She has worked for big-names in the fashion business such as Chanel Bourjois, Cosmétiques, and the L’Oreal Group. Now, 38-year-old Odile Roujol is general manager, Lancôme International, and responsible for managing the brand’s global strategy. A graduate from the HEC Business School in Paris, Roujol has marketed and managed beauty and cosmetics products across Europe and the US. In an interview with Campaign, Roujol talks about the growth of the brand in the past decade and the increasing importance of technology in the future of the cosmetics industry. Excerpts:
How has the cosmetic industry evolved in the last decade?
Knowledge of skin is founded on a multi-disciplinary scientific investigation. Biology has opened the field of cosmetics to new horizons of research and discovery, making it possible to understand the living skin, its structure and its functions, and to compensate for the deficiencies in its metabolism.
What does the future cosmetic market look like?
I hold the view that the future of cosmetics industry is bright. In the near future, the market will certainly evolve very quickly, delivering safer and even more efficient solutions for radiant skin and beautiful ageing. For make-up, the service approach is of tantamount importance because women want to learn how to do their make-up.
What has been brand Lancôme’s experience across the world?
From its very beginning, Lancôme’s objective has been to satisfy women across the globe. Today, the brand is world No. 1 in the prestige beauty market with close to 9% market share (in value). According to data provided by leading agencies such as European Forecasts, NPD USA, Beauty Research Japan and DIM Tendance 2006, Lancôme products are sold at the rate of 112 million units per year in 165 countries, through a distribution network of more than 17,000 outlets.
Nearly 65% of the brand’s global turnover is generated outside Europe where Lancôme is the market’s leading brand. In the US, it ranks third and is the most widely-sold foreign cosmetics brand. In China, Lancôme is the leader in the prestige market, displaying both fast and consistent development. In the coming years, we have great expectations from countries such as Mexico, India and Russia.
How important a role does technology play in the cosmetics industry?
To know women well, it is necessary to develop a close relationship with them. Lancôme skin care believes in high-technology for beautiful ageing. Constant focus on research and development innovation has given many perspectives in the perpetual quest for performance, setting high standards for ever more credible, visible results.
We continually explore the skin and have recently drawn on new discoveries highlighting characteristics of the fundamental matrix that crosses both epidermal and dermal skin layers, and which plays a major role in maintaining a youthful facial appearance.
Recognized by the scientific community, this discovery inspired the creation of Pro-Xylane, a unique research molecule capable of acting at all skin levels to restore substance and firmness.
What’s your take on the newer, emerging markets?
For us, the key markets in the coming years are China, Russia, Mexico, Brazil and India, of course. Nowadays, 30% of the brand’s turnover comes from markets other than the traditional ones—Europe, the US and Japan.