Modafirma sat down with Cyril Gombert the founder of Lavandiere de Provence, we spent the day talking about sustainability, beautiful Provence, natural fragrances and what it means to be a truly sustainable brand.
To start, can you first introduce yourselves to our readers who may be hearing about your brand for the first time?
My name is Cyril Gombert, I’m born in Marseille, (capital of Provence). I’m a Nature lover and I have studied biology and nature conservation at university. I really love Provence that I know perfectly. I like to enjoy the simple pleasure of life like we use to do in Provence: Simple pleasures in the everyday life such as enjoying a sun set, a glass of wine on a terrace after work, walking into the Nature as often I can….
What were you doing before you launched Lavandiere De Provence, and what made you want to start a sustainable business within this industry?
I had been working as a director of a Center studying Nature and Sustainability, later I was Vice President of a National Park in Provence and just before creating Lavandière de Provence, I was working as a sustainability consultant for a famous consulting firm set in New-York . In 2015, I have decided to create the brand Lavandière de Provence together with Jeanette Borgtrom as a challenge to prove it’s possible to make a company respectful of the environment and that a new business model (eco-friendly) can work, business model that few companies are believing in, preferring green washing to real sustainable policy. We started with a low impact on environment model (by using a lot of local and natural ingredients, by reusing and recycling everything we were able to to, by having a supply chain as short as possible, by using glass instead of plastic, when possible, by proposing refills to reduce wastes). Our vison is to improve continually improve on green policy and to create a positive impact on environment as an ultimate goal.
Tell us a bit more about your products, and what makes your products different from those on the market?
First, I think the best is to listen to our customers: they are defining Lavandière de Provence like “authentic lux and sustainable brand”.
Second, let’s listen to our marketing company (set in London) and which creates our base line “Natural Provence on the inside, Parisian chic on the outside” : Lavandière de Provence is the only French brand combining the amazing natural scents of Provence with the chic and the elegance of French luxury Parisian brand.
Those differences have been noticed by cosmetics professionals and we have been nominated twice in the Worldwide Cosmoprof Bolgna “Extraordinary Gallery” which is a gathering of a selection of 50 brands (on 2600) having an original concept.
A unique feature of your brand identity is that you specifically reside within the Authentic Luxe market can you tell us a bit more about that?
Authentic luxe means that the quality of the products is evident and that their prices are not disconnecting from their costs: it’s just fair pricing. It’s a return to the origin of luxe. In latin, Lux means “light”, it’s not a question of money, of owning expensive goods, it’s a question, of light. A luxury good brings you an inner light and makes you shine. Then it’s not a about a price, it’s not about an ad, it’s not about a famous ambassador, it’s more personal, it’s between the values you share with the product or the brand, it’s about a scarcity and ultimately it means it will not be like the other ones.
What does sustainability mean for you? What sustainable values does Lavandiere De Provence exemplify.
I really believe in sustainability, I have been working as sustainability advisor for a while, and most of time my clients were considering sustainability like a commercial argument and like “costs and constraints”. It’s not my vision, for me sustainability is the future and I consider it like an investment and opportunity. I’m not afraid about that, it’s just a question of opening the mind to create new businesses models integrating Nature and Human protection. As a biologist, I use to catch inspirations from Nature organisation (ecosystems, cycles of matter, properties of natural ingredients….). It works and it has been improving for billions of years for those of you who do not believe in God, it’s a perfect model created by God for the believers.
Lp is producing thanks to a local ecosystem made of factories located around Marseille (150 km), then limiting transportations and climate impacts. Lp is reusing 90 % ot palettes and boxes from supply chains. Lp is using glass packaging and proposed refills when possible. Lp is using local and natural ingredients famous for their properties for skin (olive oil, essential oils, honey, ….).
Tell us a bit more about the choice of natural ingredients and fragrances used in your products. What inspired their selection?
First, we have chosen local and natural fragrances from Provence to reduce our footprint on environment. Provence is an hotspot of biodiversity, which means we have 10 times more species than elsewhere in an average place in the world. Then Nature is offering us a large choice of ingredients. We selected them for their natural properties for the skin (moisturizing, healing, soothing, cleansing), and for the pleasure given by the amazing natural and simple scents. Actually, today Lp is proposing 4 different collections made of 4 different natural scents
– Lavender (Luberon collection)
– Honey (Sainte Victoire Collection)
– Olive (Alpilles Collection)
– Citrus (Côte d’Azur Collection).
Each collection is named after a famous natural site of Provence, known for the production of the scent : For example, in Provence, Lavander is raised in the area called Luberon, then all the products scented with lavender are gathered in Luberon Collection.
Being an entrepreneur, it can be difficult when starting off, if you could go back and tell yourself one thing about starting a business, what would it be?
Starting a business is an adventure. The first step is to accept to get out from the confort zone you have when you are employee. For me it’s not so hard since I like to discover new worlds, I need new challenges to feel alive. Starting a company is like deciding to have kids, it changes deeply your life for the best and worst, for today and for tomorrow. It makes you feel alive and proud. Sometimes it takes energy, some times it gives energy.
But starting a company is an opportunity to get free, to make your choices, to choose your partners, to achieve your dreams
To learn more please follow us on Instagram @lavandieredeprovence