What’s the family history of PHYTOMER?
We’re a third generation skincare company based in St Malo in Brittany, France. Over 40 years ago, our founder Jean Gédouin began a hands-on scientific study into the benefits of seawater and different seaweeds on the skin. He was inspired by the effect on his own health, and set out to introduce city dwellers, notably Parisians, to the remarkable benefits of the sea’s trace elements and minerals. From there, the PHYTOMER story and range has grown globally, with the subsequent involvement of Jean’s son Antoine, and Antoine’s daughter Mathilde, who still run the company.
What’s special about your products?
We use all-natural ingredients and develop them using natural, non-chemical processes to create highly results-driven products. In particular the products that we’ve developed in the past three years truly represent the cutting edge of skincare.
Our foundation is the unique marine habitat here in Brittany, and the diverse ecosystem of seaweed, algae and sea micro-organisms that form the basis of our ingredients. The mineral properties of seawater are very similar to the mineral levels in our blood, so there’s a degree of bio-mimicry at play that has very exciting implications for the future of skincare.
The real alchemy happens in our extensive R&D laboratories where we’ve successfully isolated molecules from the marine environment and applied them to modern skincare requirements. To give an example, a species of seaweed called Armeria maritima is found thriving in abandoned industrial sites on the coast, and it appears that it has a clear function to eliminate pollution. We isolated this molecule and used it very successfully to the same effect in our products.
Can you explain the key processes in your marine biotechnology?
PHYTOMER made a real breakthrough in the use of marine biotechnology by using micro-organisms extracted from the sea to produce unique marine sugars. This involves a very complex process in a sophisticated large-scale laboratory, where the optimum conditions we create enable the harvested micro-organisms to grow and produce a biofilm.
The biofilm produced is a complex chain of sugars called exopolysaccharides (EPS). EPS cannot be artificially copied by traditional cosmetics, they are eco-friendly and provide an almost infinite number of possibilities for new skincare applications.
The PHYTOMER research team has identified 800 micro-organisms that can each produce a unique marine sugar, and patented 30 of those for future developments. For example, our XMF marine sugar (Extra Marine Filler) is the star ingredient of PHYTOMER’S PIONNIÈRE XMF premium range. It visibly smoothes wrinkles in one hour, and once absorbed by the skin, it reinforces the firmness and density of skin layers.
What are some of your most popular products, and what’s new for 2015?
We first launched PIONNIÈRE XMF in 2012 and it’s expanded to become by far our best-selling range.
Given its amazing success, we decided this year to add to the range with our PIONNIÈRE XMF WHITE – a biotech anti-ageing cream with the power to target hyper-pigmentation and erase all visible discolouration. It includes two exclusive marine sugars: XMF, and WHITECH, a UV and anti-pollution shield that ensures optimum control of the production and transfer of melanin.
With a ‘second skin’ texture, enriched with golden pearls, PIONNIÈRE XMF WHITE envelops the face in a halo of light and leaves a matte, velvety finish on the skin for a ‘photo-finish’ effect. The skin appears transparent and refreshed, with a subtle scent of jasmine and citrus.
Why should spa businesses partner with PHYTOMER?
We see ourselves as the new frontier of professional skincare, as we innovate in all the key areas that are relevant to developing a successful spa in today’s competitive market.
PHYTOMER is one of the only laboratories in the world that perfectly masters marine biotechnology to produce unprecedented natural ingredients with record effectiveness. We entirely control the manufacturing process, and aim at limiting our impact on the environment. The results are outstanding products using an eco-friendly method. It’s the future of manufacturing and we have long been a leader in this area.
Our brand is also renowned for its strong focus on business, and increasing our partners’ profit is a constant priority for us. Our treatments are cutting edge, but they are typically 20-100 per cent less expensive than those of our competitors.
Finally PHYTOMER has been investing heavily in the digital field and deploying an ambitious digital strategy to enhance the brand’s visibility online, and help drive business to our partners’ facilities. For example our web-to-store application allows customers to reserve products on our website, and they are then directed to their local PHYTOMER retailer for pick-up.
For our partners, we offer a highly developed range of on-line training applications as well as our specialised, hands-on assistance.
How do you plan to further develop the PHYTOMER brand?
Our strategy is focused on three core areas. The first is our continued investment in innovation to increase performance: biotechnology, enzymatic synthesis and green manufacturing.
The second area relates to our treatment menu. We will continue to offer even more in terms of a sensorial experience, both for the consumer and the therapist, to provide effectiveness with systematic clinical tests, and to increase profitability for our partners by controlling treatment costs.
The third area involves the ongoing upgrading of the brand through its image. The packaging has been redesigned with a lot more sophistication, and our visuals are increasingly high-end.
Our premium positioning is of course reinforced with the continued opening of luxurious spas around the world, including our own 500 sq m flagship spa, PHYTOMER Spa & Wellness, which we extensively redeveloped and reopened this spring in Saint-Malo as a clear expression of our brand and wellness philosophy.