Retail in Asia


Celebrating Earth Day with an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Melvita Global GM

A pioneer in organic beauty care, Melvita is one of France’s leading ecological and organic beauty brands. The company was founded in 1983 by biologist Bernard Chevilliat on a farm in Ardèche, France.  Melvita was one of the first brands to be granted the Ecocert label for certified organic health and beauty products in France, in 2002. The brand, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year, also has a strong presence in the APAC region.


To celebrate Earth Day, Retail in Asia had the pleasure to interview Nathaëlle Davoust, Melvita’s Global GM. Together we discussed the brand development in Asia Pacific, greenwashing, the company’s omnichannel strategy and future plans.

RiA: Melvita is a French organic beauty brand that was launched in 1983. Can you walk us through the development of Melvita in the APAC region over the years?

Nathaëlle: The adventure started in Hong Kong in 2009, and quickly continued in Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia in 2011. We found tremendous success at the very beginning with our firming body line “L’Or Rose”, at a time when sensorial body care was still exceptional and during the very early stages of health and nature-conscious consumption in APAC. 

Japan has contributed to the growth of the brand, in terms of sales but also in terms of product development: our face cleansers “Bouquet Floral” were such a hit in Japan that we decided to sell them in Europe; our first global best-seller was our brightening line “Nectar Bright”, that won so many awards in Japan that we are now preparing an even more innovative version for all markets, including Europe, next year.   

Our most recent opening was China, in 2015.  We have been developing our Digital and Wholesale distribution there, starting with Sephora, anchored around beauty oils and body care best-sellers (our Rosehip roll-on ranks in the top 10 on T-Mall and boasts over 350 KOL posts on Red, with 14 million viewers). 

Source: Melvita

RiA: Sustainability has become a must for beauty brands however there is a lot of greenwashing in the industry. What does it mean to be a clean beauty brand and how does that translate into your brand vision and mission as well as your operations?

Nathaëlle: The best prevention against greenwashing is certification! Our products comply with the strict French COSMEBIO charter, European COSMOS ORGANIC charter and they are certified with ECOCERT. All our products are formulated with plant oils and floral waters, and our standards are even higher than expected from these charters: most of our formulas contain 99 to 100% natural ingredients (the minimum for Cosmos Organic certification is 95%). All our fragrance also comes from natural origin. 

Around these formulas, everything we do, from sourcing to the final product, is thoroughly studied to avoid any negative impact: our ingredients are fully traceable and handpicked within the guidelines of a “Sustainable picking charter” that ensures our consumption does not harm the environment; our packs are eco-conceived and we are in a loop of continuous improvement in our industrial processes.

At the heart of our brand, we have exceptional R&D and production teams in France who thrive to extract the best of nature, in the gentlest way possible, and deploy it into cutting-edge formulas. This is Melvita: pleasure and efficiency, with no compromise on people and ecosystem’s health. 

RiA: What is Melvita’s current footprint in the APAC region? What’s your most dynamic market in APAC today? And why would you say it is so.

Nathaëlle: Japan is today our largest market. We have 24 stores, and our online sales are booming. The main reasons are a high brand awareness, with 11 years of presence; the capacity of our local team to renew the brand with original partnerships (like Moomin for last year’s Holiday for example); our expertise of Asian skin and of course the clients’ growing demand for respectful, safe and sustainable products. 

Source: Melvita

RiA: What are Melvita’s best-selling products for each of the APAC markets you are operating in? 

Nathaëlle: Our best-sellers are the same worldwide: on one side, our historical “raw” products (Argan oil and Rose Floral water that both come from certified Fair-Trade partnerships) and more recently, our more sophisticated formulas, our anti-ageing cream, Argan Bio Active Intensive Lifting Cream, that became #1 in sales the year of its launch. 

Source: Melvita

RiA: Can you tell us more about Melvita’s consumer profile in the region? 

Nathaëlle: We have two typical clients. Young clients who are beginning to use skincare and are looking for natural and planet-conscious solutions (they would start with our Rose Floral water or our Source de Roses hydrating and plumping line); and more mature women who are looking for efficient skincare and body care with no harmful components. 

RiA: Have you noticed a shift in beauty consumption during the pandemic?

Nathaëlle: Absolutely! The pandemic has boosted a slow, healthy, organic lifestyle (starting with food but of course expanding to well-being and cosmetics in general). People have become more aware of their consumption, their impact on the planet but also their own responsibility to protect their health. Our digital sales have almost doubled at the peak of Covid in France. This is true of products that clients purchase for themselves, but also for gifting: we launched a Baby Line earlier this year and it became out of stock very quickly: safety and gentleness have become paramount for young mothers; and giving the gift of health became a trend! 

RiA: The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation and the implementation of omnichannel strategies. How has Melvita’s eCommerce ecosystem evolved in the region? What’s your current omnichannel strategy?

Nathaëlle: We have always had our own website in all markets with a share of business that is typically higher than market. The pandemic pushed us to develop more social selling (on Line, or Whatsapp for example). Today we are also working on upgrading our online storytelling and creating a community with our clients (the #MelvitaLovers around the world). We are a versatile brand, sold in Retail but also in brick-and-mortar Wholesale, so for us, Digital is the opportunity to meet directly with our clients and work with them on tomorrow’s products and solutions for a healthier planet. 

RiA: Melvita is committed to supporting biodiversity. Can you elaborate on the projects focused on biodiversity and bee protection? Is there anything specific to the APAC region?

Nathaëlle: Since 2010, through the Melvita Foundation, we have supported over 80 projects to protect biodiversity, promote beekeeping, and save bees. We also took an agroecological and people-centric approach, promoting our producers’ social advancement. In 2020, we joined forces with France Nature Environnement to raise awareness among farmers about the importance of accelerating the withdrawal of pesticides. In 2021, we partnered with the GoodPlanet Foundation (and Yann Arthus-Bertrand) to support projects focused on the transition to agroecology and agroforestry, for higher soil regeneration. Today, preserving biodiversity has never been so essential, therefore we are taking these actions to the next level: we are developing for our 40th anniversary in 2023, a committed campaign with an international artist and environmental partners to protect endangered species.

SEE ALSO: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Winnie Ma, President, APAC Region, VF Corporation

RiA: What’s next for Melvita in the APAC region and globally?

Nathaëlle: We have just kicked-off the launch of our Source de Roses hydrating line in France with a great campaign in the streets and subway of Paris and are now gearing up to launch it in other Europe and APAC markets. We are working on a brand relaunch, with a younger look, more daring communication platform and even greener packaging. In parallel, we continue to expand in Europe and APAC, with the support of our L’Occitane Group affiliates or through distributors. 

Source: Melvita