Interview with Cosmetic Valley president Marc-Antoine Jamet

Cosmetic Valley president Marc-Antoine Jamet tells BW Confidential about his views on this year’s Cosmetic 360 show and how he sees the event developing

The US is the country of honor at this year’s Cosmetic 360 show. What does this bring to the show?

Traditionally there are three big players in cosmetics and perfumery in the world: Japan, the US and [in Europe] France and Italy. Clearly, a show with the US, especially since last year’s country of honor was Japan, seemed like the natural next step. The show this year has big beauty players, such as Estée Lauder and Rodan + Fields, and we wanted to pay our respects to them in a way. It’s very important for Cosmetic Valley to have the big Japanese player, Shiseido, the big European players, LVMH, L’Oréal and Chanel, and the big players of the US. We can’t just be open to small and medium-sized French companies. We need to be open to the big, international companies and to innovation. The US is innovative, international and big by definition.

How has the choice of the US impacted the exhibitor or visitor profile?

To be honest I think the other key theme of the show – sustainability – has had a bigger impact on exhibitors. Clearly, the environmental focus has had an impact on the innovations. The US has given the tone and a theme, while Corporate Social Responsibility gave us a base and a direction.

What do you think the industry needs to do – especially the luxury industry – to implement real sustainable practices?

We’re not in energy or nuclear science, but people are asking more of the cosmetics industry, and especially the luxury cosmetics industry. Under the Made in France label, and Luxury Made in France, there are four cornerstones: Technological performance, product authenticity, consumer safety and environmental protection. What we sell in China or other foreign countries has needs to be eco-friendly.

There is growing awareness among consumers and also among entrepreneurs. The number of reusable, recycled, vegan solutions [are growing]. I feel like we are at a big turning point. In the Cosmetic Awards and Cosmetic Victories, we’ve seen more environmental projects. We have insisted on this and now it’s exploding.

We are in an industry that has an intimate and personal relationship with consumers – we’re in their bathrooms and their handbags. And today this relationship is built on the idea that we need to save the planet. We listen to our consumers and I think that we react and adapt more quickly than a lot of other industries.

We have to be more virtuous. We are in an industry where we use a lot of natural ingredients, we don’t use petroleum and radioactive materials, and from the start we have stronger demand. So we have three elements: We are more virtuous to begin with, because we know we’re in people’s handbags and bathrooms; we have processes that generally use clean ingredients, and in addition we have a demand from consumers that are aware of an environmental transition.

How can Cosmetic 360 help move this issue forward in the industry?

The show asks its exhibitors to come to the show with the theme of innovation and in the area of the environment, it’s powerful. The show creates awareness. Cosmetic Valley is an opinion leader for its members and formulates collective opinions. And now, that opinion is: let’s make an effort, let’s move forward. I think we are at the right time. If we had done this five years ago, we wouldn’t have been heard and had we done it in five years time, it would have been too late.

What has been the reaction from exhibitors to the sustainability theme?

Very good, we’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm. Among our 220 exhibitors, there are at least 80 innovations that are focused on the environment, so they’ve followed the theme. The rest is [focused on]  AI, connectivity, individual products, which were themes of the show in previous years.

Where is the show headed?

What I would like is for the show to grow in size. I want it to expand to 300 or more exhibitors. I would like to give more visibility to the different French regions. The third objective would be a bigger international presence, and the fourth, more forward-thinking, technological innovations.