To celebrate the Marie Claire Beauty Excellence Award that we received last Monday night, we wanted to interview Marie, founder of Gallinée on her debut as an entrepreneur and reveal some secrets behind the history of our brand.
Did Marie, the pharmacy student dream one day of this moment: win one of the most prestigious prizes of the beauty industry?
Absolutely not. Marie, pharmacy student would never have thought she could create a brand, so receive the highest reward? Never ever.
Do you remember the first article published on Gallinée?
As if it was yesterday! I had the chance to talk by phone (my first interview!) with Alice Elia, from Glamour magazine. The products were not yet launched, and she had included in the article a small illustration of the Mask & Scrub. It was between La Roche Posay and Dior, and it was really weird to see the project suddenly become very real.
What was the first validated formula?
The first validated product was the Foaming Facial Cleanser. We had an extremely precise idea of what I wanted: a very minimalist product. We had a nice surprise by adding the prebiotics, the foam took a very whipped effect. Our lab absolutely wanted to put the product in an opaque bottle whereas I wanted a transparent one: it was so beautiful that we had to show it!
When did you get the first product in your hand?
I went to the factory in Brittany for the first production, and that day they were doing the Mask & Scrub. It was amazing, it’s an ultra-modern factory (the products have to be manufactured in specific conditions). There was a whole production line that made our mask, from tube setting to packing. I did not dare to take one in on the production line until I was told that it was still my products and that I could do what I wanted!
Do you remember the first time you saw Gallinée products in stores?
Our first point of sale was Beauty Mart at Oxford Circus. I went with a friend and watched customers try the products. It felt so weird. I even kissed the store manager who really did not expect so much enthusiasm from a supplier!
Can you tell us the name of the first person that ordered Gallinée products?
On the day of our launch, we were exhibitors at Pharmagora. A pharmacist absolutely wanted to buy us a Mask & Scrub for herself and paid with cash. We framed the bill. It has been on display in the office ever since.
We know it, you are surrounded by a dream team … but at the very beginning, how long did you work alone on the Gallinée project?
The project was born in September 2014 and I recruited the first trainee (hello Auriane!) in March 2016, so a certain time. In reality, I never felt alone: I was very supported by my friends Anaïs, Yvonne and Tom who are all shareholders in the company. And I also joined an incubator, which allowed me to be always in contact with other creators. However, it feels good to have a dream team now, I could not do without it.
How many trainees did you recruit? How many people have worked at Gallinée?
The list of Galinettes lengthens with time: Auriane, Sanaz (who now manages our press relations in London), Margaux, Elodie, Mathilde, Shanice, Catarina, Romain, Julia, Marjorie, Taouès. And the current team: Esther & Léa who were recruited after their internship, Diego, Tallulah and Constance.
At home / in the office do you have a Gallinée museum with the awards, the first products, the first sets?
I’m a little bit ashamed, but yes indeed, I have a Gallinée mini museum: first tube tests, first exhibition badge “Marie Drago, Gallinée Founder”, the restaurant menu where I scribbled the first concept… And at the office we have a shelf for award, the famous first ticket and now our Marie Claire Beauty Award.
If you had to change one thing / do it differently in your career / Gallinée project?
Nothing at all! I’m living my best life, I learn a lot of things and I have to go beyond my fears all the time.
On a desert island, what product do you take with you?
Soap-free soap because it really does everything: face, body, shampoo if needed. But if there is a little room for the Youthful Serum also it would suit me!
What is the next step? Gallinée sold on the moon?
We’re lucky with Gallinée, there’s no chance of getting bored: we’re launching new products (#staytuned), new countries, and every day we do things that scare us or make us learn .
This month we take a bigger office, the team started to be really tight.
Last but not least: cheese or saucisson (dried sausage)?
Clearly cheese, I’m trying to be vegetarian in 2019, it’s better for the planet.