2017 following the success of the one in Hong Kong, and we plan to open five more shops until the end of 2018.”

The concept store in Hong Kong is a sight to behold. Enveloped in sophisticated red walls and warm white light with splashes of natural wood, the shop resembles a woman’s ultimate dream vanity room. Products are showcased according to a woman’s present preoccupation. For people on-the-go, clients can delight in various products designed for travellers and packaged in compact containers. The open spa section features a luxurious skin pampering line and a maternity section showcases products that support new or expectant mothers. Each area entices potential clients to touch, feel and experience beauty by sampling the products through their own hands and fingertips or with the help of Clarins beauty specialists.

The shop also pays homage to Clarins’ best-selling products through the years. One of the company’s iconic and most successful creations is the Double Serum. A distinct, double-formula facial oil that combines the best water-soluble and oil-soluble anti-ageing ingredients to stimulate the skin’s five vital functions, the Double Serum addresses the skin’s roles of regeneration, oxygenation, nutrition, hydration and protection.

A consistent bestseller since it was introduced 32 years ago, the Double Serum is the epitome of nature, science and passion colliding into one product. Among its many benefits are the reduction of wrinkles, tightening of pores, enhanced skin elasticity, skin radiance and all-day skin hydration.

“The new Double Serum is now in its eighth generation,” Olivier Courtin-Clarins says. “We continually improve it to make it more effective, natural and organic. We adapt it to customer needs and the environment.”

Decoding the language of youth

Scientific innovation is at the heart of the new Double Serum and by constantly developing and improving its formula, Clarins has decoded the language of youth. Articulating the youth formula as “expression + listening”, Clarins put together a cocktail of 21 powerful plant extracts to optimise the abilities of the cell language to stimulate the skin’s five vital functions.

“When the skin is young, cells emit and receive messages from other cells and from the environment,” Olivier Courtin-Clarins says. “This effective communication optimises the performance of the five vital functions, which is key to the skin’s youthful appearance and beauty. With age, the ability of cells to communicate is impaired.”

Through the application of plant extracts, Clarins protects the cells’ ability to respond to other cells, and to aggressors. After studying more than 100 active ingredients, Clarins focused on turmerone, a highly concentrated turmeric extract.

“Turmerone was the most effective element in protecting the cells’ listening system,” Olivier Courtin-Clarins says.

A key molecule in plant communication, turmerone has many roles including alerting other plants of danger and attracting pollinating insects for reproduction. Through the turmerone molecule, cellular listening abilities are naturally enhanced.

Aside from the new Double Serum, Clarins is also introducing its make-up range in Asia. Its Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil is a lip care treatment infused with nourishing plant oils that enhance the lips’ natural beauty. Available in six alluring shades, the lip comfort oil leaves a non-sticky finish and a subtle sweet taste. It comes with a sponge-tip applicator and can be worn alone or over lipstick to add gloss and protection.

Clarins also invites consumers in Asia to try its new line of skin brightening serums and facial scrubs. Through a major scientific breakthrough in understanding skin pigmentation, Clarins discovered the power of the acerola fruit extract in providing fair, healthy and glowing skin.

From plant to product

Pure plant extract oil has always been a staple component of the Clarins brand. Ever since the company designed its natural range of products in 1968, Clarins has painstakingly adopted a continuously innovative approach that incorporates these essential oils also known as plant gold – the most precious, active and richest part of the plant extract.

After years of research and rigorous testing, the first anti-pollution complex was formulated in 1991
Olivier Courtin-Clarins, managing director

“Clarins has always favoured using natural ingredients,” Olivier Courtin-Clarins says. “If given a choice between a synthetic ingredient and its plant-derived equivalent, we always choose the plant. Several hundreds of plant species worldwide are used to create our products.”

Clarins researchers attain innovation through biomimicry. The approach consists of observing nature and being inspired by human designs to stimulate the creation of cutting-edge products.

“Since the skin is in constant contact with the environment, it is vulnerable to premature ageing and a loss of radiance and suppleness. Clarins was the first to notice this phenomenon,” Olivier Courtin-Clarins says. “After years of research and rigorous testing, the first anti-pollution complex was formulated in 1991. This complex is based entirely on natural plant extracts and many Clarins day-time skincare and make-up treatments incorporate this high-performance ingredient today.”

With research units based in Pontoise, France, Clarins validates at least 60 raw materials and studies 300 new plants each year. Obtaining the Good Laboratory Practice accreditation in Europe and complying with international health, safety and environmental standards, Clarins laboratories conduct safety and tolerance testing for all products in vitro and in vivo.

Responsible beauty

The growth and development of Clarins, from a beauty institute in Paris to a prestigious global brand, has always been based on respect for mankind and nature. The company supports local communities and purchases raw materials in accordance with fair trade principles.

Since most of its innovations come from plants, Clarins has committed to protecting plant environments and the people that cultivate them. One of its key programmes is the China Seeds of Beauty Program in Yunnan province, a known hotspot for biodiversity in China. Many of the plants that grow in Yunnan are used for food, nutrition, beauty and health. Through the China Seeds of Beauty Program, Clarins hopes to extend its knowledge of Chinese medicinal plants while safeguarding Yunnan’s biodiversity. It also aims to empower women to develop social enterprises linked to preserving the environment.

“With a lot of traditional plants in China, we are starting to study some, and we work with an organisation that helps us get the seeds and the medicinal plants while also planting back in China,” Olivier Courtin-Clarins says. “Since the programme started in 2012, we have planted around 30,000 to 50,000 trees in China.”

Clarins uses more than 250 plant-based raw ingredients in its products. With more people depending on medicinal plants to preserve their health and appearance, customers are assured of finding the right routine within a wide range of Clarins treatments.

“Since everyone’s skin is different, Clarins offers a selection of textures whatever the age, skin type, preference and time of year,” Olivier Courtin-Clarins says. “Not only has it mastered how to create a product without harming the environment, but it has become a pioneer in developing the finest consistencies, application methods, scents and colours.”

Clarins products and application techniques are the fruit of more than 50 years of communication with its clients. The company develops formulas based on customer feedback and testimonials. Its founder Jacques Courtin-Clarins started these exchanges with consumers, thanks to small cards slipped within the product boxes. This special relationship between Clarins and its clients continues today through online or social media channels. Platforms such as online retail shop Tmall enhance customers’ digital experiences as e-commerce sites support Clarins shops in department stores and concept stores worldwide.

“Clarins is a specialist in skincare,” Olivier Courtin-Clarins says. “It has the capability to constantly improve and enrich existing products, thanks to ongoing dialogue between itself and the customer.”