Guinot Paris S.A. - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Guinot Paris S.A.

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Company Perspectives

With over 30 years of experience Guinot's vocation is to beautify women. Our advanced research laboratories have created exclusive face and body treatment methods that have established the reputation of leading beauty salons and spas throughout the world.

History of Guinot Paris S.A.

Guinot Paris S.A. is a world-renowned specialist in the development and production of skin and beauty care products. The company's product line, sold under the Guinot, Mary Cohr, and Master Colors brands, are exclusively available through professional beauty salons, and by beauty therapists. The company supplies its products directly, including through subsidiaries in Germany and Mexico, but especially through a global network of licensed distributors. The company has also developed a franchise system for its Guinot-branded beauty salons. As such, the company's products are available in more than 70 countries and some 9,000 salons worldwide.

The core Guinot Paris line features a lineup of company-developed spa treatments. These include the flagship Hydradermie, developed in the 1960s by founder Rene Guinot, which utilizes ionization in the application of the company's creams. Other treatments include Beaute Neuve, a one-hour, four-part facial treatment; Liftosome, a skin tightening treatment for mature skin; Aromatics, using essential oils; and Tres Homme, developed for men's skin. The company's treatments are backed up by a long list of skin care, body care, and sun protection creams and lotions for use in the customer's home. In addition to this skin care line, Guinot has developed the Mary Cohr brand of spa treatments and creams, which incorporate essential oils as their active ingredients. Guinot rounds out its product offering with the Master Colors professional cosmetics line. These are available exclusively through beauty salons and other beauty professionals. Guinot's production is centered at its main facility in Melun, near Paris. Guinot has been owned and led by Jean-Daniel Mondin since 1972. The company last reported revenues of more than EUR 75 million ($100 million) in 2004.

A Beauty Care Idea in 1930

Guinot's origins lay in the work of chemical engineer Rene Guinot who began working with skin care and cleansing products in the late 1920 and 1930s. Guinot's chemical background allowed him to approach the skin and beauty care market from a scientific viewpoint. In 1930, Guinot achieved his first breakthrough by recognizing that deep cleansing the skin allowed the active ingredients in skin care creams to penetrate more deeply.

Over the next several decades, Guinot built up a list of more than 55 biologically active ingredients that could be used to treat various skin types. Guinot also began experimenting with the use of electricity as a means of stimulating the action of the different substances incorporated into his creams. These innovations were supplied to his wife for use in her own Parisian beauty salon. By the early 1960s, Guinot's formulas had begun to attract interest from other salons and spas in Paris. To respond to the rising demand, Guinot founded his own company, Rene Guinot in Montreuil, a suburb of Paris. The company started out with a small staff, and a customer network of just 22 salons.

Guinot himself continued developing new formulas and treatments, and especially those involving the use of electrical current. Guinot's experiments began to orient themselves toward the use of ionization techniques. By 1965, Guinot had succeeded in finalizing his first breakthrough treatment, which he called "Cathiodermie" (alternatively "Hydradermie"). The treatment, lasting as long as 90 minutes, consisted of several steps, including an ionization step to cleanse the skin, followed by the use of special gels applied with the aid of roller electrodes. The use of electrodes, according to Guinot, allowed active ingredients to penetrate even deeper into the skin than the traditional manual massage technique. In a later phase in the treatment, a layer of gauze through which an electrical current was passed was placed over the face as a means of boosting the supply of oxygen to skin cells. The treatment ended with a more traditional massage using various creams and gels.

Building a Global Brand from 1972

Guinot's treatments proved popular, and they were soon embraced by a widening circle of beauty salons and their clientele. Nonetheless, the company operated on a decidedly small scale, posting revenues of the equivalent of roughly $300,000 into the 1970s.

The early 1970s, however, marked a new phase in the company's growth. In 1972, Dr. Jean-Daniel Mondin, a young chemist with a doctorate in pharmaceutical science, bought the Rene Guinot company. Under Mondin, Guinot quickly evolved into an industrial producer with an international focus. For its international development, the company focused on building a network of local distributors. In the United Kingdom, for example, Rob Robson established a distribution company in 1972 for the express purpose of introducing Cathiodermie and the rest of the Guinot product line into the market. Mondin, who continued to lead the ongoing refinement of hydradermie/cathiodermie and related products, also set up a franchise system. As part of this system, prospective "beauty therapists" were required to receive training and certification from Guinot. Sales of the company's products were at the same time restricted to salons, helping the brand build an exclusive image.

Guinot also sought new product areas for its expansion. The company naturally turned toward cosmetics in the late 1970s, launching the Mary Cohr cosmetic brand. The Mary Cohr line, however, increasingly developed into a parallel spa and salon treatment, based on the use of essential oils. In 1987, the company debuted the Mary Cohr Catiovital facial treatment. The salon-based treatment was also backed up by a new range of products for home use sold exclusively through the growing number of salons in Guinot's distribution network.

With the growing reputation of the Guinot and Mary Cohr brands, Guinot's sales increasingly came from beyond France. In support of this growth, the company began developing its own globally operating distribution network, based on licenses and partnerships with local companies. The company established distribution relationships with two companies in the United States: Lachman Imports, on the East Coast, and Thibiant International, on the West Coast. In Australia in 1990, the company turned over the exclusive distribution for that market to John Pritchard International. In 1993, Guinot boosted its Japanese presence through a distribution agreement with Mandom Corporation, a leading producer of men's care and other beauty care products in that market. The company also established a number of its own subsidiaries into the early 1990s, notably in Germany and Mexico. By the mid-2000s, the company's distribution network had grown to include some 70 countries.

Supporting the company's growth was its main production facility in Melun, in the Val de Seine outside of Paris. In 1992, the company launched an expansion of the facility, increasing its space to 18,000 square meters. That expansion was completed in 1993. The increased capacity helped fuel strong growth for the company through the 1990s, and by 1998 the company reported sales of the equivalent of nearly EUR 42 million. In that year, the company expanded its product development with the establishment of a dedicated research center. The group's new research efforts quickly paid off, and by 1999 the company launched a new product, Epil Confort, a long-lasting depilatory system. The following year, the company launched another new product line, Longue Vie Cellulaire, with separate treatments developed for different parts of the body.

Franchising the Brand in the New Century

At the same time, Guinot began developing a new distribution model. In 2000, the company began testing a new franchise format, called Guinot Paris Spa. The first spas were test marketed in Paris that year, and featured beauty therapists trained by Guinot itself. The success of the format led to a larger rollout of the brand. By 2003, there were nearly 19 Guinot Paris Spas in operation, including the first spas opened overseas. In England, for example, the company opened a flagship spa in London in 2002.

By then, Guinot had launched a new cosmetics collection, called Master Colors. The launch enabled the company to reposition its Mary Cohr brand, which increasingly had developed as a parallel line of beauty treatments to the core Guinot brand. In order to differentiate itself from the Guinot brand, the Mary Cohr line adopted new formulas based on the use of essential oils and aroma therapy. In 2002, that line was re-launched as Aromatic Face Treatment. Meanwhile, Guinot continued developing new products under its own name. This resulted in the debut of a new slimming treatment, Absolue Minceur, introduced in 2003.

In support of its rising sales, the company expanded its production facility in Melun again, adding an additional 14,000 square meters of production and storage space to the site. That project was completed in 2003. The expanded facility helped back the launch of a new Guinot success in 2004, when the company introduced its "Youth Boost" anti-age treatment.

This was followed by an update of the group's flagship Hydradermie treatment, called Hydradermic Lift. The new treatment utilized micro-currents to simulate the effects of facelifts. By the end of 2005, the company had added another treatment, called Technispa, marketed as an anti-cellulite slimming treatment. At the same time as the company continued to develop new treatments, it also continued to seek out new active ingredients. In March 2006, for example, Guinot debuted a new complex, called Dermostimulines, which is derived from passion fruit. The product was meant to replace the retinol, or Vitamin A, found in many of the group's products. With sales at more than EUR 75 million, Guinot had established itself as a leading name in the beauty care market for the new century.

Principal Subsidiaries

Guinot Mexico SA de CV; Laboratores Rene Guinot GmbH (Germany); Guinot distributes its products through a network of exclusive distributors in more than 70 countries worldwide.

Principal Competitors

Nestle S.A.; Sunstar Inc.; Procter and Gamble Co.; Unilever; Johnson and Johnson; E. Merck; Ipiranga Comercial Quimica S.A; Sanofi-Aventis; Abbott Laboratories; House Off Fuller S.A.; Wyeth; L'Oreal S.A.; Christian Dior S.A.; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A; Consell S.A.; CP and P Inc.


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