Soin de Soi Cosmetics--Interview with Marion Teuliere, co-founder, on their commitment to producing organic, artisanal cosmetics & the importance of taking "soin de soi" (care of oneself).
During my last visit to Bordeaux, I was able to discover a brand of natural, organic products, respectful of its local ecosystem: Soin de Soi, which offers wonderful treatments ranging from facials to massages in beautiful and inspiring spaces both in Gradignan and downtown Bordeaux.
Marion, one of Soin de Soi co-founders, talked to Blisshood about their commitment to make organic beauty products using only the best raw materials, about the company values and the importance of taking care of one self, particularly as moms.
Blisshood: You are one of the few French brands that was rewarded with the “slow beauty” (slow cosmétique) label, what does this mean?
Marion: In fact, it is a label that rewards the use of natural raw materials, the fact of not using chemical and harmful preservatives, the fact of manufacturing in pleasant working conditions for employees, as well as communicating and doing marketing in a transparent way.
We are direct distributors and we have no extra stock, so we do not have seasonal sales. Actually, sales are for brands that overproduce and most get rid of all the surplus. In our case, we manufacture as and when required, therefore, it might actually happen the opposite-that we run low on stocks.
Our economic model is based on the fact that we keep all the distribution at home because the cost of raw materials are not the same as in the case of conventional cosmetics. Therefore, the idea is to limit intermediaries and to not have re-sellers. So, we do want to grow but little by little in order to control our growth and to ensure that we always keep the same DNA and that we are able to control the production, for us this is really important. So, all the choices we make take into the fact that we cannot simply go from ten thousand units to a million units overnight because it is not possible for us. The idea is not to conquer the whole world and to distribute everywhere.
Our cosmetics are distributed in the spa, in our shop in Bordeaux and on our website.
Blisshood: So, there is also an aspect of regional pride? Meaning, to make the Bordeaux region shine?
Marion: Yes, because we have our savoir faire .I think it's important for every local actor to support their economy.
Blisshood: Sometimes, it seems that Paris is the center of the world when it comes to France and I appreciate the fact that Bordeaux is also rising in notoriety by offering natural beauty products.
Marion: It is true that when it comes to cosmetics there are many things based in Paris. However, when I travel, I like it is to discover the uniqueness of each place and I think it is a pity how trendy it became for certain companies to feel like they must conquer market shares and they start to forget about life/work balance and the respect of local knowledge. Today if you export and conquer everything is to the detriment of small local actors who have been doing this job for years. We created Soin de Soi using our own resources, we do not have external investors. We want a profitable company to pay our producers, our collaborators, and most importantly, to have a positive impact on our ecosystem.
People buy our products for multiple reasons, because they are natural, because they find them pretty, because they smell good, because there are real people behind the brand…
Blisshood: For me, as a client, I loved this “cocooning” experience at the boutique, the artisanal aspect and all the beauty surrounding the space, it’s very feminine and you can’t help but feel good.
Marion: We privilege simplicity in what we do and the desire to actually have this products in your home. You can make natural beauty products but we wanted to go all the way through with it: to have containers made out of glass so that they can be recycled and to avoid the transfer of essential oils on the packaging…it is good to have great quality products but it is also nice when they are beautiful. When you do something beautiful, it changes your everyday life.
Blisshood: How did you conceive the Soin de Soi experience: the spa and more recently, the boutique?
Marion: The customer is at the center of what we do. The boutique in Bordeaux is designed as an apartment whereas the spa in Gradignan is designed like a home.
When a customer enters the spa or the boutique, we welcome her or him with a smile and as if it was a member of the family. For us, it is very important to establish and keep an authentic connection with our customers. When you come in to have a treatment such as massage done, it is a very intimate experience: you need to remove your clothes and have someone massage your body, there has to be a certain level of trust with the staff members. We want people to have a good feeling from the moment they enter, during their treatment and when they leave.
In fact, the company values are kindness-towards our clients and to each of our team members, respect—respect of our clients, respect of the product ingredients, respect of the planet, also professionalism—our girls are very well trained to offer a great treatment and also, getting along, we do all we can to make sure there is a positive work environment, and finally trust—we want to make sure we establish trust between the client and our staff as well as between the members of our team.
Plus, each client is unique and we adapt our treatments to personalize them to their needs and lifestyle. Our clients are very loyal because they really enjoy their experience. If they feel good in our Soin de Soi spaces, they will most likely want to prolong this experience at home and continue to take care of themselves.
Blisshood: What does it mean for you to “prendre soin de soi”, to take care of one self?
Marion: For me, taking care of yourself is global. In the case of cosmetics, it is about taking better care of yourself but with less, taking care of your skin by putting pure cosmetics but necessarily putting a lot on. Usually it's marketing that says that you need the eye contour cream plus the winter cream plus the night cream plus the “this and that” mask. What we try to teach our customers is to learn to listen to their skin.
Blisshood: So, to go back to basics?
Marion: Yes, to go back to the basics, to put on less things but of better quality: good skin cleansing and good hydration- you do not need have forty products in your bathroom to take care of yourself.
It's good to clean your skin: remove the makeup, wash it ,moisturize it, and from time to time to exfoliate and to nourish it…those are the basics.
Also, taking care of yourself for me has to do with what we eat, what we do, what we think - having a positive mindset changes everything - also the people you meet. I am a strong believer in manual work and creating things on your own, to take your time. We are in a society that goes increasingly faster: the phones, the cars, etc. So, we do multiple things but we do not really take our time to cook, to relax, to go for a walk, to really observe…it is making a comeback, but we forgot to do this for awhile.
I think that once you become a mom, your life takes a different rhythm, you have other people to take care of and thus, you must not forget to also take care of yourself in order to also take care of others. There has to be a balance. If you’re not doing well yourself, there is sort of a boomerang effect. So, that is what I meant earlier, by saying that taking care of yourself is global. That is why we organize the Maison Bleu (see video below) : to help others meet the people that we love: our florist, our illustrator, our staff, our naturopath, our yoga teacher…This event also allows us to show others how to take time to take care of yourself. Once you cross the door, we cook, we do several activities together, we do yoga, we do a spa therapy and thus, we take care of ourselves and we take the time to reconnect.
Before, women had more opportunities to spend time with others. For example, they would all sit around a big table to prepare a meal and they would talk, we don’t really do that any more. We cook something really fast and we have very few occasions to have informal discussions as a community.
When you work, usually you just want to get home and go to bed, sort of “métro, boulot, dodo”, and to have moments like the ones at la Maison Bleu, is a breath of fresh air…you meet others and make real connections and I find that even more powerful than having a treatment done. A massage feels good but meeting other great people also feels great…all these little moments are very important.
The Boutique Soin de Soi
Address: 3 bis Rue de la Vieille Tour, 33000 Bordeaux
Telephone: 05 57 60 14 56
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday from 9h00 to 19h30.
The Maison & Spa Soin de Soi
Address: 191 cours du Général de Gaulle - 33 170 Gradignan
Telephone: 05 56 75 20 56
Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9h to 20h.
Tuesday and Thursday from 9h to 21h and Saturday from 9h to 19h.