A new launch is looking to capitalize on two big trends: quiet luxury and French pharmacy.
“I like to say Le Balm is kind of the ‘quiet luxury’ of the beauty world,” said Dr. Natacha Bonjout, a French pharmacist-turned-skin care founder whose namesake brand launched last month with one product: Le Balm.
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Similar to the quiet luxury trend that has been sweeping social media, Bonjout Beauty was built on the premise of high-quality minimalism. The brand’s debut stock keeping unit, Le Balm, is a waterless “solid serum” formulated with more than 60 active ingredients, including peptides, prickly pear native stem cells, vitamin C, squalane and ceramide NP.
“The role of French pharmacists in French culture is very important; I’m ready to bring that authority to the U.S.,” Bonjout said.
Le Balm boasts skin barrier-repairing and antiaging claims, and aims to cater to consumers of all ages and skin types. Retailing for $120, the clinically tested offering aims to simplify one’s skin care regimen by multitasking as a moisturizer, serum, lip salve and under-eye cream.
“Each active that I added to the formula is included at its highest concentration recommended by the lab,” said Bonjout, who relocated from France to the U.S. in 2010, and has completed stints at beauty supplier Fareva’s Chromavis division and Givaudan-owned Naturex.
“I felt there was this opportunity for me to create a brand based on the science and research of French pharmacists; I had this knowledge of the active ingredients and formulation, but also understood the business perspective from working on the manufacturing side,” Bonjout said.
The founder’s vision appears to be resonating. Since launching mid-May, Bonjout Beauty has done more than $50,000 in direct-to-consumer sales, and the brand estimates it could reach $1 million in sales during its first year on the market.
“Our priority for the next year is to develop word of mouth around Le Balm,” Bonjout said, adding the brand’s next product, a nourishing cream, will drop in 2024.
“We’re focusing on one product at a time — we want people to consume less, but consume better,” she said.
The brand participated in the French Institute Alliance Française’s New York wellness and beauty pop-up last month, and plans for additional New York and New Jersey pop-ups are in the works.
“[Pop-ups] weren’t in the business plan, but being a direct-to-consumer brand, it’s hard to see who your customer is. We want to host pop-ups as a way to have that direct contact with our consumer, allow them to try the product, ask me questions and start relationship-building,” Bonjout said.
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