Laura Mercier also plays a key role in Orveon’s growth plans. By the end of 2022, the brand will have overtaken BareMinerals to become the biggest in Orveon’s portfolio, thanks to its “modern repositioning”, he says. “I don’t think the brand was a priority for the previous owner. It was underinvested, under innovated and understaffed.”
Houdayer has a five-year plan for Laura Mercier, which includes improving the brand’s formulas through biomimetic ingredients and enhancing its digital capabilities. Around a third (34 per cent) of Laura Mercier sales come from e-commerce and 66 per cent from bricks-and-mortar retail, he says. His goal is for e-commerce to account for 50 per cent of the business in the next three years.
Accelerating global expansion is also top of Houdayer’s agenda. Within 12 months, Laura Mercier’s presence grew to 26 markets, up from 18. His target is to increase to 42 markets by the end of 2023, with a particular eye on Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Despite its current challenges, China remains a priority. The brand, which entered the region last August, has just signed an exclusive agreement with the biggest luxury beauty distributor in the country, he says. “The brand resonates extremely well with the Chinese consumer who loves French luxury. China, for us, will be very big — we are talking triple-digit turnover in three years maximum.”
The biggest remaining blocker is the supply chain crisis that has put a “strain” on the entire beauty industry, impacting raw materials suppliers, freight and transportation among other things, says Houdayer. Some solutions are in place, such as extending the brand’s contract manufacturing base of 15 to 30 and moving from single sourcing to double sourcing. “Today, the only limitation to our growth is supply. We could sell double-digit more if we had the supply of our key SKUs.” Houdayer predicts an improvement in the new year, but for now, “we’ll still have two to three months of an industry shortage.”
Looking ahead, Mercier says she’s “overwhelmed” by “the amount of new brands” emerging today on social media. “Some of them don’t even have a headquarters but start by selling three products on the internet,” she observes, but caveats that these brands have yet to prove their ability to build a long-lasting business. Longevity is her goal. “I think that if you have a strong point of view and an honest and straight-forward approach, it’ll be fine. You see [new brands] all the time, but they disappear as quickly as they have popped up. That’s not desirable for me.”
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