L'Occitane opens start-up studio

Cosmetics brand L’Occitane has announced the opening of Obratori, a start-up studio in France that it hopes will drive innovation within the group.

Located at Cité de l'Innovation et des Savoirs Aix-Marseille (CISAM) in the southern city of Marseille, the new hub is looking to welcome start-ups in both the cosmetics and digital worlds to explore new ways of doing business and fresh product ideas.

Companies sought will be at an early stage of their growth and will require technical, financial, commercial, marketing or other support to bring their ideas to fruition. Those running Obratori are keen to incubate this mix of manufacturer and retail technology expertise because the aim is to explore the possibility of creating new concepts, ideas, products, services and brands.

The selected 12 start-ups will follow a support programme lasting a maximum of 23 months, and will gain access to an adapted work space, support from L’Occitane’s internal resources and associated experts.  

Reinold Geiger, CEO of the L'Occitane Group, which operates the brands L’Occitane en Provence, Melvita, Erborian, L’Occitane au Brésil, and LimeLife by Alcone, said the company “has always been keen to initiate entrepreneurship and perpetual renewal”.

"The creation of start-ups around the world is an economic revolution whose consequences will be seen very quickly, they have become the most important actors in the entrepreneurial system,” he added.

Ingo Dauer, general manager at Obratori, commented: "These are tailor-made programmes.

“A start-up may need research expertise, marketing expertise, international visibility.”

The studio is open to French companies and international start-ups based in Marseille.

L’Occitane is currently building a new website in partnership with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and last year it opened flagship stores in Toronto, London and Paris. The London shop, located on Regent Street, is the brand’s largest store to date, at 6,450 sq ft.