MAY 2015

DAYSPA is the business resource for spa & wellness professionals! Each issue covers the latest in skin care, spa treatments, wellness services and management strategies.

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Page 66 of 120

ONE ON ONE WITH... W hat was your biggest challenge in launching Provence Cosmetics? Starting at the bottom. I had no clients, no brochures, no advertising and no cash fl ow. It was just me, carrying my products, and knocking on spa doors. Those professionals gave me my chance. If it weren't for them I wouldn't be talking to you today! H ow has the industry changed since the early days? It has become more competitive and the regulations are now tougher. The list of substances prohibited in products has increased. Also, clients want immediate results. So, the cosmetics industry has evolved into a kind of diffi cult beauty science. Without innovative formulas or results it's really hard to survive in the business. T o what do you attribute your companies' success? Hard work and sacrifi ces. Also to high-quality formulas that are easy to use in the treatment room. For example, the Bioslimming wrap doesn't need to be washed off, so therapists who are just starting out can offer the service even if they have no shower facilities. D o you have any advice for people entering the skincare world today? Follow your dream or your passion. Follow your intention to create something you believe in—if possible, something that's different from what everyone else is offering. The most successful spas or professionals are the ones who have created a unique experience or identity. D escribe some contrasts between France and the U.S. Here, even little things—like people packing your bags for you in the supermarket—make a difference. Also, there are more opportunities in America for young people starting out. In France, you have to work your way up. There's less freedom—and more rules. W hat do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I'm an adrenaline junkie. I love windsurfi ng and I recently started to skydive. When you run your own business you get stressed—there are a lot of ups and downs. Extreme sports help me disconnect completely. They give me the strength to face challenges with courage and decisiveness. W hat's your defi nition of happiness? Living every minute with a peaceful and contented mind, and sharing love. Also, to breathe and act with grace and gratitude. I believe it's important to cultivate optimism, to dream, to dare and to put our lives to good use helping others. I f you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you need to have with you? Tweezers, a lighter and Tom Hanks! As a young girl growing up in La Ciotat, a small coastal town in the South of France, Flora Vergnolle dreamed of launching her own skincare line. She credits her mother, an esthetician-turned- artist, as having infl uenced her career choice, but it was the summers spent at her grandmother's house that truly cemented her decision. Explains Vergnolle, "I'd pick all the roses in her garden and make 'eau de rose'. I experimented on all the fl owers and roots I could fi nd. I was grounded so many times!" Fueled by her passion for exploring different senses, textures and colors, Vergnolle enrolled in biology, physics and chemistry classes at nearby Aix-Marseille University. "I said to myself: 'I have one life, so I'm going to go for it,'" she explains. "Many people thought I was crazy, but my parents and brother were really supportive." While in college, the future business owner interned with a global skincare brand in Washington, D.C.—an experience that launched her love affair with the United States. After graduating in France, Vergnolle transferred her credits to UCLA Extension in Los Angeles, earning a degree in business administration in 2000. Although she hoped to stay in the U.S. and develop skincare products, "I couldn't fi nd a suitable role," she laments. "My dad persuaded me to return to France, where I started working for a skincare company. I wanted to bring its products to the U.S., but in the end I realized I could do it better myself!" So she packed her bags and moved back to L.A. "Once you're hooked, you're hooked!" she says of her adoptive country. Vergnolle went on to launch three skin- and body-care lines based on natural ingredients: Provence Cosmetics, in 2002; Bioslimming (creams and gels that combine for bandage- free contouring treatments) in 2009/2010; and Bodypro50 (a line of formulas designed for pain and stress relief) in 2010. Those hours spent foraging in her grandmother's garden clearly paid off, as did her science background. "I always believed that combining different natural extracts with active molecules could give better results— and they did!" she says. To learn more, DAYSPA caught up with the charismatic business owner as she settled into her expanding company's new Miami headquarters. —Lesley McCave Flora Vergnolle, founder, Provence Cosmetics 64 DAYSPA | MAY 2015 VERGNOLLE TURNS TO SKYDIVING TO DE-STRESS.

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