“Intelligent, uncompromising, exquisite” is how Clé de Peau Beauté Chief Brand Officer Yukari Suzuki described the new edition of La Crème

“Intelligent, uncompromising and exquisite.” Those are the words used by Clé de Peau Beauté’s Chief Brand Officer Yukari Suzuki to welcome guests during the brand’s La Crème launch in London in October.

The event itself – hosted in the Serpentine Galleries – was an exquisite affair in a stunning venue, but the eighth edition of La Crème was the undoubted star. The line is Clé de Peau Beauté’s newest expression, winning Shiseido Group its 27th award from the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC).

Clé de Peau Beauté is the jewel of Shiseido Group’s prestige portfolio. The brand recently opened its first radiance counter in Harrods, with plans to open more counters in Italy and Spain soon.  In travel retail, it has opened new counters in Dubai International (DXB) and Istanbul Airport, further strengthening its foothold in the EMEA region.  

During the radiant launch event, our Fashion Beauty and Social Media Editor Hannah Tan-Gillies sat down with Clé de Peau Beauté Chief Brand Officer Yukari Suzuki and Shiseido Travel Retail Vice President of Marketing and Innovation Elisabeth Jouguelet, to discuss the story of La Crème.

We also talked about the brand’s bold steps into EMEA, it’s China-first approach, how it is leveraging its success in Asia Pacific to enter new markets, and how Clé de Peau Beauté is sharing its philosophy with the world.

Thai actress and beauty star Donut Manatsanun Panlertwongskul and Taiwanese beauty star Melody Li pose with Clé de Peau Beauté’s new La Crème

A radiant debut: The Serpentine Galleries served as a stunning backdrop for Clé de Peau Beauté’s La Crème media event

The Moodie Davitt Report: Tell us a little about the ‘Radiance Recaptured and Remastered Event’ and about the rejuvenated La Crème. What new innovations have enhanced this formula?

Yukari Suzuki: One of the biggest reasons we decided to hold the event in London was because we opened our first Clé de Peau Beauté counter in Harrods two weeks ago. Today’s event is a celebration of our first steps into the European market. It’s also a great opportunity to launch La Crème, which really embodies the DNA and the spirit of the brand.

You described Clé de Peau Beauté’s ‘intelligent, uncompromising, exquisite’ mantra. How do these values apply to La Crème?

Yukari Suzuki: La Crème is intelligent because of the cutting-edge technology behind our Skin Intelligence research, it is uncompromising because of our commitment to uncompromising excellence in whatever we do as a brand. Exquisite, because every part of La Crème is exquisite. From the packaging, the formula, the rare ingredients, to the texture of the product.

How are you incorporating Shiseido’s “Beauty innovation for a better world” philosophy into the branding and messaging of Clé de Peau Beauté?

Yukari Suzuki: One way in which we are bringing that philosophy to life is by not only pursuing economic value but also social value. We have launched our ‘Power of Radiance’ programme this year and it is a great example of giving back radiance to the world.

Through this programme, we have aligned with various UN sustainable development goals (SDG). Clé de Peau Beauté is currently aiming to achieve SDG five, which is about gender equality. Our first Power of Radiance programme recipient was UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Muzoon Almellahan. The next big step for us is to launch a philanthropic programme with UNICEF that supports various girls’ education initiatives in Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, and Bangladesh. Through these programmes, we want to nurture the next generation of girls.

How will your brand strategy for Clé de Peau Beauté evolve in the next five years?

Elisabeth Jouguelet: Our aim is to establish Clé de Peau Beauté as one of the most coveted global luxury beauty brands among consumers. By positioning it with a modern, luxury lifestyle aesthetic, we hope to empower women all around the world. Because our skincare range is driven by cutting-edge science, and our makeup products are influenced by luxury and style.

We will also continue to reinforce our brand’s value and product quality based on our hero products like La Crème; and leverage our makeup strengths by merging skincare and makeup benefits to create an unrivalled level of radiance. We will also elevate retail excellence by offering unparalleled luxury experiences with complete omnichannel marketing.

Tell us about your ‘radiance counter’ retail concept. How do these counters express Clé de Peau Beauté’s radiance philosophy to customers? 

Yukari Suzuki: We have thoroughly incorporated our radiance philosophy into our counter designs, but now our focus is to improve functionality. At these counters, we pride ourselves with the service of our beauty specialists. Service is a key factor in the entire Clé de Peau Beauté experience.

We are also incorporating digital features into the counters and using these features to boost our beauty specialists’ consultation skills. Through the counters, we continue to communicate our radiance philosophy with our core customers.

Clé de Peau Beauté Chief Brand Officer Yukari Suzuki joins Felicity Jones and Clé de Peau Beauté Chief Technology Officer Katsunori Yoshida for a photo opportunity at the brand’s La Crème launch in London

Radiance remastered: The new La Crème is the eighth-generation edition of Clé de Peau Beauté’s most iconic product

Clé de Peau Beauté opened its first UK counter in Harrods in September as you noted. Could you tell us more about your partnership with the retailer? 

Yukari Suzuki: Harrods has such a diverse and international clientele and the response so far has been very positive. Our radiance counter is located in a premium location in the department store’s newly renovated beauty hall.

High-end beauty brands are driving the luxury sector in the UK. Clé de Peau Beauté has an excellent track record in Asia and in the USA for exceeding the expectations of even the most discerning, thanks to their unique formulas, spectacular designs and meticulous attention to quality. We are confident that this hard-earned reputation will convert to success in Europe.

After the UK, we are looking to launch in Italy and Spain next year. It’s a little opportunistic as interest levels in those countries are quite high. Although we are committed to finding the perfect partner to launch our brand.

“As a new market for Clé de Peau Beauté, EMEA travel retail holds a lot of untapped opportunities. The region accounted for 59% of international air travel in 2018, which translates into extensive exposure for the brand; it is also the second largest region after Asia Pacific to be visited by Chinese travellers, who make up the majority of the brand’s customers.” – Shiseido Travel Retail Vice President of Marketing & Innovation Elisabeth Jouguelet 

Clé de Peau Beauté also launched into EMEA travel retail with counters in DXB (Dubai International) and in Istanbul Airport. Why have you chosen these two aviation hubs for your travel retail debut in the region?

Elisabeth Jouguelet: As a new market for Clé de Peau Beauté, EMEA travel retail holds a lot of untapped opportunities. The region accounted for 59% of international air travel in 2018, which translates into extensive exposure for the brand; it is also the second largest region after Asia Pacific to be visited by Chinese travellers, who make up the majority of the brand’s customers.

The Clé de Peau Beauté counter can be found through Dubai Duty Free in Concourse B at DXB. Asian travellers make up 60% of customers at DXB, a key demographic for the brand.

Dubai International is a major gateway to Europe and Asia. Its status as the number one airport worldwide in terms of international traffic volume, with passenger numbers expected to exceed 103 million a year by 2020, made it an attractive location to launch Clé de Peau Beauté. Asian travellers also make up 60% of the skincare customers at Dubai International, and they form a key segment of the brand’s target market.

A travel retail mega-hub: The Clé de Peau Beauté counter with Unifree Duty Free at Istanbul Airport

Istanbul Airport services more than 110 routes and boasts 15,000m2 of shopping space, and upon its completion in 2028, it will be the largest duty-free shopping zone globally. The striking design and world-class facilities, coupled with the growing traveller numbers through the new mega-hub, positioned it as an ideal launch platform for Clé de Peau Beauté into Europe.

Our longstanding partnerships with Dubai Duty Free and Gebr Heinemann also gave us the confidence to launch in these markets. With prime positions in both airports, our focus will be on establishing a strong foothold in these new doors by delivering a top-class retail experience and driving brand awareness, while continuing to explore opportunities to expand in strategic locations across EMEA travel retail.

“Our aim is to leverage Clé de Peau Beauté’s fantastic growth in Asia Pacific travel retail to recruit new customers, as well as build brand awareness in the EMEA region.”

“Opportunities are also being presented by the growing number of Chinese travellers – the driving force behind the brand’s success around the world – visiting or transiting through airports in the EMEA region.” – Elisabeth Jouguelet

What factors led to Clé de Peau Beauté’s launch into EMEA and what do you think are the biggest opportunities for Clé de Peau Beauté in this region?

Elisabeth Jouguelet: The EMEA region is an important piece of the puzzle in our ambition to develop Clé de Peau Beauté into a leading global luxury cosmetics brand by 2023. In the domestic market, the brand’s entry into the UK market with Harrods, reinforces its luxury credentials and enhances the brand’s visibility in the region.

In travel retail, the brand has achieved immense success in Asia Pacific and is seeing dynamic growth in the Americas’ cosmetics market, having achieved a +39.3% growth in the region compared to the market growth of 4.3% – and it is now poised to expand into new territories. With Clé de Peau Beauté launching in EMEA, it is now present in all three of Shiseido Travel Retail’s key regions. Our aim is to leverage Clé de Peau Beauté’s fantastic growth in Asia Pacific travel retail to recruit new customers, as well as build brand awareness in the EMEA region.

Despite being a traditionally fragrance-dominated market, the EMEA region has great potential for the skincare category, especially prestige brands. Skincare contributed 19.5% to 2018 sales in the EMEA travel retail P&C market and grew by +15.1% over 2017 (make-up: +4.4% and fragrance: +3.6%).

This bodes well for Clé de Peau Beauté, which is bolstering its strengths in skincare by renewing its icon and pillar products such as La Crème and The Serum. Also, airports are still the main contributors (86.2%) to EMEA travel retail P&C sales and growth of +5.1% in 2018. Downtown locations, however, saw the biggest growth at +28.9%, underlining the huge potential of this channel in the region.

Opportunities are also being presented by the growing number of Chinese travellers – the driving force behind the brand’s success around the world – visiting or transiting through airports in the EMEA region. Digital is definitely a huge opportunity and a key touchpoint to connect with these travellers, especially pre-trip, and we are actively increasing our investments in digital campaigns to drive our engagements with them.

For Shiseido Travel Retail Vice President of Marketing and Innovations Elisabeth Jouguelet, China and EMEA present huge opportunities for Clé de Peau Beauté

Speaking of digital, what steps is Shiseido Travel Retail taking to embrace an increasingly digital world?

Elisabeth Jouguelet: We believe that good customer service is the key to unlocking future sales potential. To further enhance this area, Shiseido Travel Retail has launched Share STR, a new mobile app that contains e-learning modules that equip beauty consultants with the tools to deliver top-quality customer service and help consumers make informed choices, eventually driving sell-through.

On top of service excellence, we are also focusing on delivering a premium on-counter expression for Clé de Peau Beauté and an exquisite consumer experience to further enhance the productivity of our doors.

A China-first approach: In China, Clé de Peau Beauté has tapped Chinese actress Zhang Zi Yi (Memoirs of a Geisha, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) as its brand ambassador (pictured left)

What are your big priorities for the year ahead?

Elisabeth Jougoulet: Looking forward to 2020, this is a year of icons for Clé de Peau Beauté.  We have a strong marketing calendar that focuses on bringing newness to our iconic products, such as La Crème and our top seller, the Correcting Cream Veil.

We will also continue to drive our China First Approach, focusing on holistic 360-degree digital marketing as well as our door expansion roadmap. A strong focus in travel retail will also be the continued positioning of Clé de Peau Beauté as the brand that offers an unparalleled sense of luxury for all consumers who visit our counters.