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In the Garden with Sothys

Posted: January 17, 2008

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As legacy’s go, Les Jardins de Sothys is as unique as the story that brought him to this place, but it doesn’t end with a walk among the flowers. Mas is working with the University of Limoges to study natural polysaccharides and peptides from local plants with a view to using more organic and natural ingredients in his products. He is quick to say that while he doesn’t want to compete with his suppliers, he likes the idea of using ingredients from plants in his own garden. According to son Christian, they may be growing their own plants and developing their own actives by 2012.

The stroll through Mas’ serene garden was the culmination of a two-day visit with the company that started the day before in its elegantly appointed corporate headquarters in Brive, about four hours by train from Paris. Mas has centered his company in this area of France known for camping and other outdoor activities, and Sothys is one of two major employers in the area (along with ingredient supplier Silab) with about 350 employees. Its factory in nearby Meyssac is GMP, French Affssaps, ISO 9001 version 2000 and OHSAS 1801 certified. The company has another production facility in Miami, Florida. Its logistical heart is in Ussac, not far from Brive.

The company comprises skin care and cosmetic brands Sothys, Simone Mahler and Bernard Cassiere, with 15,000 points of sale in more than 110 countries, and three Sothys Institutes, located in Paris, New York and Tokyo maintained as training facilities for Sothys estheticians.

Spa Devotees
From humble beginnings as a single Paris salon, the Sothys brand has grown into a global beauty institute training more than 1200 beauticians each year. Though there is appeal in creating products for the mass market, the Sothys brand stays loyal to the professional beauty world where it started. And as Christian Mas says, the brand is not really developed for the mass market, made up as it is of 40 face products.

The company has a cooperative agreement with the city of Spa, in Belgium, to use its famous waters in its Sothys Spa Therme body line. In exchange, those products are sold in a spa opened officially in the Radisson Hotel there several years ago by the Belgian king, and Mas pere proudly reports that the king’s daughter, Astrid, uses Sothys products.