Orveon may only be a few months old, but Pascal Houdayer is aiming to build a company — and a culture — that stands the test of time.
Orveon, the Advent International-affiliated company that acquired BareMinerals, Laura Mercier and Buxom in a $700 million deal that closed last year, is under Houdayer’s stewardship as chief executive officer. Shiseido spun off the brands as a part of a larger pivot to a skin care-focused business.
“We believe these three brands have, first, great potential, and second, cover different strategic targets in terms of consumers and trends,” Houdayer said.
On the one hand, BareMinerals — among the first beauty brands to position its product as “clean” — has a strong relationship with its consumers, while Buxom’s plumping lip products attract Millennials, he said.
Defining his strategy across the three brands is his ambition for Orveon to be “sustainable face care experts,” he said. “Each innovation will have a positive impact…sustainability is feasible,” he said.
Despite BareMinerals’ track record, Houdayer said he is “working on a full repositioning of the brand,” adding that he wanted to “monetize and digitize” the brand’s pillars of “pure” formulations.
“We want to take the concept, take it to the next level, and go after the youngest strategic target via our own platform, which will involve content and ecommerce,” he said.
Laura Mercier will remain largely untouched, with Houdayer calling the positioning “excellent” and noting that it grew double-digits, in spite of pandemic-induced declines across the makeup category. He attributed some of that growth to its French luxury positioning resonating strongly in Asia, and also aims to grow its digital presence and e-commerce capabilities.
Of Buxom, Houdayer said the goal is nothing less than world domination. “The positioning is unapologetically sexy, and it’s a trusted brand,” he said. “This brand has the potential to become a global ‘e-brand.’ Maybe we go global digitally without it being present in every brick-and-mortar store, and just connect with young girls, our target audience,” he said. “The future of this brand is international expansion.”
Acquisitions are also top of mind as Houdayer looks to expand the company’s portfolio.
“We have started to think about it, and I’m not excluding any approach,” he said. “I’m looking at brands with the philosophy and vision we have of being sustainable face care experts, and that compensate for some of the face care we are not yet covering with one of our three brands.
“We want to blur the skin care and makeup categories. We really want to be able to propose to women products that are not only doing makeup, but also benefits in terms of long-term aging prevention,” he continued.
Simultaneously with building out Orveon’s brand portfolio, Houdayer is also looking to create a strong company culture. “This is a human-sized company with values of entrepreneurship, agility, speed, approachability,” he said. “It’s important for us to build this culture together with our colleagues.”
Houdayer acknowledged reported layoffs earlier this year, which affected 60 of the company’s 1,700 global employees, plus freelancers. “The reason is very simple, when you move from only siloing three brands to them being a full organization, we need to have synergies across the brand. We had to make sure that some of redundancies were not happening in our organization,” he said, adding that Orveon is helping those employees find new employment and providing consulting opportunities where applicable.
“We believe that the way we do things is more important than what we do,” he said. “We went out of our way to make sure that we went above and beyond the call of duty.”
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