PARIS — Eco-luxury beauty brand La Bouche Rouge has raised 10 million euros in funding from investors Mirabaud Lifestyle Impact & Innovation, the Chalhoub Group and BPI.
Nicolas Gerlier, a L’Oréal veteran, founded La Bouche Rouge in 2017 with the aim of creating the first cosmetics brand worldwide to ban microplastics and plastics from everything, including product formulation, manufacturing and selling.
“There are three key words: rethink, refill, recycle,” he said. “Because the goal of La Bouche Rouge is really to reinvent a new approach of beauty with a minimum of waste, but the maximum of pleasure. We are inventing blue beauty.”
Blue beauty, explained Gerlier, involves not just clean formula and packaging, but also clean merchandising, production processes and supply chains.
“This is a holistic vision — and it’s really challenging to achieve,” he said. “It’s quite new, and not so easy to explain to the consumer.”
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The prestige brand began five years ago with lipstick containing no microplastics or ingredients Gerlier considered unhealthy. From the outset, it was also vegan, cruelty-free and in recyclable, refillable packaging. More recently, La Bouche Rouge products were redesigned, and it began expanding with items for the eyes and face. The brand now has 22 product references in all.
La Bouche Rouge raised 2.5 million euros in funding in September 2020 from BPI and some business angels.
“During the COVID-19 period, it was evident we need to engage the brand on its next step,” said Gerlier, adding that included raising its awareness through communication, digital and events like pop-ups.
That’s where the new financing came in.
“We are also going to open new territories, like China and the Middle East, and develop our current business on the e-shop,” he continued, referring to the channel of distribution that’s now considered La Bouche Rouge’s largest market, followed by the U.S., China and France.
The brand will expand further in Europe, and possibly open its first freestanding store in China in the next 12 months. Fragrance and skin care are due out soon, too.
“This is really the ambition: to change beauty from A to Z and show the client it’s possible to have something better for you and for the planet,” said Gerlier, who would not disclose the brand’s sales.
However, in the next five years, it is believed that La Bouche Rouge could generate annual revenues of 100 million euros.
Gerlier said the shareholders in this financing round “believe in a vision, about the necessity to build something new for the 21st century. They invest in La Bouche Rouge because they want to make their money positive. They want to have a positive impact on the world.”
The brand is advised by Muriel Petit, head of consumer products EMEA at Jeffries.
The Chalhoub Group had La Bouche Rouge on its radar for a couple of years.
“The Chalhoub Group has been closely looking at clean beauty brands, so we could help accelerate and better develop our expertise in clean beauty,” Michael Chalhoub, president strategy, growth, innovation and investment and joint ventures at the Chalhoub Group. “Nicolas is someone that we found fascinating — with a great story, great entrepreneurial spirit and a fantastic background, with a great formula he managed to develop.
“The synergies were found straightaway, [with] La Bouche Rouge being a brand in a field that we know very well, that is tackling some of the [same] issues from a very different angle — with the use of the right technologies for clean beauty and for social media marketing,” he continued. “We thought there’s a lot to learn from each other, so we decided to invest with some key partners into the project, help them accelerate their plans in Europe, China, the U.S. [and] Middle East.”
Chalhoub has already introduced La Bouche Rouge in Riyadh, in the group’s Concept Store by Muse, as well as some locations in Dubai, such as Harvey Nichols and Mall of the Emirates.
“We’re going to open a few more locations around the region,” the executive continued. “It’s vital that we not only follow Nicolas in his ambitions and expansion plans, but that we help accelerate his plans, especially in the Middle East, where we have quite an extensive network.”
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