Bertrand Thomas talks about conquering the US market


French skin care brand Caudalie expanded its global footprint to the US in 2010

French skin care brand Caudalie was founded by husband and wife team Bertrand and Mathilde Thomas in 1993. Following a chance meeting with pharmacognosy expert Professor Joseph Vercauteren at Mathilde’s family vineyard in Bourdeaux, she was introduced to the benefits of grape-seed polyphenols. Out of this, the basis for Caudalie was born. Beatrix Hon reports

Since making its industry debut in 1995, where it was initially sold at selected pharmacies in Bordeaux, the brand has expanded its global footprint around Europe, Asia and in 2010, to the US – a move Bertrand Thomas told Cosmetics Business was one of the toughest decisions of his professional life: “It was a big change for us – probably the toughest and bravest decision I’ve made in my professional life so far. We moved because we wanted to better understand how the industry works and to find new inspiration. The US is the number one cosmetics market in the world followed by China and Brazil. Although it was a tough decision, it turned out to be a wonderful one. It’s helped us learn a lot,” he said.

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Three years on, these lessons learned have paid dividends for Caudalie, which has seen its business double in the US since 2010. “A major lesson for us came from our brand story,” explained Thomas. “In Europe, particularly France, people understand what Caudalie is about. In the US however, the DNA of the brand wasn’t understood. So we became better at explaining it to people – we can now convey where we’re from and what we do in a few sentences. Our marketing became simpler and more impactful, and we reduced the text on our packaging by half.”


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