We know Sephora as a leader in prestige omni-retail. Founded by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1970 in France and currently owned by LVMH, Sephora is a part of the world’s leading luxury goods group. It operates over 2,600 stores in 34 countries worldwide. In 1999 Sephora.com was launched and has gone on to become the foremost prestige beauty site. And for many brands it represents a benchmark, a barometer, a goal to be on their shelves.
The end user is searching for brands with a story they can get behind. In this age, brand resonance and authenticity is key to a brands future. It is necessary that brands are unique and positioned to fill a space in the market.
As such, Sephora recently launched “Clean at Sephora,” an initiative in which the beauty brand is free of ingredients like sulfates, parabens, formaldehydes, phthalates, and mineral oil. The initial Clean at Sephora “formulated without” list included many high-profile synthetic ingredients that many clients told us they wanted to avoid, like phthalates, parabens, and sulfates. This July, the criteria will be updated to now include over 50 ingredients from 13 last year with some notables like BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), ethanolamines DEA/TEA/MEA/ETA, toluene, carbon black, mercury and mercury compounds, aluminum salts, lead, and lead acetate, to name a few. Brands are also required to test for contaminants like 1, 4 dioxane and have ingredient thresholds in place to monitor the levels of certain ingredients.
One of our brand participants opened up Sephora Europe and we are here to congratulate them and discuss their journey.
Q – Kimberly Pederson: How did Petite Amie meet Sephora buyers?
A – Hsin Yu Huang: We were contacted by Sephora directly before some trade show that one of their teams would be meeting us. Their staff asked a few questions to better understand our brand’s core values and future projects. We were told that Petite Amie Skincare was under their radar for a while before then.
Q – KP: During the business discussions what attributes of Petite Amie pushed the deal forward?
A – HH: We always look for new opportunities to go the extra mile and find solutions catered towards our clients. For example, getting our products certified, providing abundant media kits of various kinds, improving the user experiences through innovation and creativity…etc.
Q – KP: Was Sephora on your radar before this interaction?
A – HH: Of course. Since the founding of the brand, entering the supply chain of Sephora has been one of our major goals. To introduce Petite Amie through this world class beauty retailer is what we all dream of as an indie brand. We knew from the very beginning that only by focusing on our own product and brand development could we get to where we wanted to be.
Q – KP: What was absolutely necessary that you had in place already in Petite Amie for Sephora to consider it a good fit?
A – HH: The list is long. However, the quality of the products is definitely Sephora’s top requirement. The creativity that went into our products and the social media presence are also essential to passing the first screening. Nonetheless, the proven quality with worldly recognized certifications remain the prerequisite for getting a knock on the door.
Q – KP: What have you learned throughout this business relationship that you would want to share with other brands that have the same aspirations?
A – HH: Since 2016, Petite Amie Skincare has partnered up with multiple premium retail and department stores, including Sephora, Free People, Lord & Taylor, J. Crew, Harrods, Le Bon Marché, Selfridges, La Samaritaine. We take pride in our brand management and customer relations and put extra efforts into promoting our core values, which definitely isn’t an easy task. What matters the most is to believe in your own brand, stay on the right track and be ready!