The Beauty of CCB-Paris’s Growth Strategy

Apr 01, 2002 10:30 PM  By

Three years after Le Club des Créateurs de Beauté Paris (CCB-Paris) expanded into the U.S., the French beauty products cataloger remains committed to the American market. In fact, the company, which now has more than 150,000 U.S. customers, aims to have at least 1 million stateside customers within the next six years. To meet that goal, it plans to increase prospecting by renting lists and advertising in women’s magazines.

A joint venture between Paris-based cosmetics company L’Oréal and 3 Suisses International, a French general merchandise cataloger, CCB-Paris was founded in 1987. The cataloger expanded into Belgium, Germany, and Japan before tapping the U.S. in 1999. CCB-Paris brands include Cosmence skincare, Jean-Marc Maniatis haircare, and Agnès B. cosmetics. Products are available only through the catalog or the Website (launched in 1999) or in each designer’s shop in France, if he or she has one, says Olivier Allender, general manager of CCB-Paris in the U.S. “This means that we offer exclusive formulas, developments, and packaging, with strong input from our creators.”

CCB-Paris mails monthly in the U.S., dropping about 4 million catalogs a year. The company has about 5 million customers worldwide, primarily women with an average age of 34. Allender would not reveal sales but says CCB-Paris plans to see a minimum of 50% annual growth in the U.S. To handle the growth it is expecting, in September the cataloger outsourced its fulfillment and customer relationship management to Greenwich, CT-based NewRoads.

“To be efficient in the U.S., you need to know what works here — the kind of catalogs, number of pages, products, offers, pricing, free gifts, and even the model on the cover,” Allender says. “For instance, in the U.S., women are looking for SPF protection in skincare products, and that’s clearly something we have to address when we develop products for this market.”

Promotions galore

CCB-Paris draws in customers with discounts, product samples, and gifts-with-purchase, such as scarves, makeup bags, and mirrors. The firm is now running a welcome offer of 50% off a customer’s first purchase. After the initial purchase, CCB-Paris offers a lower level of discount in addition to other sales promotions.

Given the company’s fondness for giveaways, you might think CCB-Paris would find it tough to turn a profit. But Allender insists that the company is indeed profitable.

“Because we develop and manufacture the products and then sell directly to the customer, we can have our low prices,” he explains. “There’s nothing between the product development and the consumer.”