By Eric Famechon, President, Cosmecare Group International
The Cosmecare Group was created 15 years ago in France, merging a variety of companies revolving around the hair care industry. It’s been my passion and genuine desire to help men and women affected by alopecia and baldness, a desire passed on to me by my father, Francis Famechon.
The group manages several global companies such as hair cosmetics manufacturing, a hair replacement distribution company, hair centers specializing in hair loss treatment and in-salon treatments, hair transplant clinic and a communication and marketing company. Four years ago, the group opened a new subsidiary, Cosmecare USA.
I want to share some candid feedback on how I’ve maintained business continuity and planned for recovery through the COVID-19 crisis.
What impact has COVID-19 had on your company?
COVID-19 was a disaster for the whole industry, the entire supply chain has been put to the test. It has affected everyone from manufacturing to distribution, even to the final customer. During the lockdown we had delivery delays up to six months for our most requested items.
Acknowledging that the crisis may not be over quickly, we focused all on stock optimization, new commercial arrangements to help to secure future supply, and developed a new models of hair pieces to generate a new source of income. This allows us to keep stable turnover in European market and even increase sales in both North and South American markets.
All distributors have mobilized, but only companies that found the agility, flexibility and stable relationships with multiple factories can survive this unprecedented crisis. This was the case for us.
For more than 50 years we have overcome difficulties. What helped us this time is a deep knowledge of our business, our experience and know-how. We are at the same time importers and, until recently, manufacturers of hair pieces. This experience allows us to have a different perception of product and a global approach in problem-solving. Working in a close collaboration with our clients and having their full support and trust we decided to act and to adapt available in stock items to client’s requests.
How have you handled this unprecedented situation?
The most important priority for us was the safety of our employees and customers. It involved a reorganization of working areas, providing protective equipment materials available for everyone, and remote working organization. Our strategy was focused on people and service rather than profit.
Another challenge was maintaining operational continuity and managing cash flow to ensure a supply chain. Our production does not depend only on East Asian countries. We have developed a network of suppliers all over the world and our partners were able to handle the orders. This crisis is unique in that it is global. We faced a new spirit of collaboration from our suppliers to meet unavoidable delivery delays in addition to extreme price increases. Another point to improve is the vulnerability and diversify our supply chain.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned?
Communication and emotional connection with our customers is very important .
Our entire industry is built around the helping rebuild confidence and to resolve hair loss problems. Knowing our customers’ needs and expectations help us to develop the best solutions for them. Extensive knowledge of products along with with close relationship with our client is our key success.
Today, we are planning for recovery and growth. Even if the crisis is still happening, we already started to leverage our potential opportunities within a “new normal.” Mutual cooperation with clients and partners, based on trust is engraved is our history. We are reminded of the added value our industry brings to this world. Products alone are part of our success, but it’s mostly our customer’s confidence that help us to survive this crisis.