Happy International Entrepreneurs’ Day! Every year on August 21st, the world takes a day to celebrate the innovation, creativity, and courage of intrepid businesspeople. The purpose of this day is to create awareness for entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership throughout the world. Entrepreneurship is a mindset that is central to our values at Eurofragance; entrepreneurship was an integral part of our story. And this year is particularly special for us because June marked our company’s 30th anniversary.
To commemorate this milestone and this important day, we sat down with two very important people to discuss Eurofragance’s achievements. Santiago Sabates is our company’s founder, whose entrepreneurial spirit led to the creation of the company 30 years ago this June. He was our CEO for many years and is now the chairman of our board of directors. Laurent Mercier is our CEO and has occupied that position for three years, before which he was the company’s global business director.
Keep reading for the first part of the interview, and follow us on social media to make sure you catch parts 2 and 3 coming soon!
Eurofragance: This year, we celebrate Eurofragance’s 30 years. What does this milestone mean to you?
Santiago Sabates: This anniversary is very meaningful for me as the chairman of the company but also as the founder. 30 years is a lot of time, but our competitors are hundreds of years old! We are a young company and we are lucky because this is really just the beginning for us.
Laurent Mercier: It marks a significant chapter for this young company. For me, I have spent almost 7 years here in Barcelona, which means I have been with Eurofragance for about 25% of its life! It’s an achievement and an important moment to recognize.
I was thinking about what it means to be 30 years old. If I look back at myself when I was 30, I had been married for two years, I had changed jobs once and moved countries twice, and I was planning for a family that started with our first son 2 years down the road. It was a significant time in my life, and as a company, we are moving into a new phase of our collective lives.
The current situation doesn’t allow us to really plan any sort of get-together, but I have great memories of our 25th anniversary, which we celebrated simultaneously in both Dubai and in Barcelona in 2015. At the time, it was a great celebration with customers, partners, and friends. But this year, given the circumstances, the Sabates family and I opted for a private celebration inside the company.
Eurofragance: Where do you expect Eurofragance to go in the next 30 years?
SS: I would like to see Eurofragance become a top 5 player in the fragrance industry. The company has a lot of room for improvement and development, and I truly believe that it will grow and more than double in the next 30 years.
LM: As they say, the sky’s the limit! I would like to see the company’s revenue reach €500m by 2050 and for our people to keep working with the same drive that got us to where we are today. Our development has been fueled by our culture of humility and passion for both our product and desire to exceed our customers’ expectations. In the next 30 years, I would like to see that legacy continue to be built.
Eurofragance: What are the biggest challenges that you foresee in the coming years?
SS: When you reach a senior enough position in the company, you learn to focus your attention on the next two years. Right now, our challenge for the next 12 months will be dealing with COVID-19, as many other companies are doing. I’m very proud of how our company and individual teams have demonstrated adaptability and flexibility during such disruptive times. In the future, maintaining these adaptable and flexible skills will be our main challenge.
LM: For now, yes, COVID-19 is our biggest challenge. As a company, we need to think short-term, adapt, resist, and recover. We have already learned that patience and resilience are necessary for survival, but now we have to learn how to thrive and achieve our revised goals during the “new normal”.
I’ve been the CEO of Eurofragance for three dramatic years – dramatic because it has covered a raw materials shortage in 2018 and now the COVID-19 pandemic. But, as they say, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger! And I have seen this to be true for our company and our leadership team.
Our next challenge will be to re-define our 3-year plan to take into account all the uncertainty of the world today. The new plan to take the company to the next level will involve two transformational aspects: accelerated category diversification, and leveraging both organic and inorganic growth. To remain independent in this world of consolidation, we need to raise the bar at Eurofragance, especially in terms of marketing and communication.
Watch a short video animation to celebrate 30 years of Eurofragance:
To celebrate International Creativity and Innovation Day, we are thrilled to share one of our core areas of expertise with you, fragrance design. It combines creativity and innovation, and plays a fundamental role in achieving our objective of perfuming the world. Our in-house team of experts conduct extensive research and analysis, in
Creativity + Innovation: Two Fundamental Ingredients in Fragrance Design
novate using applied technology and perfumer expertise, and leverage our wide range of quality olfactory ingredients.
This all comes together in Eurofragance’s Sensolab, a laboratory where fragrances come to life through textures application and renewed formulations. Smell Me Founder Melina Napolitano sat down with Eurofragance’s Applications Manager Myriam Terés to discuss the work that takes place in the SensoLab.
Melina Napolitano: How does a liquid fragrance become an innovative product?
Myriam Terés: This is the objective of Sensolab – to propose and apply new textures for the perfume market; formats where the consumer can explore the fragrance with the senses. The purpose is to be able to make the invisible tangible, to make fragrances a lively feature in the product, and thus, become a source of inspiration for our customers.
We know that perfume is a source of pleasure and wellbeing, and that the choice of a fragrance is our olfactory code compared to others. Fragrance is a sensorial experience in itself, as it gives us the ability to transport our mind to any place, at any time. This type of experience sometimes requires all the senses to make it happen.
Sensolab tries to find new textures in which to present the perfume; solid textures, foams etc. This allows us to experience fragrances in different formats, that’s what we call innovation.
MN: What is the process of creating a fragrance?
MT: The first step is the design of the fragrance. The choice of the right ingredients, along with creativity, is in the hands of the perfumers. They know in depth which raw materials should be used for each type of application, and they also have great expertise in the broad olfactory palette.
Then, the fragrance designed by the perfumer, goes through the application area where a physical-chemical evaluation of the composition is conducted and the behavior of the application itself is studied (shower gel, body lotion, etc.).
Once these steps have been carried out, the evaluators sit with the fragrances and check that the fragrance application in the product continues to be successful. This is what is called a zero-time validated fragrance. Then, stability studies are carried out to check that the stability of the fragrance does not change over time until the final fragrance is reached.
MN: A fragrance could be in multiple formats, right?
MT: Yes! Have you ever experienced a powdered perfume? Well, fragrance in this format has a double function: one is to give off a scent and the other is to moisturize. This format for a fragrance makes it easy to carry with the added benefit of nourishing the skin.
But there are many more types of textures in fragrances…
Solid perfume is a perfumed balm that can be applied by fingertip. Not only does it require less water in its chemical composition and formulation, but it also weighs less as a finished product. This implies a more sustainable product life cycle. The solid perfume can be converted into a gel shampoo, bath, body lotion, and deodorant in stick format.
These textures arise from a new trend called waterless perfumes, which arises from the movement to protect our most important natural resource: water. Here, innovation manifests in the need to respond to a global crisis, and calls for improved sustainability.
Foam fragrances, one of the most popular formats, are presented in an airy, voluptuous texture that also serves a moisturizing function.
Innovation is more than just a buzzword; Sensolab has no limits in its mission to exceed expectations. The goal is to continue inspiring customers and working on the creation of new ways to enjoy fragrances!
All of us at Eurofragance would like to wish our team, customers, partners, and affiliates in Asia a warm and happy Chinese new year! As we usher in the start of the year of the rat, we would like to share some exciting updates in the region with the world.
With 2020, a new opportunity to activate new energies emerges, and, as astrologers say, this year is expected to be about progression and starting a new project with great strength.
So, our new project is… drumroll… China! In August last year, we created our new entity in China. Our presence in Asia has now been strengthened by this decision and we will be working with a trusted local manufacturing partner to get things off the ground.
We are looking forward to working with a new (growing) team to keep the production local. This way, we can be fast and agile in delivering our products to new clients. We’re also open to domestic partnerships!
This new Chinese year is great for improving ongoing projects. We currently have a small presence in Shanghai, and we are hoping to continue growing as 2020 gets underway. Next, we will be turning our attention to all things sales!.
So, what does the year of the rat have in store for Eurofragance? Simply, it presents us with the chance to seize every opportunity that comes our way to grow our team and presence in China and capitalize on our momentum.
We will be reaching out to customers and scaling our business very proactively. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to reach new milestones.