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A Tour Made in France: The Cosmetic Valley

By: Jane Evison
Posted: December 3, 2009

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BioGalenys is a small startup firm that is working with Cosmetic Valley and its constituents to perform research in a brand new facility in Miserey, France. The company’s current workload is dominated by skin cell research and detection of unwanted substances in products. Eventually, the firm would like to do its own original research toward product innovations.

Sagal

Sagal (Beaucouzé, France) is, in part, a contract manufacturer that is part of Intercosmetiques, which itself is part of Alkos Développement. Started with input from Chanel, Dior and Guerlain, the firm’s services range from screen printing fragrance bottles to hot melt process for lipstick and deodorants to soap-forming to R&D. Three major areas keep the lines humming: skin care, color cosmetics and body care. Sagal uses highly automated methods in its manufacturing process, and works to recoup ingredients otherwise lost to normal process write-offs.

Guerlain

Guerlain (Chartres) is well-known for its high-end cosmetics. As one may expect with this category, the company employs a mix of very high-tech manufacturing and processes done with great care by hand. The company’s double-milled color cosmetics, powders in a ball format (its Meteorite line), and pressed compact cosmetics are among its showcase products. The Meteorite production line has much in common with candy production, in fact. Fully 30% of its products are new launches during any particular year. In 2008, perfumer Thierry Wasseur (who spent years at Firmenich) was appointed as the first non-Guerlain-family chief perfumer; one of the creations of this move is the new fragrance Idylle.

Pacific Création

Operating manager Dominique Force designed the new France location of Pacific Création (Chartres). From money-saving, green-friendly skylights to GMP processes and packaging innovation, everything about Pacific Création’s manufacturing are in tune with modern manufacturing trends. Positive air pressure barriers isolate fragrance handling, and clean is the theme for the entire operation. Flexible assembly lines allow quick and simple product changeover, and the entire building leaves plenty of room for growth. The company’s popular Lolita Lempicka line comes from this facility.

Caudalie

A brand available through spas and high-end retailers, Caudalie (St. Jean de Braye, France) was started in the mid-1990s, the result of research on grapes at the University of Bourdeaux. The resulting polyphenol-based products are sold in the company’s five spas, select pharmacies, and at Sephora and Nordstrom. France represents 65% of its business. Besides its expertise in resveratrol, the company leverages “green” as a prime directive—from product development to paperless order processing, all the way to the warehouse (where it reuses and recycles to create savings in shipping). Ethical and sustainable efforts go all the way to company cars, which aim to reduce the transport carbon footprint by 20%.

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