First name: Mathilde
Last name: Thomas
Graduation year: 1994
Master / Program specialization: Marketing
Company name: Caudalie
Location of business: Paris/New York/ Hong Kong
Quote: The idea of creating a cosmetics company occurred to me during my second year at SKEMA. I took the opportunity to do market research to see if the project was viable as part of my third-year courses. I filed the statutes of the company with my husband Bertrand after leaving SKEMA.
Managing Caudalie (pronounced Kodali) has been a unique experience. The brand came into being in 1995 after we had registered a patent for extracting and stabilizing grape-seed Polyphenols. In 1999, we opened the first Vinothérapie® spa within my family’s vineyards at Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeaux. This is when the internationalization of the brand began.
Our Vinexpert Firming Serum with Resveratrol, launched in 2000, turned out to be a tremendous success. In 2005, we had a patent application on anti-stain viniferine. In 2006, I invented Cosm’éthique — it was decided that all Caudalie products would be completely free of parabens, phenoxyethanol, mineral oils derived from petrochemistry, phthalates, sulphates and animal ingredients.
In 2010, we moved to New York to accelerate the company’s growth in the U.S. and understand Sephora’s business model.
Our first Spa Caudalie boutique opened at Bleecker Street, New York, in 2012.
Caudalie is also a member of the “1% for the planet” association; we donate 1% of our global turnover to environmental associations. To date, four million trees have been planted.
We also formed a research partnership with Harvard Medical School’s Dr. David Sinclair, a specialist in genetics and anti-aging. In 2015, I finish writing my first book “The French Beauty Solution” which became a New York Times bestseller. We moved to Hong Kong the same year to accelerate our growth in Asia. A new patent on cellular energy was registered with Harvard Medical School in 2017.
I returned to live in France in 2018. Today, Caudalie has 800 employees and has a presence in 40 countries. We have opened 40 Spa Caudalie boutiques worldwide. To top it all, we are a 100% independent French family business.
SKEMA Ventures is a business unit created by SKEMA Business School dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation. Through a unique value chain, that encompasses teaching, coaching, incubation, and acceleration, SKEMA Ventures allows each SKEMA student and alumni to think, design, test and launch an entrepreneurial project in a global context, on six innovative territories on four continents, benefiting from the best of each local ecosystem. With SKEMA Ventures, GloCal entrepreneurship is born!
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