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: