PARIS — Oh My Cream, a French clean beauty product and retailer, has purchased its first French supplement brand Combeau. Combeau was designed to care for the skin from the inside.
The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
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“Our vision of beauty has evolved toward something more holistic,” explained Juliette Lévy, who founded Oh My Cream, which began selling niche skin care brands, such as Dermalogica, Ren, Grown and Tata Harper, in 2012. “We strongly believe that supplements are super dynamic and important.”
Lévy described Combeau as having the “most expert, innovative formula there is on the market.”
“It became a reference in just a few months,” she said, of the brand launched in 2020. “Everybody was talking about it.
“So we thought, this is the right way for Oh My Cream to integrate this expertise, knowledge and ecosystem of great partners — labs, manufacturers, ingredients and producers,” Lévy continued. “It was for us the best way to accelerate on this [category].”
For Combeau, the deal will allow for growth within and outside of Oh My Cream’s retail network — which today counts 26 stores in Europe, of which 12 are in Paris, and an e-commerce site — alongside the chain’s private-label skin care brand, with about 30 stock keeping units, launched six years ago.
A ramping up of the rhythm of Combeau’s product launches is also planned.
Combeau was founded by Erika Fogeiro, whose aims to combine biotechnology-created formulations with natural ingredients in the supplements.
Fogeiro recognized that the supplements industry faces issues regarding formula quality when she started working on her brand. Through branding, she aimed to improve the client experience and help people reconnect to health and wellness in the beauty world.
“The next thing was really to focus on the formula and innovative new ecosystem we would put in place to reinvent and propose very efficient supplements to our consumers,” Fogeiro said.
She focused her attention on the ingredients she uses, for instance.
“It was really important to build partnerships with biotech start-ups,” and to search for clinically tested ingredients, explained Fogeiro, who has been building a team around her including scientists, doctors, naturopaths, biotechnologists and biochemists.
She stated that it was necessary to combine the best-in-class ingredients in a formula.
Combeau utilizes new technologies in order to create supplements that are sustainable. The brand’s responsible dimension includes ethical and transparent ingredient and packaging sourcing, and communication.
“We only launch a product when we know it’s something new to the market and something better [than what’s there],” Fogeiro said.
Combeau’s first product, L’Essential Peau, or Skin Essential, includes seven active ingredients mixed to target skin radiance, signs of aging and imperfections. A one-month “cure” goes for 59 euros.
“It was really important for me to address skin’s specific concerns, because skin is the link between the outside and inside,” Fogeiro said. “It was really a way to embody our vision and the connection of beauty and health.”
Combeau launched on its own ecommerce platform, Combeau.co. It was then sold at Selfridges and Oh My Cream in the U.K. That is how Lévy and Fogeiro met.
Combeau’s next product is a hair care supplement, due in September.
“We are working on collagen, as well,” Fogeiro said. “But we are trying to do something different, so it takes a lot of investment.”
Oh My Cream’s skin care brand launched supplements and beauty tools almost two years ago, and those now account for 15 percent of its sales.
The private label used to represent 15 percent of Oh My Cream’s overall business, but now it’s more than 20 percent — and growing. That’s thanks in part to category expansion; over the past two years, the brand also launched into body care, sun care, makeup and a line for men.
“The makeup is incredibly successful,” said Lévy, who explained will focus on selling Oh My Cream’s products, especially skin care, outside of the brand’s own retail channel starting in 2024.
Oh My Cream’s business continues to grow. Since its launch in 2010, it has experienced sales growth of between 50 and 100% on an annual basis, except during the Coronavirus Pandemic when it was only around 30%.
Lévy would not discuss sales figures, but in 2019, when Experienced Capital Oh My Cream had a stake of 41 percent and was expected to have sales in the region of 13 million euro.
The retailer temporarily shut around 20 stores during lockdowns. But then its online business exploded.
Subsequently, it’s now the inverse, and the brick-and-mortar business keeps expanding.
“People are massively going back to stores,” said Lévy, adding physical retail now makes about 65 percent of the business, versus approximately 40 percent pre-COVID-19.
She felt that her company had grown enough in France to be able to expand overseas. So, at the end 2022 Oh My Cream was opened. two stores in London. It opened its first location earlier this year in Brussels.
“The stores have had great performances since they launched, and we have amazing feedback from customers,” said Lévy, explaining Oh My Cream aims to offer a modern, holistic approach to beauty, with expert advice.
More stores openings should take place in the U.K., following Oh My Cream’s strategy in France. By year’s end, the next two locations could be Hampstead High Street and Marylebone High Street.
“Our strategy was to be the alternative beauty destination,” Lévy said. “It takes time and a lot of stores.”
Oh My Cream’s ultimate goal is to open 10 to 15 stores in London before expanding into other geographic markets.
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