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Cosmetic Valley: from resilience to recovery

Marked by a major renewal of its Board of Directors, which has been feminized and territorialized, as well as by the re-election of LVMH General Secretary Marc-Antoine Jamet as President of the cluster, unanimously appointed at its 2021 General Meeting, Cosmetic Valley has launched a revival based on six strategic priorities.

On Tuesday June 29, nearly 200 of the cluster's 800-plus members gathered for their first "physical" meeting since the start of the pandemic, at the Université d'Orléans, in the heart of a region boasting numerous public and private research centers particularly active in the perfumery-cosmetics sector.

MarcAntoine Jamet, President of Cosmetic Valley, and Christophe Masson, the cluster's Managing Director, presented the main directions the association will be taking over the coming months.

A new, unifying Board of Directors

A new page is being turned with the departure of several of the historic directors who, with Jean-Luc Ansel, helped found and develop Cosmetic Valley. A new generation of directors will now take over Cosmetic Valley's mission as national coordinator of the perfume and cosmetics industry. Representing all French territories, including overseas, all trades in the industry and all Cosmetic Valley member companies, whatever their size, the new Board of Directors includes a quarter of representatives from major groups, including L'Oréal, and three quarters of representatives from ETI/PME/TPE, and start-ups, whose proportion is now significant within the cluster.

Re-elected Chairman for a further three-year term, Marc-Antoine Jamet declared: "This year has (...) been marked by our resilience and the manufacture of gel, by the resilience and recovery of our factories and workshops. It must continue with our determined involvement in the revival of growth and jobs in our country. Because we want to ensure our future performance through concrete advances, we are adapting today not only our tools - I'm thinking of the 400 million euros of collaborative projects underway - but also our governance, with directors who reflect even more the diversity and wealth of our members. I expect them to play an active role, and to commit themselves to being our ambassadors, in France and around the world. I am delighted that, in a period of decisive transition, they have decided to renew their confidence in me for a further term at the head of Cosmetic Valley.

Six challenges to optimize the operation of the industry

Eight months after the success of the first general meeting, and four months before their second edition at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris next October, in conjunction with the Cosmetic 360 trade show, the general meeting was also an opportunity to present the six strategic challenges Cosmetic Valley intends to meet.

1 - Continuing to support SMEs

Cosmetic Valley intends to step up its support for SMEs through its "guichet relance", an efficient gateway for SMEs to benefit from regional, national and European aid schemes.

At the forthcoming Cosmetic 360 trade show, the "Industry Summit", under the patronage of the French Minister for Industry, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, will review the progress of the 30 measures proposed during the October 2020 Estates General, to assess their relevance, share success stories, highlight the improvements achieved and those still to be achieved, in order to strengthen the industry dynamic.

2 - Consolidate the cluster's core business by boosting research at national and Community level

On June 29, the morning of the cluster's Annual General Meeting, 30 R&D directors took part in the first "Industry Scientific Committee" organized at the cluster's initiative to define the perfumery and cosmetics industry's innovation challenges and the actions to be taken to meet them. 

A "Tour de France de la recherche cosmétique" to highlight the synergies between public and private research will be officially launched in Poitiers on September 2. Partners since 2005, the CNRS and Cosmetic Valley have decided to join forces to roll out a nationwide initiative to raise awareness of the skills of French research laboratories working on themes relevant to the industry, whether in chemistry, biology, microbiology, physics, materials, mathematics or even the human sciences, and to encourage collaborations with companies in the perfume and cosmetics industry. A dozen meetings will be organized between now and 2023.

3 - Increasing the French industry's visibility and agility on third-party markets: Global Cosmetics Cluster and the European toolbox

The perfume and cosmetics industry is the second largest contributor to France's balance of trade surplus, and at a time when several of its international markets are booming, particularly in Asia, exporting is a formidable engine of recovery and growth for its SMEs. In addition to the "export services" offered by the cluster since its inception, including support at the sector's major international trade shows, Cosmetic Valley now draws on the resources offered by the European Commission and, more specifically, its Cosme program, designed to support the internationalization of their SMEs and facilitate their access to new export markets.

Now bringing together six European cosmetics clusters, the "Global Cosmetics ClusterEurope" should enable SMEs to benefit from an exceptional European "toolbox" in terms of research & development, business and exports, skills development, and social and environmental commitment. The program also includes four missions to explore "target markets" (South Korea, United States, United Arab Emirates, India and Mexico). The first mission will take place in Dubai in October, at the BeautyWorld Middle East trade show.

4 - Representing the industry at the future International House of Cosmetics

A unique ecosystem worldwide, Cosmetic Valley works to raise the international profile of the French perfumery and cosmetics industry and promote the values of the "Marque France": innovation, performance, consumer safety, product authenticity and eco-responsibility. The Maison Internationale de la Cosmétique, due to open its doors in Chartres in 2024, has been designed as a unique place to embody, discover and promote the industry's expertise to a national and international audience.

The first stage of the project was completed in September 2020 with the opening of the Beauty Hub, France's first gas pedal dedicated to innovation in the perfumery and cosmetics industry. Co-financed by the French government and the Centre-Val de Loire region as part of the Programme Investissements d'Avenir, the Beauty Hub is supported by Cosmetic Valley and a consortium of nine of its companies: Aircos, Aptar, Chanel Parfum Beauté, I3DP, L'Oréal, LVMH Recherche, Nippon Shikizai, MS Beautilab and Yves Rocher. Located in Chartres on the site of the future "Maison Internationale de la Cosmétique", the Beauty Hub is a tool at the service of "Made in France". Its ambition is to encourage collaborative innovation and bring together start-ups, SMEs, ETIs, major corporations and research laboratories. Two classes of 5 to 10 start-ups are hosted each year. New for 2021: the Beauty Fab has become a demonstration center for new technologies proposed by equipment manufacturers.

5 - Promoting employment and training with the Cosmetic Experience Tour

The French perfumery and cosmetics sector is a fast-growing industry, with a pool of 246,000 professionals boasting a level of expertise that is the envy of all our competitors. This is why we 

Cosmetic Valley is working with professionals from the French perfume and cosmetics industry (246,000 professionals) to prepare for the future and anticipate their needs, particularly in terms of new skills and personnel. In addition to a "Qualiopi" accredited training catalog geared towards helping companies make the digital transition, with courses combining webinars, e-learning and face-to-face sessions, and participation in numerous events designed to raise awareness among young people of the diversity of professions offered by the perfumery-cosmetics industry, this year the cluster will be organizing the Cosmetic Experience Tour, starting in Chartres on November 26. Aimed at a variety of audiences - secondary school pupils, jobseekers, people undergoing retraining, families - the Cosmetic Experience Tour is organized around two areas: an "experiential area" presenting the production stages of a cosmetic product, as well as jobs in short supply (production, maintenance, packaging, formulation), and a "village area" designed to bring together companies, guidance organizations and local partners, and to present training courses in the sector.

6 - Strengthening public-private partnerships and preparing phase 5 of competitiveness clusters 

According to Cosmetic Valley, the creation of an industry committee, which met for the first time on March 26 under the chairmanship of the French Minister for Industry, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, was a decisive step forward in the sector's recognition as a strategic sector of the French economy, and reinforces the need for all stakeholders, both public and private, to work together.

The cluster points out that the same partnership dynamic should support Cosmetic Valley's preparations for the future "phase 5 of competitiveness clusters", by pursuing a territorial network made possible by new partnerships with regions such as Île-de-France, New Aquitaine, Hauts-de-France and Guyana; and by defining and prioritizing the industry's innovation challenges and developing structuring and collective actions to advance them in partnership with the French government and the European Commission.

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