What a juicy market than organic cosmetics, with its 30% annual growth. Globally, 7.7 billion euros in turnover delight the giants of the sector. Giants facing whom small businesses sometimes find it difficult to find a place. "I often feel like a little reed in front of big baobabs", says Julie Ducret, founder of Pulpe de vie.
A reed that has its own recipe for not bending. A brand with colors as acidulous as the slice of grapefruit which serves as its logo, a relaxed discourse which targets women from 20 to 35 years and above all, as raw material, organic fruits and vegetables too "ugly" for stalls store and whose fate is often none other than ending up in the bottom of a trash can. "We are the only ones who push the anti-waste slider this far", says Julie Ducret.
Outsource for more agility
These ugly fruits are grown by around twenty organic producers, "in the Provence-Alpes Côte d'Azur region for the most part, but also in Brittany". The purchases are made by a service company based in Sisteron."They manage purchases and carry out the first product transformations"The oils and other macerates are then assembled in a factory in Fare-les-Oliviers, also as a subcontractor."We outsource everything. This allows us not to have too many fixed loads and to be more agile".
This is how Pulpe de vie relies on a sales force to distribute its products in supermarkets. Present for several years at Carrefour, Auchan, Leclerc, Franprix and Système U, it has just established itself at Monoprix after five years of effort. "It is clearly our target. A bit boho, urban, downtown". In exchange, the Provencal TPE will guarantee the brand previews and exclusives.
This objective being achieved, she wants to take a new course. "From 2020, we want to be present in pharmacies". 150 at first. Then why not go back to the specialized stores with which she stopped working four years ago."Before, they refused to sell products available in supermarkets, but this is changing".
New markets that can make the activity grow, especially as the ambitions are greedy. With 1.5 million euros in turnover in 2019, Pulpe de vie hopes to reach the 5 million mark within two years. An objective based on two main pillars.
Export and digital
"Until then, we have focused on France. Now we would like to export. We're hitting on the American market. We await the return of a large retailer". The website will also be a sales vector thanks to its next English translation.
The second pillar is digital, thanks to which the company currently generates 10% of its turnover. "Digital creates a snowball effect. In this area, the more you get bigger, the faster you get bigger". And to rely on it for social networks and influencers.
To build loyalty and to count, you also have to innovate. "In recent years, we have greatly accelerated our pace of innovation". So, while Pulpe de vie initially offered only facial care, it expanded its range of hygiene products, a choice linked to its positioning in supermarkets."When you go to Carrefour or Auchan, you make a lot of hygiene purchases. Toothpaste is a market of 600 million euros in mass distribution". A market that does not shine with its aesthetics."So we proposed a very girly packaging, without harmful substances. It worked very well. Toothpaste is our blockbuster". In 2020, Pulpe de vie wants to launch a hair range as well as body milk."Which will make us 40 products. We will then have to calm down. We are not intended to have hundreds of references".
Committing to the environment
But if export, digital and innovation can fuel demand, we must also ask ourselves the question of supply, a question all the more sensitive in the niche of anti-waste. Because it is indeed a question of recovering surpluses, without impacting food consumption and without asking for more from soils that are already in high demand. "When we started ten years ago, there was always overproduction for organic. Now, this is much less the case". And to consider, eventually"to turn to unsold items from Biocoop and Naturalia power plants".
And who says sell more also says pack more. A primordial subject for Julie Ducret. "In 2020 we will switch to recycled cardboard"The containers for his future shampoos will be made from recycled milk bottles."Then we will gradually reduce the box"Because if the entrepreneur is hired personally for ecology, she would like"rally the wagons with the company"But no way to do it"the little extra initiative. It has to be powerful". The shape is under study. What is certain is that the brand with the grapefruit slice intends to be heard.