Beyond simple raw materials

Established in Milano almost a century ago, Giusto Faravelli SpA has developed and consolidated itself, becoming an important firm at national and international level in providing raw materials for food, pharma, nutraceutical and cosmetic sectors. Guido Rovati, Sales and Marketing Director of the group, in this interview describes how the company grew up, being very close to their clients and investing great resources on R&D.

 How did the company grow up from its foundation till now?

Guido Rovati.

We were born almost 90 years ago. It was 1926, when our founder – Mr Giusto Faravelli – began selling raw materials and specialties in the photochemistry sector. The activity started in Milano, in the Isola Quarter, the same area in which we are presently based. After the first steps in the photochemical industry, we then grew rapidly, expanding our scope to other sectors, like food, pharma, and nutraceutical. The youngest sector is the cosmetic, in which we have been operating since the mid of the 90s. Though being the youngest, the cosmetic is also the one moving at the fastest pace, and the most creative and «sparkling», as we love saying. Also at a geographical level, the company was able to enlarge its action overcoming the national boundaries, and becoming an international company. Nowadays Faravelli Group is composed of five sites: Milano (headquarters), Hamburg, Prague, Shanghai and Barcelona. Our core business remains the distribution of highest quality ingredients and raw materials coming from the most important producers in the world, enriched by some complementary activities which make us be perceived as real strategic partners by our customers.

 Which are the characteristics that define your company, speaking of business organization, turnover and market areas?

Giusto Faravelli Spa, the Italian headquarters, serves companies (from small and medium sized to very big enterprises) operating in the fine chemicals, pharmaceutical, food, nutraceutical, and cosmetic fields. Our turnover is slightly increasing. In 2012 it was around 75million euro. According to one of the most authoritative chemical magazines, ICIS, we are among the top 100 distributors of raw materials worldwide. Each sector corresponds to a dedicated Division, which employs professionals qualified to support customers at every stage and for every technical and commercial aspects. Commercial Divisions work in strict synergy to find always the best solution for customers, according to a strategic line decided by the general marketing director. Sales are also supported by a comprehensive promotional action, studied in synergy with our communication department, covering both traditional and unconventional means (Web, magazines, newsletters, product sheets, catalogues, social networks), always proposing a smart and sparkling image. A communications approach which is more B2C than standard B2B. So professional and exhaustive from the technical point of view, but with a high-catching and posh touch.

Which are your main products for cosmetic applications and what kind of client do you target in this field?

Presently our range of products includes a wide range of natural thickeners, natural and synthetic active ingredients, biotechnology-derived actives, mineral salts, preservatives, humectants, antioxidants, Ecocert references, emulsifiers, surfactants. The list is constantly enlarging, to satisfy industry’s demand. Market researchers say that natural cosmetics have a great future: over recent years there has been a general trend to a higher level of ‘natural’ in the cosmetics sector. That is the reason why in the last few years we have been enriching our product portfolio with an increasing number of top-quality natural references, coming from the best suppliers worldwide. We can trust on very strong relationships with the most important global producers, companies which are strongly committed with innovation and which are able to provide exhaustive documentation about their products. Our customers are among the most important companies in the Italian cosmetic scenario, including both small family-owned firms and big groups and contract manufacturers working for the most prestigious cosmetic brands worldwide.

Which strategy do you follow for customer care?

We want our customers to perceive us as real strategic partners, rather than as distributors «only». For this reason, we often work in synergy with the customer to find the solution which best fits its needs, in a continuous stream of ideas exchange. Our Cosmetic Division is composed of an extremely skilled staff, able to manage the most diverse commercial and technical requests, thanks also to the precious assistance of a dedicated and fast-reacting back-office team. Sales people are high skilled cosmetologists first. They perfectly know ingredients performances and characteristics. They know how actives work, their pros and cons in the different formulations. This precious technological background is crucial to be able advising customers in the most appropriate way. And customers perceive this ability. This kind of assistance is strongly rewarding. It allows building strong and long-lasting partnerships with customers, something we treasure and take care of. For us, customers’ feedback is extremely important. It helps us improving our job, day by day. Moreover, we keep them also constantly informed about news in the sector, by sending them periodical newsletters, and sharing information in our Website and social networks.

 Which are future plans of your company?

I think the company will keep on working in compliance with the continuous improvement approach. We are constantly looking for new suppliers, selected according to the most severe parameters, to make our list of actives and ingredients for the cosmetic industry as complete as possible, to satisfy and anticipate potential market trends. We will keep on investing in communication and events (trainings, workshops), increasingly involving our most innovation-oriented suppliers and customers.

Cosmetic Application Lab

R&D is among the flagships of our company, completing and enriching our traditional core business, distribution. In 2011, upon the frequent and increasing demand from our clients, we started the in-house Cosmetic Application Lab, a place born to provide a stronger support to customers, with a special focus on technology and innovations. In there our cosmetologists work to develop new formulation ideas and prototypes. The Lab is also hosting training days and events, to ease the meeting and exchange of ideas between our customers and suppliers. This kind of events is always meant for small group of customers, as we want them to receive the dedicated attention they deserve. This kind of action showed to be strongly appreciated by them in the past and we are certainly going to propose new dates and events in the next few months.

China is closer with Faraway Project

Business diversification is one of the main trends we will follow, implementing the kit of complementary services to customers, with the precise aim to be increasingly perceived as 360°strategic partners. In this perspective, we recently launched Faraway, a service particularly meant for Italian and European enterprises looking for new sales opportunities beyond national boundaries, and to China market particularly. Chinese consumers show and increasing interest in European products, particularly in made in Italy ones. It’s a market with great potential, but which needs to be approached in the correct way, otherwise the risk to fail and waist money and time is really high. We’ve been working in China for almost 20 years now and we now want to put our knowledge and experience at our customers’ help. The project is producing its first, interesting fruits. If this model works properly, we will reproduce it on other emerging markets.

by L.Galetto