Beauty and beyond in France
Text: Pierre Antoine Zahnd | Photo: Unsplash
What is France if not a country of beauty experts? Its lush creams, innovative beauty treatments and amazing cosmetic lines give millions of people around the world a daily boost of their self-esteem. The epicentre of this rich beauty industry lies in the Eure-et-Loire and Loiret departments in the centre of the country. Here, household names such as Dior, Hermès, Nina Ricci and Paco Rabanne, have united in a business cluster called Cosmetic Valley. Since its founding in 1994, it has solidified its status as the world’s leading perfumery cosmetics network.
Cosmetic Valley is to beauty products what Silicon Valley is to tech: a cluster of industry-leading companies supported by scientific research. The Valley gathers around 550 cosmetic and perfumery groups working towards the international outreach of French-made luxury beauty products, and serves as a repository of expertise in the various fields of the industry: from the cultivation of aromatics, perfume-making, and the formulation of beauty powders, creams, and aromatic materials (essential oils, ‘active’ ingredients) to product testing, quality control, packaging and logistics.
Cosmetic Valley reckons with a wide network of skills to ensure France’s leadership in the industry. It brings together 1,500 businesses country-wide, employing some 150,000 professionals in the many fields of competence that constitute it, with 1,500 new hires in 2018-19, equalling a one per cent employment growth. With a yearly revenue of around 30 billion euros, it is also France’s second-largest exporting market. Part of the success of Cosmetic Valley may be due to how well-connected it is with the sphere of scientific research: eight French universities are currently part of the cluster, including two Parisian institutions. With 8,200 researchers among its members, it works closely with 220 public laboratories and with some of the country’s top research foundations, including the CNRS (National Committee for Scientific Research) and INRA (National Institute of Agricultural Research).
Since its foundation, Cosmetic Valley has shaped the French cosmetics and perfumery landscape through its global approach. It functions as an active network, fostering interaction between businesses in the industry, boosting innovation and supporting research projects. On a global level, it aids businesses in their expansion abroad (providing help in exportation or implantation), while on the level of the individual, it encourages continuous learning by accompanying employees through further training and education. By sustaining and growing its dynamic network, Cosmetic Valley aims to create the most favourable conditions for businesses to expand, along with their employment rates. But beyond the role it plays for companies already in France, Cosmetic Valley has also encouraged foreign businesses to relocate. The national and international cosmetics heavyweights that are now part of Cosmetics Valley are too many to list in their entirety, but the sheer number of important players in the region shows at least one thing: that when it comes to beauty and perfume, the French are still leading the way.
So, join us to France where Europe’s best beauty experts are waiting to show you around. A new and more confident you is just a page flip away. www.discoversoutherneurope.com
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