Professional Beauty sits down with Marie-Laure Simonin Braun, president of celebrated French beauty brand Payot, on her recent trip to Australia. On the agenda: innovation, education and the salon experience.
The past 12 months have been exciting ones for Payot. Not only did the brand mark its 95th anniversary, it was also acquired by investment firm LBO France and gained a new president, Marie-Laure Simonin Braun.
Founded in 1920 by Dr Nadia Payot in Paris, Payot has developed into an iconic brand, distributed in nearly 70 countries. It does extremely well in the Australian market and Payot Australia, run by Rita and Clive Smith, is the number one distributor outside of Europe.
Braun, a pharmacist specialising in skin biology, joined Payot seven months ago and recently visited Australia to understand the brand’s operations here.
“One of my main goals is to visit the key countries so I can really learn from the field and the professionals and improve the products,” she says.
After visiting several Payot salons, Braun says she was pleased with how knowledgeable and professional the therapists were but says the salons themselves could be improved.
“[Experience] is the key word now and what the consumer is expecting today,” she says. “This can improve a lot…When you welcome someone and provide services you really want them to live through a unique moment and to me there is still room to grow in that area.”
Providing an experience in salon is a vital part of the Payot brand, and something Braun says she wants to develop as she gets stuck into her new role. Giving more to your clients – for example by teaching them a daily routine based on the brand’s unique 42 movement facial massage – is one way salons can differentiate themselves.
“Like most professional brands, Payot has always been focused on education but also on passing on important education to the customers,” says Braun.
“This is an opportunity for the therapists – you can do little workshops or host a VIP gathering to learn how to exercise the skin.”
Educating the therapists that make up Payot’s global network is also important, and Braun is extremely passionate about the online Payot Academy.
This eLearning portal covers everything from Payot’s retail products to performing the brand’s facials, and gives therapists more opportunity to learn and grow in their career.
“My philosophy is that, for a brand that is in treatments and services, education is the keystone,” says Braun. “When you’re selling services, if you’re not into education, you’re finished.”
The company releases between 10 and 20 new products per year, which Braun says is important for the brand to remain competitive. The Payot approach to skincare is based on integrated beauty and looking at the face as a whole, and products are formulated at Paris HQ where the research and development team works closely with management.
“There is a lot of dermatological science to how we formulate products and the way we pick ingredients is comparable to what happens in cosmeceutical but the huge difference is that we don’t compromise the pleasure to use,” explains Braun.
“It’s also more preventative and corrective rather than just corrective. That’s the French way – you should take care of your skin on a daily basis.”
Braun was drawn to the job at Payot because of the opportunity to build on the brand’s heritage and reputation, but is also eager to make sure the brand continues to innovate in order to remain relevant in an extremely competitive market.
“It’s great because I’ve got a skincare company at a key moment in its life,” she says. “It’s going to be 100 a few years from now so it’s a really exciting adventure.”
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