The visit was initiated by the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute and the Industry, Trade and Labor's commercial attaché in France.
Sephora, owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), already markets the products of Israeli companies AHAVA, ICG, La Tweez and Mineral Flower, and is interested in including additional Israeli products in the variety displayed on its shelves.
Patrice Brosson, Sephora's vice president and chief merchant in France, and Stephanie Sheperis, exclusive brand sourcing manager, will meet with some 15 Israeli companies that offer products in the makeup, perfume, nail care and cosmetic accessories areas.
Sephora buyers are interested in Israeli companies with innovative products, both in terms of raw materials and production technologies. The companies the chain's representatives will meet with include Chic Cosmetic Industries, Viola Pharma, Michel Mercier, Kamedis, B4U, CTS, Moraz, Minus 417, Nature Scent and Ein Gedi Cosmetics.
At the moment, it seems the chain has no plans to open stores in Israel.
Goal: Marketing Israeli cosmetics abroad
According to a Sephora presentation sent to the Export Institute, the chain operates 269 stores in France and more than 1,400 stores in 27 countries, including China, Canada, the US and many European countries. In the US alone it has more than 250 stores, and another 200 stores within JCPenny branches.
In 2009 Sephora's sales totaled some €1 billion (about $1.42 billion), and despite the global financial crisis, the chain's sales were up 60% in the past five years. The company's name is a combination of Zipporah, the wife of Moses in the Book of Exodus, and the term "sephos" which means beauty in ancient Greek.
"For the Israeli exporter, entering a chain like Sephora means high positioning and a significant business card when marketing abroad," says Avi Hefetz, CEO of the Export Institute.
According to Dafna Sternfeld, director of the institute's consumer goods division, "The Israeli companies in this field use raw materials which are unique to Israel, like minerals from the Dead Sea and Israeli plants, thus addressing global trends such as organic and natural products. The Israeli companies are also characterized by flexibility, which allows providing service to a wide variety of customers both with finished products and under a private brand."
Ronen Katz, the commercial attaché in France, said the arrival of Sephora's senior representatives was part of the Foreign Trade Administration's efforts to promote the Israeli cosmetics industry and integrate it into international markets.
According to Export Institute figures, some 100 cosmetics companies which export their products abroad are active in Israel. The cosmetics and perfume industry's exports generated some $485 million in 2010 – a 16% rise compared to 2009, in which exports totaled some $417 million.
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