Launching a Belgian line of skincare products Valérie Vroome: a Belgian entrepreneur with skincare under her skin
While in the world the Covid-19 pandemic is still actual and a lot of countries are still in some kind of lockdown, and a lot of employees, consultants but also business leaders are troubled about the future of our economy, Valérie Vroome, a ‘young’ woman of 52 years, pharmacist in Antwerpen (Belgium) with a degree in Cosmetic Sciences from the University of Brussel, passionate since her early childhood by skincare, is not afraid. She waited with patience a ‘back to normal’ and is now launching her first line of 4 skincare products: Skincare by VV. A Belgian entrepreneur who believes that Belgium as the rest of the world need to take the things back in their own hands, that you have to continue to innovate and re-inventing yourself in this new world we woke up in. Her concept: “Keep looking great whatever your age is. Beauty is not only having a healthy skin, it’s a combination of feeling beautiful and being beautiful! No miracles. Just results.” And she does not stop here. She is using crowdfunding to finalize her project and more particularly her packaging. Preoccupied by the self-esteem of young girls, Valérie Vroome commits to the « Little Hearts Organisation » to redistribute a payback per box sold for their project in Cambodia.
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Skincare by VV… and Valérie Vroome can’t wait to meet you and your audience.
How has the idea to create
a skin care line started?
Valérie Vroome was born in 1967 in Ostend (Belgium), where her father managed a pharmacy.
Since her early childhood she was fascinated by cosmetics and skincare. The walls of her bedroom were lined with pictures of the icons and models from the 80-ies. Therefor it was normal that she wanted to pursue her studies in cosmetics. But this orientation did not exist as such, so the next best thing was to graduate as pharmacist, which she did at the University of Gent. A few years later she also added a Master in cosmetic sciences at the VUB.
She started her professional career at Johnson & Johnson Consumer, for the brands Neutrogena and RoC. She was responsible for the scientific support of both brands. Three years later she started at the Laboratoires Pierre Fabre with the same role but moved to a marketing function. In 2002, her mentor, Geert Cauwenbergh at Johnson & Johnson Consumer founded his own company, Barrier Therapeutics. And it was a natural move to follow him in this new adventure. She became responsible for the world-wide marketing (ex us) of a line of dermatologic drugs. In 2008 when Stiefel acquired Barrier Therapeutics, Valérie Vroome became Medical Director Europe in charge of a filler and so came back to her passion: the world of esthetics and cosmetics. When Stiefel got acquired by GSK she gave her career a new orientation. She bought a pharmacy in the old center of Antwerpen. In 2010, when she met the people behind the brand pHformula, Valérie Vroome saw immediately the huge potential of this brand for the beauticians in Belgium, Luxembourg and France. She started the distribution of the products while continuing managing her pharmacy.
Ten years ago, when she just became 40, Valérie Vroome promised herself to create her own brand. But at that moment she did not dare. And then at the age of 49, she got diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. Valérie Vroome, as she tells the story herself, was completely out for the major part of 2017. I was already happy that both companies were up and running without too much problems. But being sick made me think a lot about my life, my dreams and my goals and strangely gave me a boost. I had this double ‘aha’ moment. The first was one evening during a long conversation I had with a very dear friend. He made me realise that I had all the necessary skills to be successful. The other moment was when one of the nurses during one of the many chemotherapies pointed out that ‘now is always the best moment’ and if I didn’t start the project I might regret it my whole life. So, I started. »
In september 2020, Valérie Vroome launches as a presale her first line of 4 skincare products « Made in Belgium », Skincare by VV.
From dream … to reality
« During my career, I took the habit to keep all the creams that I liked in a box that I stored in my bathroom. From each of them, I took the elements that I liked, so this skincare line reflected completely what I think and how I see skin care. I have observed that the most potent products are in less attractive packaging and the other way around. I didn’t want that to happen to my products»
The starting point for Skincare by VV was identifying the most potent molecules so that every woman has a beautiful, glowing and fresh skin every day of the year. « I have searched until I found the texture that I liked, the smell that was appropriate and naturally, seen my background, the perfect formulation that makes the difference on the skin. You needed to really see the difference»
End 2018, beginning 2019, Valérie Vroome started to contact the professionals from the cosmetic world. During my training as a pharmacist, I studied the texture of creams, but developing a high-end cream with special sensory features is a specialism. I met a colleague pharmacist who is specialized in this kind of developments. She understood directly what I was looking for. I took my time to develop the 4 products, insisting of ingredients that had to be incorporated in the formulations, looking for the perfect sensation when applied of the skin. This led to a day cream, a night cream, a serum and a cleanser.
After that, Valérie Vroome started looking for a packaging. « I wanted that using the products was a complete experience. It is like when you buy a new smartphone. The best moment is when you open the box and remove the protective film from the phone. That moment has some magic and I wanted to create the same feeling with the packaging…»
How can we buy the products ?
The products are sold online. But Valérie Vroome has the intention to open some handpicked selling points. She targets some luxe boutiques, high-end hair dressers, beauticians and boutique hotels. I would also like to sell in the boutiques on board of cruise ships, but we will have to see with the COVID-19 pandemic how the things will evolve.
She has also developed a set of miniatures, so that women interested in the brand can test the products first. These kits are available on the website. The Set of 4 miniature products can be bought for 39 €. (www.skincarebyvv.com).
A payback for Little Hearts
Valérie Vroome is not only a pharmacist, an entrepreneur, an active woman with a passion for skincare, but also a woman, a mom with a big hart. Valérie Vroome, with Skincare by VV, supports « Little Hearts Organisation » (www.littlehearts.be), a association that helps young people in Cambodia.
« I have the intention to develop a training program for young women in Cambodia. It has started to improve the self-image of women. I think that women are, in general, too hard on themselves. A lot of young women lose their potential because of the poor self-image they have» Valérie Vroome explains. « I have finished a master degree in NLP (neurolinguistics programming) only because I was intrigued by the content of the training and for my personnel development. During my training, who knows a lot about how (self) imposed beauty ideals can affect the self-confidence, I realized that a lot of convictions and values that I carried with me for many years were false or at least misleading »
Why Cambodia ?
Valérie Vroome has chosen to help Cambodian girls because they live in one of the poorest countries of Asia. It happens frequently that parents abandon their children because they cannot pay for the education, or because they leave for another country hoping for a better life. « I have a friend that talked about this organization, led by her brother, who welcome these children in a home. Not only they offer a roof and food, but also give those kids the necessary skills, such as English, computer, …. But once their school finished, they leave the orphanage and have to take care of themselves. I wanted to help here, to give them some basic skills you do not learn at school so they can be more resilient in life. It is not because they had a rocky start that they have to settle for a rocky life», Valérie Vroome tells.
A payback of 2 € for every product purchased (Link: little hearts)
The idea is that I go once or twice a year to Cambodia to give a workshop. Three of 4 days to make those young women aware of their self-worth.
For each product sold, Valérie Vroome will donate 2 € to ‘Little Hearts Organisation’.
Valérie Vroome doesn’t want to give only money to this organization. « I think that is too easy. I want to contribute with some concrete actions in the field. With all the luck I had in my life, I want to payback, to reimburse all the good that life has brought me, because I have the conviction that you have to be grateful for what life has given you. I had the chance to live in a nice house, to give my daughter a good education, a good start in life, but it is not only my life that counts, there are many lives that can be better…»