How to develop a landmark brand in niche cosmetics?

I interviewed Olga do Nikitina, the president of Clitia Paris in 2019. Klytia is a premium luxury cosmetics brand specializing in Chronobiology. Olga explains the brand’s marketing strategy along with the importance of development in China in this interview. We also discuss the renewed notoriety that is a fundamental issue for Clitia in the coming months…

What is the story of Clitia?

Klytia is a landmark brand, founded in Paris in 1895 by a female entrepreneur. This is the brand that is at the core of the world’s first beauty institute.

Klytia achieved success in the early 20th century. It was already exported to more than 40 countries around the world (Vietnam, China, Egypt, Mexico, Spain, etc.) when there was no internet yet.

What was your priority when you took over in 2019?

We took over the brand just before the onset of covid. During COVID, we took the time to update our range of cosmetic products. In terms of marketing and distribution, we started with online distributors in China.

You should know that our logistics system allows us to make deliveries anywhere in the world. Then we implemented Chinese translation and payment methods on our site.

We certainly exist on Chinese social networks like Weibo or WeChat and Red Book because they don’t have networks like ours in China. We took advantage of Kovid to create our account on it.

Gradually, our stores in China were moved online to be able to do crossboarding.

And your aim at the French market?

We want to position ourselves in B2B on luxury e-commerce platforms, which is in line with our product range.

Today, the brand exists french beautyA marketplace that helps us sell our products to professionals.

In B2C, we initially aim for notoriety rather than profitability.

What works well for us is influential, whether on the network or on YouTube.

We also have a lot of traffic that comes from our Instagram account. We run competitions to meet our audience and even partner with other industries such as the hotel industry.

We’re also using Pinterest more and more and want to continue to grow. With Pinterest, we can showcase different things like packaging.

Do you measure different sources of traffic?

Pinterest brings us a lot of traffic from the United States. In France, it’s more Facebook and Instagram. The problem with Instagram is that the traffic is a little less targeted.

There are multiple levels of engagement depending on the traffic sources. This is important to differentiate customers who have come to purchase from people who have come to search for products.

What have you done to retain your customers?

In terms of loyalty, we have email campaigns. We provide offers regularly, especially during important events like sales.

We have also set up automatic sequestration after purchase or abandoned carts with Sendinblue. The advantage of this tool is that it is quite simple to use.

What if you had to remember one thing you kept that worked well?

I think it’s the small visual campaigns, almost non-professional, that we prepare and broadcast on our networks. Things are minimal or not photoshopped, it’s about showing things as they are.

We also feel that people need to see people who look like them in rural areas. It is more interesting than a perfect model without any flaws. Consumers identify more with these people.

Do you do your marketing in-house?

At the moment, we have started doing it internally, but we also have freelance service providers to manage the website. It is true that the company is starting to have a heavy workload so we are planning to hire an agency in the coming months.

This will primarily be for managing our campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, then gradually adding Google ads. It’s good to outsource that part at some point.

Why Facebook Ads Instead of Google Ads?

On Google, if a consumer searches for moisturizer, he or she will probably see 1000 hits. And if the brand isn’t known yet, I don’t think it will go to that brand. It is better to spread the message with visuals first, photos, before-afters etc.

We are also specializing in chronology, so it needs to be explained what it is.

Is the motive to outsource everything?

I think we’ll keep some internal communication like text, because it’s important to have control over the message. We are in the best position to know how the brand is evolving, and what it wants to bring in the next 2 to 6 months.

On what criteria would you choose the agency you want to accompany you?

Ideal would be an agency specialized in our field (cosmetics) who already have the expertise and experience to know how consumers react to this type of product. And I also know that there are agencies that are more specialized in Facebook ads. These are important criteria for us.


I like to learn from discussions. Here’s what you might miss:

  • COVID has turned the way we work. And like any unexpected event, you have to use it to move forward. When production was in slow motion, Klytia followed its lines;
  • The best markets are not necessarily local. Klytia shares a substantial portion of its business (CA) with China;
  • E-commerce platforms are an interesting way to supplement your turnover without carrying out marketing actions. Klytia is positioned on platforms specializing in luxury cosmetics, which corresponds to its position;
  • Each communication channel positions itself differently with respect to conversion. In Klytia, Instagram is a channel that drives traffic, but very few conversions;
  • Authenticity is the key to modern communication. Klytia promotes communication with little or no Photoshop as well as instant content;
  • Facebook or Google Ads are not consistent with the same issues. When one is triggered by a consumer request, the other must create a desire. Before moving to Google, Klytia likes to spread awareness on Facebook;
  • A brand’s message is central to communication. Brands may be wary of outsourcing it. Klytia wants to take control of this.

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