Botan­i­cal beauty

French brand Yves Rocher be­gan with a man’s love for plants. To­day, it has grown into a bil­lion-dol­lar global busi­ness, but its her­itage and be­lief re­main un­changed.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FASHION -

French brand Yves Rocher’s her­itage and phi­los­o­phy re­main in­tact un­til to­day.

THE burst of colour­ful flow­ers along the streets was a sight as fresh as the air in the quaint town of La Gacilly. Trav­el­ling in from Paris, the new back­drop was a wel­come change from the bus­tle of the city. Nar­row streets, cob­bled lanes and lots of green­ery char­ac­terised the town, lo­cated in Bri­tanny, France, the birthplace of Yves Rocher, founder of the epony­mous French beauty brand.

A group of Malaysian and Thai jour­nal­ists were in­vited to La Gacilly in July to bet­ter un­der­stand the com­pany’s his­tory and her­itage. Our first stop was a cob­ble-walled build­ing with bright blue-pan­elled win­dows and doors that matched the sum­mer skies above.

Known as The At­tic, this was the fam­ily home of the late Yves Rocher and it was up in this small at­tic that the first Yves Rocher cream was cre­ated back in 1959.

Rem­nants of those early days still re­mained in the house: black and white pho­to­graphs, a framed-up or­der form and an an­tique type­writer. Sim­ple hand-op­er­ated con­trap­tions used to man­u­fac­ture the first prod­ucts were still on dis­play, de­fi­ant of time, al­though now de­funct.

Unglam­orous as it may sound, Yves Rocher’s his­tory can be traced back to a plant-based, home­made haem­or­rhoid cream.

The era was post World War II in Bri­tanny and many peo­ple were leav­ing La Gacilly for big­ger cities then. In or­der to help pre­serve and re­vive the town, Rocher and his mother de­vel­oped a small tex­tile busi­ness.

He sold the tex­tiles at a lo­cal mar­ket, where he met an old woman who gave him a haem­or­rhoid cream and its for­mula.

The cream was very ef­fec­tive, prompt­ing Rocher to gather 10 of his friends to work on mass pro­duc­ing the cream, col­lect­ing plants and roots from nearby fields as in­gre­di­ents.

To mar­ket the prod­uct, Rocher went to Paris, ask­ing news­pa­per and mag­a­zine own­ers to let him ad­ver­tise the cream in their pub­li­ca­tions. Af­ter many re­jec­tions, one ma­jor news­pa­per fi­nally agreed to let him place an advertisement. The ad gen­er­ated much pub­lic in­ter­est and soon, Rocher ran out of stock for the cream, sold via mail or­der. That was in 1956. YVES Rocher’s lat­est anti-age­ing range was re­vealed to Malaysian and Thai me­dia mem­bers dur­ing a visit to its head­quar­ters near Paris in July.

Made up of three prod­ucts, Cure So­lu­tions of­fers the 24-hour Vi­tal­ity Skin Care cream, the 24-hour Anti-ox­i­dant Shield Serum and the Anti-as­phyx­i­a­tion Flash Mask to help fight fa­tigue and ex­ter­nal ag­gres­sions.

Vi­tal­ity Skin Care is for­mu­lated with red vine leaf ex­tract said to in­crease mi­cro­cir­cu­la­tion by 30%, while the serum and mask con­tain Moringa pep­tide ex­tract.

Moringa is called the mir­a­cle tree in Africa and its seeds are touted to be able to nat­u­rally elim­i­nate dust and tox­ins from wa­ter.

Moringa ex­tract is be­lieved to have an­tiox­i­dant and anti-as­phyx­i­a­tion prop­er­ties to pro­tect skin cells from en­vi­ron­men­tal ag­gres­sions.

“Eighty per cent of skin age­ing is caused by life­style and the en­vi­ron­ment. Smog and pol­lu­tion, which ages skin more than nat­u­ral fac­tors, are forms of ex­ter­nal ag­gres­sions just

Three years later, the first Yves Rocher fac­tory pro­duc­ing beauty prod­ucts was built in La Gacilly, pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ment for the town­folk as orig­i­nally in­tended by Rocher.

In 1969, the first Yves Rocher store opened in Boule­vard Hauss­mann in Paris. To­day, there are 550 out­lets in France alone, and 1,600 stores and sa­lons in 80 coun­tries world­wide. (This year, the out­lets re­ceived a makeover with a new logo and re­tail con­cept known as the Ate­lier.)

In 2008, the com­pany’s to­tal turnover was €1.2bil (RM5.05bil). The brand car­ries over 700 prod­ucts rang­ing from skin, body, hair like air-con­di­tion­ing, which dries the skin,” said Anne Keyser, the in­ter­na­tional prod­ucts mar­ket­ing man­ager, dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion.

Ag­gres­sions like dust suf­fo­cate the skin while heavy metal mol­e­cules, ozone and

The Yves Rocher Végé­tar­ium in La Gacilly, Brit­tany, France; and (pic left) the at­tic of the fam­ily home of the late Yves Rocher where sim­ple, hand-op­er­ated con­trap­tions used to man­u­fac­ture the first prod­ucts are still on dis­play. and sun care, to fra­grance and make-up. It launches 100 new prod­ucts each year.

Ap­par­ently, one out of three women in France uses Yves Rocher prod­ucts. Ac­cord­ing to Kan­tar World­panel, a global con­sumer panel re­search group, the brand was the top skin and body care brand in France from 2004 to 2009 in terms of turnover.

Yves Rocher was also the num­ber one hy­giene and beauty brand in France in 2009 in terms of turnover, and the top slim­ming and firm­ing care com­pany in the coun­try in terms of vol­ume and turnover from 2006 to 2009.

To­day, 90% of global prod­uct needs are man­u­fac­tured in Bri­tanny, where three fac­to­ries pro­duce per­fume, make-up and skin­care, and hair and body prod­ucts. This pro­vides em­ploy­ment to 60% or 1,400 peo­ple in La

Vi­tal­ity Skin Care cream pol­lu­tants cre­ate free rad­i­cals that cause pre­ma­ture age­ing.

“Cure So­lu­tions is the new an­swer for mod­ern, city-liv­ing women. Its prod­ucts are ef­fec­tive against ex­ter­nal fac­tors of age­ing Gacilly, which has a cur­rent pop­u­la­tion of 2,257.

Yves Rocher has prided it­self as har­vester, man­u­fac­turer and dis­trib­u­tor ever since it first be­gan. As such, our visit in­cluded a trip to the com­pany’s Botan­i­cal Gar­den in La Gacilly, home to 1,100 species of plants. Within the gar­den was an area for or­ganic flow­ers and plants such as chamomile, ar­nica and cal­en­dula. More than 10 Yves Rocher lines con­tain or­ganic in­gre­di­ents.

The to­tal plant cul­ti­va­tion in La Gacilly meets a third of the brand’s global prod­uct in­gre­di­ent needs. Yves Rocher also main­tains close ties with 450 botan­i­cal gar­dens around the world, work­ing to­gether in con­ser­va­tion and bio­di­ver­sity ef­forts.

“The pur­pose is to have re­la­tions with dif­fer­ent botan­i­cal gar­dens to ex­change expe- and suit­able for women of all ages and skin types,” said Keyser.

Women liv­ing in the city also face hec­tic sched­ules. Fa­tigue ages the skin be­cause it af­fects a skin mech­a­nism called mi­cro-cir­cu­la­tion, which pro­vides cells with es­sen­tials like wa­ter and mi­cro-nu­tri­ents.

Vi­tal­ity Skin Care, which can be used as a day and night cream, is said to fight skin fa­tigue by stim­u­lat­ing skin’s mi­cro-cir­cu­la­tion to re­duce wrin­kles and fine lines.

“Use the serum be­fore cream in the morn­ing to pro­tect face from en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion,” said Keyser, adding that the serum can also be used be­fore cream at night.

The flash mask, to be left on the face for five min­utes and then rinsed off with cool wa­ter, can be used daily in the evening to help give a fresh ra­di­ance to skin. n Prices range from RM99 to RM159. Avail­able at Yves Rocher out­lets at Fahren­heit88, Kuala Lumpur; Subang Pa­rade and Sun­way Pyra­mid, Petaling Jaya; Ala­manda Putrajaya; and Suria Sabah.

Gar­den of Eden:

Anti-ox­i­dant Shield Serum and Anti-as­phyx­i­a­tion Flash Mask

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