We are pleased to announce that L’OCCITANE has become a Patron of the British Beauty Council.
We spoke with Alia Hawa, Managing Director of L’OCCITANE UK & Ireland, to find out more about the brand, see what excites them about the British beauty industry, and why they wanted to become a Patron.
Those who came to British Beauty Week, and those who followed the week on social media, will remember the iconic L’OCCITANE Truck in Covent Garden this September. As a new Patron, it would be great to find out more about the brand:
L’OCCITANE (pronounced LOX-EE-TAN) is a unique French beauty brand that creates sensorial bath, body, skincare and fine fragrance products formulated with the purest natural ingredients. It was founded in 1976 by Olivier Baussan, who was just 23 years old. He bought an old distiller to make essential oil from rosemary to sell at the open-air markets in Provence. The brand captures the essence of Provence, where the brand was founded, taking inspiration from the captivating colours, scents and traditions.
Since its beginnings, L’OCCITANE was not only a natural cosmetic brand, but it was also an engaged brand with strong values falling into two key areas: People and Nature. And these two key areas are the foundation of our six commitments: Respecting Biodiversity, Supporting Producers, Reducing Waste, Empowering Women, Care for Sight and Celebrating Craftsmanship. And those values define the brand alongside some of its iconic products, such as the Shea Butter Hand Cream and Immortelle Overnight Reset Serum.
What excites you about the British beauty industry?
It is simply a fascinating industry, and in the UK in particular, it is probably one of the fastest-changing and most creative. It is fun and challenging at the same time, and as a “heritage” brand, we see lots of new brands emerge that inspire us to push our own boundaries.
What I also find admirable about the British beauty industry, is that it has proven its resilience since the pandemic; especially when compared to other industries. I think this is because beauty brands dynamically shifted their business to online and other channels during the pandemic, tackling new ways to reach the customers, such as social selling.
During the pandemic we saw a trend for self-care, and the beauty industry has played a critical role in terms of people’s well being and mental health. I am really pleased to see that the British beauty industry is becoming much more sustainable, particularly in the area of reducing waste and its footprint on the environment, which is a most important topic that we need to address and commit to. We don’t have much time to do that because the climate crisis is real and is happening now. Many brands within the British beauty industry have taken bold steps in terms of environment and people. L’OCCITANE in the UK has been very engaged on three key topics that fall into two areas, planet and people: reducing waste, respecting biodiversity, and empowering women. These are three of the six commitments of L’OCCITANE, and it has been essential to support these actions locally in the UK to be relevant for our team and customers alike.
We are delighted to have you on board, why did you want to become a Patron of the British Beauty Council?
The work that the British Beauty Council has achieved is remarkable, and there is a lot for us to learn from and to take part in. The UK is now the biggest market for L’OCCITANE in Europe. As a UK-based business and team, with over 70 stores, multiple channels (e-commerce, web partners, wholesale, QVC etc.), more than 500 employees in the country, and being one of the leading cosmetic brands on the market, it is important that we take an active role with the British Beauty Council. We are also active members of the British Retail Consortium. L’OCCITANE wants to take part in the conversations around the evolution and challenges that both the retail and beauty industries face in the UK. The pandemic has forced us to be more agile, creative, and closer to our local customers and community; I think it is an exciting time. In joining the British Beauty Council, we will benefit from many insights and industry experts. We need to learn from each other, and the British Beauty Council has created this platform of conversation with other industry leaders. There are many boiling topics besides growing sales and building a beauty brand in the UK; I am personally excited to join the D&I and sustainability journey by the side of the British Beauty Council. In uniting, we will enrich the debate and drive the change faster.
Find out more about L’OCCITANE here.