Meet Sébastien Guerra, co-founder and general manager of HUYGENS Paris, the committed brand of organic cosmetics that is 100% made in France. Find out how Sébastien and his partner Daan Sins co-founded their natural beauty dispensary located in the Marais district of Paris. Launched in 2013, HUYGENS Paris made the choice to start by offering a sensory experience in brick-and-mortar and online, with a product customization offer. Ecommerce was not as successful as it is today, so between the choice of distribution and the issue of offering organic products at a time when consumers were still uneducated, it was a dual gamble that was (spoiler alert) eventually won.
Sebastien had his first phone contact with Nima Karimi, the CEO and co-founder of Silvr. The two business founders talked at a time when Nima was prospecting for Silvr; this was long before more than 100 Silvrnauts joined them - Gregory Tappero and him - in the project.
With an extensive geographic reach and intensified distribution network, HUYGENS' mission is brand awareness and recognition. 100% of their Silvr funding is dedicated to developing their acquisition campaigns, which coincided with the brand's desire to drive traffic to their site in ways other than just using organic traffic. For the cosmetics brand, Silvr is "an effective way to free up time to focus on our core business of developing clean, innovative and effective products." Moreover, it is a way to relieve their working capital, which is obviously growing with the development of international activity.
"Silvr is an efficient way to free up time to focus on our core business of developing clean, innovative and effective products"
Sébastien Guerra - co-founder and CEO of HUYGENS Paris
Why trust Silvr in concrete terms? "Silvr is a very agile development tool that is easy to use and perfectly complements the traditional financing we use". As an example, since the release of their financing with Silvr, HUYGENS has multiplied its online sales threefold, and launches an average of four new treatments per year. This time saving allows the two entrepreneurs and their team to focus on what they do best: innovating and creating.
"Silvr is a very agile development tool, which is easy to use and perfectly complements the traditional financing we use"
Sébastien Guerra - co-founder and CEO of HUYGENS Paris
"It hasn't been easy being the forerunner in organic skincare, especially when you're continually trying to make products that are high-end, good and affordable." In addition, the D2C model with rapid internationalization requires a lot of capital, and significant cash flow requirements. The costs are immense when you try to enter a market that is dominated by large historical and oligopolistic players with ¾ of the market share concentrated in the hands of four giants. The cost also stems from the fact that their catalog is vast and that the sector requires a constant renewal of the range. As time has gone by, customers have become more mature about organic products, as has the respect for HUYGENS.
After building product ranges that meet very demanding specifications, HUYGENS was able to find an ideal and now historic partner for the brand, the French leader in beauty boxes, Blissim. With Silvr, the cosmetics brand was able to intensify its international expansion.
Before the expansion we mentioned, the co-founders successfully launched the adventure with their Parisian flagship store, which has an exceptional 5 out of 5 rating on Tripadvisor and a place in the Top 10 of the most beautiful places to shop in Paris. Quite something. The launch of the HUYGENS Paris storefront and e-commerce site took place simultaneously in 2013. As organic trailblazers committed to D2C offline and online, there are obviously some pitfalls involved:
During their retail focus of the first seven years, they quickly accessed the very buoyant Asian market by opening a boutique in Tokyo. Since then, they have established more than a dozen retail presences around the world, covering a number of time zones. From the United States to Europe to Japan. "We want consumers to be able to find our products anywhere in the world!” Fortunately for this sector, demand abroad is strong for French cosmetics, the know-how of which is well known. Nevertheless, 75% of HUYGENS' revenue still comes from France.
Concerning their products: they are all 100% made in France in different partner laboratories, experts in the organic field. They are all designed and prepared in their workshop in the Marais. All formulas contain at least 95% of natural ingredients and are composed of 10 to 100% of organic ingredients. They are 100% green on Yuka! They also have recycled and recyclable packaging (glass, PCR, FSC certified boxes). Always taking a sustainable development approach, HUYGENS develops its offer of refillable products.
Let's go back to the origin of the meeting between Sébastien Guerra and Daan Sins. Sébastien has a rich history of a dozen years in the luxury and perfume industry. Among the great firms in which he developed his expertise are Christian Dior perfumes, Givenchy perfumes and various brands of the L'Oréal Group. After meeting at Yves Saint-Laurent, Sébastien and Daan put their distinct expertise to work. On one side, Sébastien manages business development and operations, and on the other side Daan manages marketing and communication. The passion that brings them together is of course skincare and perfume. The basis of their business is simple: to offer organic products, without compromising on efficiency, accessible to all. As far as the brand is concerned, HUYGENS embodies the crossroads where the purest botanicals and the latest scientific advances meet. For the record, the Dutch Huygens family gradually settled in France in the 17th century. Sent by the Prince of Holland, Constantijn Huygens studied the healing power of plants and botanical science. As a tribute to these visionaries, the two founders launched HUYGENS Paris and opened their natural beauty dispensary in the heart of the Marais, in Paris. Indeed, their motto is to pass on this ancestral know-how.
In addition to multiple physical openings and the continuation of their online strategy, HUYGENS is looking to reach the milestone of 1,000 partner outlets worldwide. Expect to see the brand's organic cosmetics in new countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, but also in the United States at The Detox Market and in a network of Colombian pharmacies. HUYGENS Paris will also develop a partnership with a line of prestigious hotels, with the aim of establishing itself before the 2024 Olympic Games.
Now you know the wonderful sulfate-free story of HUYGENS. Oh yes, the holidays are just around the corner, so consider the promo code MYFIRSTTIME to get 20% off an order on the HUYGENS Paris website.