Christophe Robin hair care is rebranding. The move comes nearly 18 months after e-commerce conglomerate THG acquired it and its eponymous founder exited the brand.
Founded in 1999 by celebrity colorist Christophe Robin in Paris, the brand aims to emphasize a women’s natural beauty by focusing on scalp health, nourished hair and protected color. The brand’s portfolio consists of more than 70 products across 10 product ranges and is sold in 35 countries through Sephora, Space NK and THG-owned Look Fantastic. Christophe Robin was acquired by THG, formerly known as The Hut Group, in April 2019. According to the press release, the brand had grown 40% year-over-year in 2018 and again in 2019. British news outlet Sky News reported at the time of the acquisition that Christophe Robin reported approximately $17 million in 2018 sales and that the deal was for more than $60 million.
Though not all brand founders stick around after an acquisition, companies that enter their next stage of ownership without founders at the helm have to navigate new branding and communications outside a natural figurehead or spokesperson. Some founders, like Bobbi Brown, have found a way back into their original business ideas with new brands, or those like Frédéric Fekkai have repurchased their namesake brand.
“Christophe [Robin] was the center of the brand; the communication was about him, and our Instagram page was his day-to-day life,” said Shokooh Ossareh, Christophe Robin global marketing director. “The rebrand comes as an opportunity for us to renew the brand, to not have one single person as the focus and to communicate differently.”
Ossareh said that some of the expected changes include revised packaging, lower price points, new formulations for products — like a lavender-infused hair oil and a cleansing mask with lemon — and expanded distribution to Mexico and India in 2022. The new packaging features mostly matte white bottles with pastel, color-coded lids, whereas the previous design underscored the luxe French heritage of the brand. Christophe Robin will also increase its DTC sales, which currently account for 40% of global sales. Ossareh declined to share overall sales or growth.
The rebrand comes at an important time for THG, which announced on Sept. 16 that its beauty division — which includes Perricone MD, Glossybox, and retailer Dermstore — is to be separated and listed on a public share-trading exchange in 2022. THG went public in Sept. 2020 on the London stock exchange. THG Beauty saw its first-half year revenue grow 59% year-over-year to about $629 million, according to results shared Sept. 16.
“We believe [listing THG Beauty] will create further value for our shareholders,” said Matthew Moulding, THG executive chairman and CEO, in the press release. “This commitment reflects the continued strong organic growth of the division and its position as the industry’s digital strategic partner globally… A separate listing for THG Beauty will position the business very well to focus investment in its key growth areas, including own-brand portfolio expansion.”
Ossareh said that the brand’s owned channels across social media will undergo a rebrand featuring new packaging images. In France, the brand’s social media strategy focuses on community building, while in the U.S., it’s focused on influencers promoting the brand’s hero products. Those include the Cleansing Purifying Scalp Scrub with Sea Salt and its new range of products for curly hair. Christophe Robin has invested in influencers over the past two years, said Ossareh. In London, Christophe Robin launched in September its first out-of-home campaign for brand awareness, which was focused on tube stations.
“In the last five or six years, hair care has become a key player in the beauty industry. Sephora is now treating hair care as a pillar, similar to skin care and makeup. Before, [hair care] was a product that you would buy at the grocery store,” said Ossareh.