PARIS — L’Or??al, which already owns 50 percent of Le Club des Cr??ateurs de Beaut??, has agreed to acquire the 50 percent share held by Groupe 3 Suisses International, the French beauty giant announced Monday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Created through a joint venture in 1987 by L’Or??al and Groupe 3 Suisses International, a French catalogue powerhouse, Le Club des Cr??ateurs de Beaut?? had a novel concept. Its idea was to recruit a half dozen “creators,” three of them French fashion designers, and let them concoct their own beauty brands, then sell the affordably priced products directly to consumers through catalogues. In time, the company began selling online, as well.

Le Club des Cr??ateurs de Beaut??’s main brands include agn??s b., Cosmence and Pr. Christine Poelman. Most of the concern’s activities take place in France and Japan.

L’Or??al’s buyout of Groupe 3 Suisses International’s share of the business is contingent on routine government review.
— Jennifer Weil

Orgnanic Items Get Standards

The personal care industry, from manufacturers to distributors to retailers, is getting serious about differentiating natural and organic products from items that merely market themselves as natural and organic.

Whole Foods, one of the leading sellers of these items, this month developed a standard and an on-package seal to help consumers shop for products containing the highest level of natural ingredients. The Premium Body Care standard, as it is being called, looks to put some order in an industry that is not regulated by any official organization.

“Personal care products are not regulated like food in this country, so there are currently no consistent standards for them laid forth by any governing body. Customers have been bombarded with brands and products claiming to be ‘natural,’ which can be confusing,” stated Jeremiah McElwee, senior global Whole Body coordinator. “Our goal is to provide an alternative approach for our customers, so they know that when they see the Premium Body Care seal, they are getting safer, higher-quality personal care products.”

Ultimately, the standard will identify products that are free of parabens, polypropylene and polyethylene glycols, sodium lauryl and laureth sulfates. The standard, which the company worked on for two years with chemists and body care experts, is being rolled out to all 1,200 Whole Foods stores nationwide.

You May Also Like

This story first appeared in the March 4, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In addition to Whole Foods, natural and organic personal care manufacturers and industry experts have developed an industry-wide standard for brands that aim to be as natural and organic as possible. A group of 30 companies, including Aveda, Hain Celestial and L’Or??al, has founded The Organic And Sustainable Industry Standards, or OASIS, the first organic standard for the U.S. beauty and personal care market.

OASIS used Ecocert, the popular European organic standard, as a model. However, OASIS calls for a minimum of 85 percent of a product’s ingredients to be certified organic, much higher than Ecocert’s 10 percent minimum requirement. An OASIS on-package seal has been developed, too, so consumers can immediately identify which products are being formulated as purely as possible.
— Andrea Nagel