The Worlds Times: Laurent Cibot, hello! Thank you for accepting our invitation; you are the CEO of Legacy Beauty Group (LBG), based in Shanghai. Talking about beauty industry and more specifically perfume, people are saying that you are one of the most successful foreigners on this fast-growing market; could you please share your background with us and your company’s business model?
Laurent Cibot: Hello and thank you for your kind words. Well, I am French, and I have been living in China for almost 20 years. As you said, I have been working in Beauty industry for many years in China -I used to work in skincare and I am now focusing on perfume.
LBG is a beauty brand management company, and we support the internationalization of content driven C-beauty brands, as well as we are assisting international beauty brands to approach and grow on China market. But as our majority shareholder is a manufacturer of perfumery products (perfume, scent candles, diffusers,…) our model is already very well integrated and we have access to great resources. So we are also delivering projects for brands in fashion, jewelry, lifestyle or local beauty brands on perfumery field, and we are always trying to work on innovative products.
The Worlds Times: What LEGACY BEAUTY GROUP (LBG) is aiming for?
Laurent Cibot: We are aiming for becoming a group of inspiring beauty brands. The C-beauty brand BARRIO was the first brand in our portfolio, and we succeeded to bring the brand abroad. We showed that we were able to bring a C-beauty brand to the next level on the global market and that’s what most of local brands would like to do today. The problem is that these local beauty brands doesn’t have the “keys to open the doors” of the global market, but we can help them to open it for them…
The Worlds Times: The China market of perfume is booming now, I guess that you are also interested by this very promising market…?
Laurent Cibot: Yes, of course, we are interested!… And that’s the reason why we are also looking for inspiring perfume brand abroad to import on China market; we could consider minority or majority stake PE investment in niche perfume brands from Europe and more specifically from France.
The Worlds Times: Talking about BARRIO, why did you choose to pick up this brand among other C-beauty brands?
Laurent Cibot: It’s a very good question. When I received BARRIO’s brand book, I quickly realized that it was a great brand concept. BARRIO is a small format perfumes brand (10ml tubes) with fragrances created by perfumers from the best fragrance companies in the world (Robertet Group, Firmenich or International Flavors & Fragrances). As I translated it from Chinese, BARRIO is a “sophisticated nomadism” brand. The products are small, it makes it affordable, but it also allows our customers to buy few fragrances for the price of 100ml bottle, and change perfume according to their mood…
The Worlds Times: It’s very interesting, but it seems like a brand as ADOPT has a similar disruptive concept, no?
Laurent Cibot: Yes, but there is a major difference because BARRIO is not only fragrances, it is also a Beauty accessory, a refillable accessory!
The 10ml bottles are inserted in a vegan leather tube with a color code for each fragrance. So BARRIO is also on the gifting market -it is a great gift with a very good value for money.
The Worlds Times: What was the path you took to get to where you are today?
Laurent Cibot: Haha… It is a long story! Well, I am from a very traditional French family, but my name is linked to China since 18th Century. My ancestor Pierre Martial Cibot lived in China Emperor’s court during Qing dynasty -actually, I wrote a book on his life that has been published in France in 2022 (“Dans l’ombre du fils du ciel”). So that’s how I get interested to China since I was a child. Then, I came to Beijing to study when I was in business school, and I decided to come back to work in China… I began my career at the commercial bureau of the French Embassy in Beijing and at that time -20 years ago, there were many opportunities in China, so I decided to open my first company to do import-export operations. At that time, I was not specialized on one market or product category, but very quick, French brands in healthcare FMCG (pharmacy, health supplement, dermo-cosmetic,…) went to find me and I decided to focus on this industry. These past few years I was mostly working for skincare brands, and I decided to switch to perfume as it is very close industry and as it is now a booming market here…
The Worlds Times: I guess that it is also linked to your culture…
Laurent Cibot: Yes, of course, French people love perfume -there is a reason that France is the second market in the world after US market, but I have to say that I’ve always been very interested by perfume myself. So it’s great to do what you like… “Do What You Love and You Will Never Work a Day in Your Life”!
The Worlds Times: What have been the biggest challenges/mistakes you’ve had to overcome during the journey of your leadership?
Laurent Cibot: I can’t really remember now but I can say that most of successful people had to face challenges at a point. Sometimes you fail, but the biggest mistake would be to not learn about it…
The Worlds Times: Could you give us one word that describes you the best?
Laurent Cibot: Driven
The Worlds Times: How do you see the company changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
Laurent Cibot: I see LBG growing to become a major player on the perfume market, with an inspiring brands portfolio. But, at the man time, we want to continue to deliver innovative tailor-made products for brands that want to take position on the perfumery market. So, to answer to your questions, in 2 or 3 years, I see LBG “somewhere” in between COTY and INTERPARFUMS. Of course, LBG will not be as big as these companies; and in my opinion, the DNA of LBG is to stay “boutique” as we would like to continue to be agile but, of course, with great performances…
The Worlds Times: Would you like to say anything else to our viewers?
Laurent Cibot: If you are a distributor of perfume brands in your country and you are looking for great brands to import, you can contact us!
Connect with Laurent Cibot on LinkedIn