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Cosmetics startup La Bouche Rouge makes Hong Kong its Asian launchpad

French cosmetics startup La Bouche Rouge has chosen Hong Kong as its first Asian market ahead of a regional rollout.

Founder Nicolas Gerlier introduced the firm’s eco-friendly lipstick line in an interview with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

The concept of the brand came about when Gerlier realised that up to 1 billion used lipstick tubes are thrown away every year, contributing to plastic pollution.

“I believe that it is impossible to create a new beauty house today without thinking of the environment, without giving meaning, without becoming part of a socially responsible project,” said Gerlier. The idea developed in his mind “until the day I decided to launch my own model”.

Gerlier was inspired to develop the eco-friendly brand based on his work under Ezra Petronio at L’Oreal Luxe, who is now the firm’s co-founder and creative director.

La Bouche Rouge lines include the Metiers d’Art Collection – personalisable artisan-crafted lipstick cases – and products in leather pouches which customers refill by purchasing more lipstick at the outlet or online. There is no need to discard cases.

“At La Bouche Rouge we talk about being ‘beautifully sustainable’,” said Gerlier. “We believe in creating the desire to consume differently and we are convinced that this is achievable through designing beautiful and easy objects. There should not be any compromise between sexiness and sustainability.”

The firm also has a line of vegan products, which do not use beeswax or any other animal-derived material, soon to be made available in Hong Kong.

Gerlier says Hong Kong was a natural choice when La Bouche Rouge decided to expand beyond Europe and the US. “Hong Kong is a living and dynamic economy, with the whole aura of Asia in its globality,” Gerlier said. “I am convinced that sustainability combined with luxury in makeup is our future and we are very proud to be launching so far from France just a year and a half after our launch.”

At present, La Bouche Rouge sells at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, its first Asian outlet. The firm plans to develop other points of sale in Hong Kong as well as in Japan and Korea.

With its strong international connections and large French community, La Bouche Rouge finds Hong Kong a good base for its move into Asia. “Our team here is made up of French people who have lived in Hong Kong for a long time. The cosmopolitan city lets us connect with a lot of different nationalities and customers.”

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