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French success stories in Japanese beauty & health business

In the last decades, more & more French companies tried their luck and set foot in the Japanese beauty & health business.

As one of the largest economy, Japan represents an important business place for foreign companies, and especially French companies.

Furthermore, France and Japan seem to share a particular interest in beauty & health industry.

Besides the well-known international companies born in France such as L’Oréal, Chanel, or Dior, you can find more discrete and nevertheless prestigious societies which also have their success stories in Japan.

Let’s focus on two major French companies which have successfully grown in Japan: Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmétique and L’Occitane.

Pierre Fabre Dermo-cosmétique Japon

Pierre Fabre

The company was founded in Castres (south of France) in 1951, by the pharmacist Pierre Fabre.

After having successfully developed a business in pharmacology and beauty sector in France, Pierre Fabre established a joint venture with the Japanese company Shiseido in 1986, under the name of Pierre Fabre Japon Co., Ltd.

In 2002, armed with growing success, the company became Pierre Fabre Dermo-cosmétique Japon Co., Ltd. and increased development of hair-care products for professional use (dermatologist), with brands such as Avène, and development of dermatological cosmetics intended for the Asian market.

CEO: Yoshinori Makino

Headquarters: 26F, Tokyo Opera City Tower, 3-20-2, Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ward, Tokyo

Avène, one of the most famous brands in Pierre Fabre group, is now a leader in sensitive skincare on the Japanese market.

A partner of Shiseido, the growth, and success of became Pierre Fabre Dermo-cosmétique Japon led to the creation, in 2014, of Asia Innovation Center PFDC. The purpose of this R&D center is to strengthen the development of Pierre Fabre Group’s products intended for Asian markets.

L’Occitane en Provence

L’Occitane

The company was founded in 1976 in Provence, south of France, by Olivier Baussan, a young literature student at that time.

L’Occitane en Provence is specialized in cosmetics, skin, body, and hair care products, developed with leading ingredients typical of the Mediterranean region such as olive oil, lavender, and almond.

Their beauty philosophy is based on aromatherapy and phytotherapy principles, and their laboratories use natural ingredients.

CEO: Nicolas Geiger

Headquarters: 12F, Hirakawacho Mori Tower, 2-16-1, Hirakawacho, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo

Between 1996 and 1997, the first stores opened in Tokyo.

Originally named « L’Occitane », Baussan renames the company « L’Occitane en Provence » as a reminder of the company southern French origins.

In the last decades, the company has increased its interest in sustainable trade and developed more ecological and natural products on the international market, including Japan.

Nowadays, L’Occitane en Provence is furthermore selling about 50% of its products to Asia.

Japan is the leading market, whereas 12% of products are sold in the US and around 24% in Europe. This demonstrates the tremendous success of L’Occitane in Japan.

Sources: CCIFJ, CNN, JETRO

Pictures: under copyright of respective companies mentioned above

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