Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Beyond Beauty Paris trade show (also referred to as Paris Beauty Week), a three day conference with 22,000 attendees dedicated to the newest technologies and most innovative ingredients in skin care, as well as emerging trends in European spas. A trade show that’s right up my alley! My husband is from France, so I tacked this on to a trip to spend time with his family. (Rouleau is actually my French maiden name; I have a French married name as well.)
As someone who attends trade shows frequently in the U.S., it’s always interesting to be able to travel to a different country and observe what is going in another market in regards to beauty.
Here are some of my observations…
Wine, cheese, and baguettes
Normally at the U.S. trade shows, a handful of vendors exhibiting will have a small dish of candy to lure people into coming into their booths. But at Paris Beauty Week, people actually had tables set up serving wine, cheese (fromage) and baguettes. (Count me in!) What a wonderful way to lure people into their booth, as well as showcasing the French lifestyle.
Embracing their natural appearance
As I have talked about before in my French skin care investigation, French women rarely alter their appearance with cosmetic procedures. But being at a beauty show, surrounded by people in the cosmetic industry, I would have expected to see more cosmetic enhancements than I normally would just walking down the streets of Paris. Surprisingly, this was not the case. I saw one woman that looked like she had been pulled a bit too tight, but by and large, even people in the beauty business still like to age gracefully and naturally. It’s very refreshing since this is definitely not the case at the U.S. trade shows. (Read my observations from a U.S. tradeshow I attended last year.)
A focus on product and technique – less on machines
Attending this show confirmed that the French are relying more on product and manual technique and enhancing the experience through extensive consultations with clients, with less focus on machines. Knowledge of skin, giving a proper, customized treatment based on the skin’s unique needs, and education and extensive consultations cannot be replaced by a machine. This falls right in line with my philosophy about caring for the skin and enhancing the Renée Rouleau experience–although I do like to incorporate certain machines too.
All the rage in the U.S. is about using machine technology to give specific results to the skin. For example, manual extractions, which have long been part of a facial treatment practically since its inception, are not done a lot in the U.S. anymore like they are in France. Many U.S. skin care professionals claim there are certain machines, such as ultrasonic exfoliation that can give the same result, but less aggressively. While we do use ultrasonic exfoliation at my spas, and it can have some effect on cleaning the pores, there is nothing that cleans the pores better than manually. Read: Microdermabrasion or Ultrasonic Exfoliation –Which is Better?
A strong, organic, eco-friendly, sustainable movement
Without a doubt, in Europe, the skin care business is very organic, eco-friendly, and sustainable. This is true for other industries as well. This is very prevalent in not only Paris Beauty Week, but in life at homes, businesses, restaurants, and even outdoor areas. At the show, I observed this in everything from packaging to product to marketing, and so on. The U.S. is moving in this direction, but we are truly years behind. I definitely gained some helpful insight and inspiration. Read: How Renée Rouleau Goes Green
Less aggressive in their sales approach
I’m so used to the way in which Americans do business, both at trade shows and in day-to-day business life that it really took me by surprise at how less aggressive the vendors at the trade show were. If you walked by their booth, they may or may not say hello, they may or may not make eye contact, but rather they wait for you to express an interest in them. American beauty trade shows, on the other hand, people hound you. They have gimmicks they’re handing out, they’re making conversation, and they’re doing everything to lure you over to hear your sales pitch. Neither is right or wrong, it’s just a difference that I observed.
All in all, Paris Beauty Week was a huge success. Aside from attending the show where I did get some great new ideas, which will be revealed at a later date, I also had some great skin consultations with Parisian clients, and very productive meetings with various French vendors.
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