Founded in Limoges in 1970 and currently based in Paris, Sephora is owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH since 1997. The French multinational company retails nearly three thousand brands, astride with its own private label, including cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, nail paint, haircare and beauty tools.
French multinational retailer Sephora has transformed the way women shop for personal care and cosmetics, giving the traditional department store counter solid competition. Founded in 1970 by Dominique Mandonnaud and acquired by Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy in 1977, beauty emporium Sephora is acclaimed for its carefully curated niche and classic brands.
Sephora’s ascent has a lot to do with Mandonnaud’s business acumen and approach to merchandising. The ‘assisted self-service’ experience encouraging consumers to test products before purchase has evolved Sephora into a powerful global brand. And, with wall-to-wall lipsticks, lotions, highlighters, perfumes—what’s not to love? Before Sephora, the standard operation model was of products locked in cases! Of course, considerable credit also goes to its continually evolving offering including prolific brands like NARS, Make Up For Ever, Urban Decay, Lancôme, Jo Malone London, YSL Beauty, Huda Beauty and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics among others; niche brands like Bare Essentials, Benefit and vegan make-up Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics; and its own line of make-up, skincare and beauty tools. What reels shoppers back? Color IQ — Sephora and Pantone Universe’s foundation-matching technology that allows each shopper to find the right foundation for her skin tone. And, with travel being an intrinsic part of our lifestyle, Sephora has a section for travel-compliant minis, Beauty on the Fly.
Since the acquisition, LVMH invested substantially in Sephora and expanded the beauty retain chain worldwide. Shortly, Sephora collaborated with Marc Jacobs to launch a colour cosmetics collection ‘Marc Jacobs Beauty,’ creating new synergies within LVMH, which owns both companies. On 1 January 2014, Calvin McDonald replaced David Suliteanu as President and CEO of Sephora Americas. Sephora opened its first United States store in New York in 1998, its first Canadian store in Toronto in 2004 and the first Australian Sephora store in 2014. Its North American headquarters is in New York, with corporate offices in San Francisco and Montréal. Today, the real chain operates over 2,700 stores worldwide.
In 2020, Martin Brok succeeded Chris de Lapuente as President and CEO of Sephora. Its philanthropic arm, Sephora Stands, is doing a lot to make the beauty space more inclusive and diverse by supporting women-owned brands with its beauty incubator Accelerate, offering Classes For Confidence to teach makeup application to cancer patients and the transgender community, and developing a support network for employees suffering from domestic violence. Post- pandemic, Sephora has a strong presence on the Internet. There are special offers that make online shopping rewarding. Throughout 2020, the retail chain announced strategic partnerships to increase the ways clients can shop with ease, including collaborations with global payment and shopping provider Klarna, Instacart, and the concept Reserve Online, Pick Up In Store on its app and portal. So is it a wonder that Women’s Wear Daily named Sephora specialty retailer of the year?
“We believe beauty is for each person to define and ours to celebrate. Together, we support and encourage bold choices in beauty—and in life. Our purpose is to inspire fearlessness.”
I worked with Condenast India as Digital Editor, and launched Vogue India’s website in terms of design, layout, technology and daily content. Four years later, I turned entrepreneur and launched my own luxury portal www.explosivefashion.in. Perhaps it’s my hard work, passion and exclusive content that’s placed Explosive Fashion at the forefront of luxury: reporting from fashion weeks, collaborating with luxury brands, meeting royal families to present their legacy and vision, championing talent in fashion and hospitality, reviewing hotels and restaurants, and more. My editorial is described as a storyteller—the story is about the person behind the brand.