Yves Rocher’s CEO Bris Rocher (below, grandson of founder Yves Rocher) talks about the brand’s commitment to saving the earth and keeping prices low.

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La Gacilly doesn’t have the cachet that Paris or Champagne possesses. You’d be hard-pressed to pin the small north-western village on a map, but since the 1950s, it has quietly and organically become the home of one of the biggest cosmetics brands in the world. 

All this is down to Yves Rocher, who started his namesake cosmetics company back in the day to prevent the poor in the village from leaving and seeking their fortunes in the big cities. The town has grown plenty since, with the company credited as being instrument in boosting the livelihood of le village and the areas around it.

“My grandfather had a lot of passion for La Gacilly,” says Bris Rocher, chairman and CEO of Yves Rocher Group. “He had two targets when he started the company in 1959: create jobs for people and make affordable cosmetics for everyone. We were the first to create affordable cosmetics in France.”   

Another pillar of the company is its love for nature. “We practise organic farming not because it’s better in terms of efficiency or efficacy, but because it’s better for the planet. When you don’t put any chemical products on the plants, you avoid pollution to the ground, water and so on,” says Bris. “In the end, if it’s better for Earth, it’s better for us.”

And the beauty brand is still committed to the cause. Said to be the only global cosmetics brand to control the entire life cycle of its products, Yves Rocher controls its own organic fields, factories, distribution and retail. “The idea is to be fully integrated,” says Bris. “This allows us to produce products that are effective, yet still affordable. We are the harvester, producer and distributor, which gives us full trust in the ingredients and products. It also helps us to keep them affordable for the consumer. By controlling the entire process, we can lower prices by about 20 to 30 per cent.” The brand’s products start from $5 for a mini shower gel, while the priciest is the still affordable $69 Anti-Age Global Serum.

Just 10 years ago, the family owned only 30 per cent of the company, but they slowly started buying back its stock and now own almost all of it. This allows them to stick to their causes. “Family-owned companies are more committed and passionate. My name is on the brand. If something happens to the brand, it will affect me and my family,” he adds.

Bris is confident about his products, which can be found in 90 countries around the world. “We are unique. Because we were one of the first to go into the natural and organic movement, we have a better grasp. We have an organic garden, organic fields, eco spa, organic restaurant and even a foundation dedicated to nature. If you go to La Gacilly, you will see all that.”

The Star Products:

AOC Provence Olive Shower Gel ($12) has extra virgin olive oil to intensely hydrate skin.  We love how it lathers into a creamy foam and has a very refreshing, green smell.

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Elixir 7.9 Youth Intensifier serum ($59) gets its name from the fact that it has seven botanical actives and holds nine patents. It supposedly brightens the complexion, refines skin texture and reduces the look of wrinkles.

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Rinsing Vinegar ($18) is a rinse-off treatment based on an old French grandmother’s recipe of applying vinegar to make hair smoother. Made with raspberry vinegar, it’s said to repair and seal cuticles so your locks feel softer and look much shinier. The best part: It leaves a refreshing raspberry scent.

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Hydra Vegetal Moisture Boost Concentrate ($30) might be lightweight, but is extremely hydrating. Skin looks smoother and more plump after using it for just a week.

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Yves Rocher is available at Takashimaya D.S. and Westgate.


This article was first published in Female Dec 2014.