Sophie Guillon, CEO of Valmont Cosmetics, is fully invested in changing the cosmetics industry. Luxury skincare is not only what she excels at, but revels in as she uses science and her years of industry experience to revolutionize the way products treat the skin of her consumers. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet people who are driven by pure passion for what they do, and Sophie is one of them.
On a recent press trip to Laguna Beach California, I had the pleasure of learning all about Valmont Cosmetics, its history and sat down with Sophie to talk about the cosmetics industry. I even got to learn about the brand’s most luxurious and prestigious collection, L’Elixir des Glaciers, and tried out their two new makeup launches for Fall 2019: Teint Majestueux and the Poudre de Teint Précieuse.
From the company’s head office on the banks of Lake Geneva to the summits of the Alpine glaciers, Valmont prides itself on merging cutting-edge Swiss R&D and the taste for tradition that comes from their natural heritage of exceptional purity.
As I sat down with Sophie, I noticed she was excited to launch into the story of her brand. She began, “A couple sold the company to my father-in-law. He asked my husband to take care of it and he did. The company started in ’84, it was sold in ’89 and my husband took it over completely in ’96 from his father — so it’s a family business.”
“When he took it over, it was a company with 30 formulas and 30 companies of distribution. I was in the business representing and working for all the cosmetics and fragrance lines. I landed in Switzerland with no kids, but a future husband. I worked seven years for YSL as Marketing Director. I really enjoyed it because I learned a lot. Then I had two kids — it’s a lot of work so he said why you don’t join the company part time. Soon part time became full time. I’m passionate about cosmetics, fragrances, manufacturing, forecasting, managing so that’s how I took over the Swiss company which is the headquarters where you imagine the products, deal with the manufacturers etc. The ideas come from our thinking and we work together with a big team. We have to anticipate a lot. For the plant extracts, I have to anticipate two years before how much of these plants I’m going to need once they’re extracted. It starts from the number of jars, to the quality of the plants and from there, the seeds I have to plant.”
Valmont has a huge fan base of consumers who are loyal to the luxury brand. When asked what guarantees fan loyalty, Sophie replied: “We don’t let any product go if it’s not efficient. I prefer an imperfect product. A lot of people in the cosmetics industry focus on it being a beautiful cream. But hey, it’s not the cream that has to be beautiful — it’s my customer. I prefer to explain to my customer that this cream is going to be imperfect because the color might change because there’s oxidization of Vitamin C etc, but the results…she will seen the efficacy on her skin. That’s what motivates me. This is how people are loyal. People will forgive if the cream is not whipped or white and shiny, if it does them good. I put myself in the shoes of the customer. If you invest $200 on a cream, you want to have the result on you, not in the jar. I explain to my chemist, I don’t always care if the skin is perfect in the jar. The cream has to penetrate the skin and make the skin beautiful. That’s all I want.”
I was treated to a facial using Valmont Cosmetics and the L’Elixir des Glaciers line of luxury products and my skin glowed for days on end. I soon understood why Sophie has such a dedicated brand following. It’s the results, pure and efficient. So, what is the secret to her success? “I put myself in the shoes of my consumer. I know she can be very picky and I can be very picky. If I don’t feel it, I know it’s not going to sell. We don’t sell just for the sake of selling. It’s a lot of heart into it. It’s a lot of passion and we are really focused on the satisfaction of the customer.”
I had heard that Sophie doesn’t follow market trends, but tends to focus on the needs of the women of tomorrow. When asked about this, she agreed. “It’s always on my instinct and the combination of our surrounding. The atmosphere is changing and the world is changing. I always keep to the basics. We are still dependent on the system of life. I analyze what’s happening in tomorrow’s world.”
“The DNA of the brand is to always be accurate and something specific. We always have something original, like the Purity line we put some probiotics to prepare the skin. I only know how to do luxury products. We do things our way to make it more specific to us — it gives us our own identify and people then stay loyal to us. I’m always very surprised when they go to comments and we don’t see any negative comments. I like to read comments to improve.”
So what product does Sophie love from the Valmont line? “The Prime Renewing Pack and the Time Master as the Contour. I have Moisturizing Crème, and Moisturizing Booster. The elixir in the overnight crème.”
So I further asked, what’s the one product that she would recommend if someone hasn’t tried the brand. She firmly replied, “The Prime Renewing Pack. The Happy Mask (as she likes to call it). We are selling almost 400 000 of these – 65 tones every year. Everybody loves this cream. It was launched as a mask but everybody is using it the way they want. It’s photoshop in a jar. No matter how you use it, it’s going to work on your skin. You can never be wrong. I use it every morning, a thin layer 5 mins, while having coffee, and swipe off the excess. Most of the time, the skin absorbs it and you look fresh. Your features are just back in place.”
And I have to admit, she’s not wrong. I have come to become dependent on the Prime Renewing Pack for my skincare fix. Sophie is already excited for next year’s launches. She jumped literally at the thought of what she’s cooked up for her consumers. I’m convinced that she’s changing the cosmetics game, if not already, so I can’t wait to see what’s in the pipeline for 2020.
As for what’s new this Fall? L’Elixir des Glaciers has launched the Teint Majestueux, a satin glow foundation, and the Poudre de Teint Précieuse, a luminous velvet powder foundation. It’s the best of both worlds, combining skincare and dewy makeup. Watch out for our review of this coming soon!