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Wednesday, December 13, 2017Portraits

Green is the new black


It is no longer a secret: consumption patterns are changing. Organic, natural, or vegan products are now an integral part of our daily lives, including cosmetics. And as the organic beauty offering is still not as attractive as that of conventional cosmetics, Aurélie Chavas, founder of Détox&Moi, launched her own natural product e-shop to give the sector a well-deserved importance.

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Between cosmetics and Aurélie Chavas, it is almost an original love story. As a little girl with a humble background, she recalls having stars in her eyes when she visited the great Parisian department stores with her aunt. She immediately associated beauty and pleasure.
When she got her baccalauréat diploma, she got down to preparing tests to enter an engineering school. After a few classes, where she met the man of her life (and future father of her two children), she decided to branch off into the prestigious HEC business school, better adapted to her career plans.

When she started her business studies, Aurélie Chavas only had one idea in mind: working in the field of cosmetics for the L’Oréal group. Why? She still does not really know. But one thing is for sure, she did everything she could to make it.
She got her degree and immediately had two experiences as a store manager for By Terry and L’Occitane en Provence.
Aurélie Chavas was contacted by L’Oréal to work as a Merchandising Project Manager for the group’s luxury entities.
After a few years, she was seduced by an offer made by Yves Rocher. ‘I was offered to take part in the redefinition of their identity and brand concept – the type of opportunity you cannot refuse,’ she explains.
But if the experience was exciting, it was not enough to make her stay. She briefly worked for Sephora to develop the customer experience, but she eventually went back to L’Oréal. You never forget your first love.

All her experiences in cosmetics, in such diverse groups, confirmed that as time went by, the green and natural trend was gaining ground. She started using these products herself. ‘Something was triggered off in my mind six years ago, when Antoine was born. I paid attention to what he ate and the skincare products I used for him, and I started changing my personal consumption habits,’ she tells.
An allergy to methylisothiazolinone was the last argument that convinced Aurélie Chavas to totally give up conventional cosmetics, but her intellectual journey did not stop there. ‘With all these food allergies and intolerances issues with so-called safe products, I thought it was an emergency to act and offer consumers something else. But how?’ she wondered.

It was during a professional trip to Los Angeles, CA, that Aurélie Chavas had the ultimate revelation. She realized there were plenty of vegan and organic concepts offering selections of natural products with a modern, glamorous positioning. She explains ‘she does not mean to criticize companies like Naturalia or Bio C Bon, because they offer nice cosmetics selections, but it remains a supermarket experience. Customers need comfort.’

You got it: Aurélie Chavas is always on the move and does not hesitate to regularly change positions. Loyal to herself, following her trip to the US, she decided to leave L’Oréal and become her own boss.
It all started in July 2017. She started working on her own website to launch it quickly. ‘I had no other choice but to go fast. I saw all these brands starting to develop vegan and organic products. If I did not act immediately, I was likely to be overpowered by a mightier player with more means. I needed to be the first to offer cosmetics sold in other countries that were both healthy and luxurious,’ she details.
Brands, most of them foreign, were contacted upstream by Aurélie Chavas. Seduced by her concept, they accepted to be distributed on her website – a golden opportunity to penetrate the French market.
The selection is drastic to have a chance to join the Détox&Moi group. The ingredient composition is closely examined, and then the products are tested by the founder herself.

Customer experience revival

The website was officially launched in September 2017. Aurélie Chavas knows she cannot afford to make any mistake, and especially that she will have no other chance to make a good impression on consumers.
That is why she has decided to have a logistics centre to store her products and implemented a well-defined process for parcel dispatch.
Every customer receives a neat parcel of products wrapped in nice recyclable silk paper, with a gift and a word of thanks signed by the founder’s hand, printed on a card that can then be planted (to get pretty poppies in your living room!).
This involves considerable costs, but Aurélie Chavas does not regret anything, quite the contrary, because it is a way of ensuring the community’s trust and then being recommended. The customer is king, the shopping experience should be optimum.

She is also very active on social networks. She often stages herself to talk with her own community. This way, she shows there is actually someone behind the online store. ‘It is important to show I know the products I distribute. These are brands I use for myself and my family on a daily basis. On the website, you can also find a blog with posts. I hope Détox&Moi will become more than an e-shop, a real concept, an invitation to care and wellness,’ she reveals.

The virtual world is a good thing, but real life is better. So, to be as close as possible to her followers and customers, Aurélie Chavas regularly organizes beauty-drinks in different cities across France – an opportunity for the community to test products, have a good time, and especially discover who lies behind the online sales area .She explains ‘how important it is to show yourself. People need embodiment and human contact, simply.’

For now, it is only the very beginnings of her website, but she is already in the major league. After only three months, she already counts loyal customers, more than 1,000 followers on social media, and she was rewarded at the CEW in the Achiever Award category. Her future projects include Christmas preparations, the arrival of new brands on the e-shop as soon as January, and the preparation of a box in collaboration with a blogger next spring.
Aurélie Chavas pursues her own chosen course, leaving the trail of a non-polluting rocket!


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