A pioneer in the Italian cosmetics industry

beauty girl on the grey background

beauty girl on the grey backgroundPortrait of the Milano-based Gale & Cosm, that debuted as a player in the fields of galenic and personal care. With a long-time expertise in the raw materials supply chain, it is striving today to expand its international presence.
Many years have passed since the Milano-headquartered company Gale & Cosm was established thanks to an idea of Gianni Proserpio, a professor and scientist that the firm still looks at as to an innovator and a visionary pioneer. In its early years Gale & Cosm focused on providing pharmacies with small amounts of active ingredients for galenic and pharmaceutical formulations, but throughout the decades it managed to acquire an important role in the distribution of raw materials for the cosmetics industry. After 25 years of business, Gale & Cosm can today rely on a new office, not far from the EXPO 2015 pavilions, and it is looking forward to promoting its label and know how worldwide. Whilst waiting to attend a number of cosmetics exhibitions and fairs in Italy and abroad, the distributor can display a series of top notch references including such brands as Bottega Verde, Manetti&Roberts, Cosmint, L’Erbolario, Pentamedica, Rottapharm Madaus, Istituto Ganassini, Kelemata, Krimy, Pharmalife Research, Bionike, Biofarma, finally the Alfaparf Group. Managing director Alfredo Radice revealed KosWorld the company’s future and current strategies.

Would you give us an idea of the company’s business in Italy and abroad? How many specialists does Gale & Cosm employ and how many agents or representatives does it rely on?
In the last years Gale & Cosm has focused on the Italian market and in recent months it has also decided to address the foreign markets with a direct distribution model. Currently five people, three employees and two agents, are entirely committed to business development in the Italian cosmetic industry. Gale&Cosm purchases and imports the raw materials it uses from all over the world, especially from Asia and the United States; and distributes its products under its own brand and its own manufacture (with such lines as Galesan, Galolive, Galepur, the Galestar Series).

What does it mean today and what challenges proposed, in terms of research and development, the union between Your Galen activity and the cosmetics business itself?
Gale & Cosm was established many years ago, following the suggestions of a friend of mine, who was the inventor of the actual cosmetic in Italy at the beginning of the years 1960. Gale & Cosm’s mission, at the very beginning, was mainly focused on sales of small amounts of cosmetic active ingredients to pharmacy stores; and after a while core the business changed to that of a distributor of specialty raw materials for the cosmetic business, due to the deep cosmetics knowledge the staff had developed. Despite appearances, there is a close relationship between galenic formulations and cosmetics, as many raw materials used in cosmetics are used as excipients in galenic and vice versa. This is also the reason why our pharmaceutical sales division works so close with Gale & Cosm’s science and life division (devoted to cosmetic and nutritional solutions).

Which could be the world’s regions, customers and product types to which you may mostly view down in the near future?
The company, in recent times, is being promoted more aggressively on the international markets, and it is currently looking for distributors in the countries and regions we already know, due to the previous professional experiences of the staff management (such as Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia). We are steadily looking for new interesting and innovative raw materials and, lately, we are also starting to play in the cosmetic packaging sector.

What are your thoughts, impressions and expectations about the Italian market?
The Italian cosmetics market is the fourth in Europe in terms of turnover, but if we take a look at its production units we notice Italy is the only country (together with Spain) hosting a majority of small sized business units, resulting in a consequent splitting and fragmentation of the market itself. A number of newcomers swarm the industry, together with long time family businesses, while generally speaking large multinational corporates prefer to focus on sales of finished products than on direct manufacturing (unlikely in France, in the United Kingdom or in Germany). A large part of the producers in the Italian scenario act as contract manufacturers and this is a specialty that the whole world recognizes and envies, especially when it comes to makeup and skincare products.

What does the word innovation mean to You and what are the main areas of Gale & Cosm’s research and development activities? What do You think they will look like in the future?
Our company is cooperating with the major Italian Universities and research centers and always pays greater attention to the possible needs of customers and end users, to try to transfer this research and innovation directly to our client-base. In our laboratory, technical experts always display able to develop new formulations with our raw materials, in order to give customers new ideas for their projects, together with the most correct usage advices.

How would You describe your average customers and how did their needs evolve with time? Therefore, what kind of strategies did You implement in order to ensure a complete service?
The company has always paid attention and care to the needs of customers; and this results in a high quality of service, in the shortest time possible. Certainly, a rapid order fulfillment is a fundamental requirement. Reflecting our ongoing search for perfection, it allows us to stay ahead of competitors with new ideas or proposals.

What kind of markets are poised to become crucial for Gale & Cosm’s activities in the raw materials distribution and in the galenic sector, in Your opinion?
We believe that the galenic in pharmacy has been evolving, since pharmacies themselves have been evolving dramatically in recent years. The pharmacy is increasingly turning into a meeting point for customers and, at the same time, into a service center that goes beyond the medical aspect but whose activity is increasingly reflecting in the cosmetic and personal care businesses. And therefore our intention is that to provide the pharmacies with the same innovative opportunities we are able to offer to the major cosmetic companies we deal with in Italy.

Alfredo Radice
Alfredo Radice

How is your turnover divided between galenic and cosmetics? And what kind of requirements must be taken into account when we look at the raw materials’ distribution’s supply chain?
At the present moment, in terms of sales, the cosmetic market and galenic can display similar results and figures. After production or purchasing, and before being submitted to customers, our raw materials are subjected to a most meticulous qualitative analysis by our quality control laboratory. One of the most important requirements, for the sale of raw materials, is the possibility of ensuring small sizes, according to the needs of customers, and this is one of the services we can provide our customers with. Our company pays great attention to product quality and to technical and scientific support, with updated seminars and a most detailed chemical-physical analysis.

Next November 24th and 25th Gale & Cosm is to take part in the Making Cosmetics/Formulating Cosmetics international fair in Milano and that will offer further chances to see some of the companies’ specialties. An exclusive distributor of Sandream Enterprises’ pearlescent pigments and glitters, Gale & Cosm is also developing a strong expertise in the field of olive oil-based products. Olive oil derivatives emulsifiers and emollients represent the very heart of its Galaolive Serie product line, including the labels of Galaolive Ten, Galaolive Ws, Galaolive Wo and Galaolive Ow.

In order to better serve the needs of its customer base, Gale & Cosm has recently opened a new 1,000 square meters warehouse in Milan, and the structure also hosts special facilities to manage inflammable or hazardous raw materials safely. Its sales force is made up of five professionals, plus an opinion leader consultant supporting sales agents in case of need. Gale & Cosm’s formulations portfolio also includes such offers as Galesan, an hydrocarbon, volatile silicon substitute; Lactobionic acid; the skin-regenerating Mannan and the Galequat conditioner, just to name a few.

by R.Carminati