PARIS — Executives behind Blissim, France’s top-selling beauty box business, are officially launching a studio, called Beauty Story, to develop sustainable cosmetics brands and products.
Many steps led up to this point. Quentin Reygrobellet and his partners cofounded JolieBox in 2011. It was a beauty business that traded in boxes and e-commerce, and was purchased by Birchbox about one-and-a-half-years after its creation. Prior to that, however, JolieBox had other holdings in the U.K. and Spain.
Over six years, Reygrobellet and his team then developed Birchbox’s European activity, and in December 2019, they carved Birchbox’s French structure out from its American owners.
Since then, the business has operated independently and was rebranded as Blissim in October 2020.
Today, Blissim generates about 50 million euros in yearly sales, which rise annually by about 25 percent. The business — with sales split 60 percent boxes, 40 percent e-commerce — posts double-digit profit gains.
Blissim has about 230,000 subscribers, who pay 13.90 euros a month, and 1.2 million clients. The service works with more than 300 cosmetics brands, including exclusives and limited editions.
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“The core of Blissim’s reactor has always been data,” Reygrobellet said.
Data is culled from clients, then analyzed. In 2020, the company launched Analytics by Blissim, a data analysis platform to examine product performance and trends for its 300 partners.
Data is used first to send the right box to the right person (Blissim releases 50 to 100 different types of boxes each month), and the right message to the right person, he continued.
Blissim’s ambition has always been to be a retailer and a marketing and communication agency for brands, but to also create its own labels.
“It all starts with data — identifying what are the white spaces, the needs and opportunities” of clients, Reygrobellet said.
Each question posed while Beauty Story develops products is answered by data culled in various ways. Creativity is also part of the development mix.
It runs independently from Blissim, but its products can be tested by clients of that box business. Every month, Blissim sends out more than 200,000 products, which allows it to have rapid access to the market and see what works or not, for instance. (Think Netflix, the cosmetics version.)
“We put the consumer as a stakeholder in our brand, in our project — and it’s she who will decide if there are other products, a line developed, etc.,” Reygrobellet said. “We created a rather large ecosystem.”
Beauty Story works with 20 European labs, mostly in France, and brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Nocibé, Monoprix and Amazon. Talks are currently in the works with other beauty sellers in France and abroad.
“What’s important is that it’s not a closed ecosystem,” Reygrobellet said. “Beauty Story products can also be found in other boxes, retailers and e-retailers other than Blissim. That [results in] 4 million clients in France.”
He maintains that thanks to the data, the margin for error shrinks in creating a beauty product, and the idea is to be very agile and reactive to identified trends. These days people are much keener to try new brands than they were a decade ago, and Beauty Story is set to surf that strong trend.
The lab’s executives work with various elements of the supply chain, such as packaging makers, as well as the creatives plus online and offline retailers.
The four brands Beauty Story has already launched, with 13 products in total, include two for green and clean face care. Imparfaite has three products and is the bestseller among the new brands, while Glime offers cleaners in colorful packaging.
There are two hair care brands, as well. Morning Street was Beauty Story’s first to be introduced, in March 2020. Speciology has two professional and technical products coming in 500-ml. containers that have already sold out on Amazon.
Up next, in September, will be two more new brands, created with influencers. And in October, Beauty Story will relaunch a label.
Each brand debuts with a tight line of three to five products, with prices generally ranging from 10 euros to 35 euros.
“Our ambition is to create a real group of brands with a radically different approach to other groups,” Reygrobellet said. “We have a rather Darwinian vision.”
For Beauty Lab, it’s the survival of the fittest.
“We also think that the brands of tomorrow are brands that will be committed,” he continued, adding some will be liked by certain communities linked by values.
The lab’s bar is set high. “Our ambition is to be in all beauty categories, all countries and all retailers,” Reygrobellet said.
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