Cosmetic Valley, a unique competitiveness cluster

Not far from the French capital, Cosmetic Valley has grown into a full-fledged ecosystem on the cutting edge of innovation. The collective success of this concentrate of expertise in the beauty and fragrances industry has continually expanded since its creation. Today, over one out of ten cosmetics products sold in the world were manufactured in the heart of this unique competitiveness cluster.

In the early 1970s, Guerlain had run out of room to expand in Paris and decided to move its production facilities to Chartres. The company was soon followed by other leaders in the sector. Competitors, suppliers, service providers and investors all began to set up shop in this unrivalled hub of talent. Some 40 years later, a vast industrial network now brings together every skill applied by the cosmetics industry, representing aggregate revenue of 18 billion euros. Equally important, this proximity has spawned a virtuous circle of inventiveness and expertise behind the cosmetics creations of tomorrow.

Mirroring California’s celebrated Silicon Valley, the French technology cluster represents the largest concentration of fragrances and cosmetics resources in the world, with innovation the primary growth engine. Cosmetic Valley blends seamlessly with the local environment, stretching across three French administrative regions: Centre, Île-de-France and Haute-Normandie. Marc-Antoine Jamet, General Secretary of LVMH and the elected President of Cosmetic Valley until 2018, notes that this exceptional concentration positions France at the forefront of the industry and promotes the coveted “made in France” image around the world.

Officially designated a “competitiveness cluster” by the French government in 2005, this rich industrial fabric is also home to seven universities and 200 research labs. The 800 companies in Cosmetic Valley include both major groups and smaller businesses with essential upstream and downstream skills for the industry. The hub represents 70,000 jobs (both public and private sector), including 8,600 research positions. Proactive networking has been decisive in continually sharpening the competitiveness of the different players and helped them forge positions in international markets.

The LVMH Group has a major presence in Cosmetic Valley. Guerlain, Parfums Christian Dior, Parfums Givenchy and Fresh all leverage cutting-edge advances from  LVMH Research, the Group’s perfumes and cosmetics R&D unit. Created in 1981, this organization provides a framework to let LVMH Houses autonomously develop future formulations and textures that respect both people and the planet.

LVMH Research strengthened its presence in Cosmetic Valley in 2013, investing in the future with the creation of Hélios, an 18,000-square-meter campus in Saint Jean de Braye dedicated to perfumes and cosmetics development and innovation.