Edouard Keller – Managing Director of International Carin Group: What is Lovalova?
Flavie Bénard – Co-founder of Lovalova : Lovalova is zero waste gift packaging that can be reused many times. These packages are made of an innovative paper that is flexible and resistant, even to adhesives. This allows the pouch to be saved for a future gift. The pouches are 100% biosourced, recyclable and compostable, and are made in Europe. They are designed for professionals and individuals.
Flavie Bénard and Anne-Charlotte Bouchet – Co-founders of Lovalova
E.K: What is the story behind this project, and why did you decide to enter this niche?
F.B: One figure in particular caught our attention: 20,000 tons of gift wrapping are thrown away every year at Christmas. That’s a lot! And yet, it’s impossible to do without the traditional gift wrap, so deeply rooted in our culture. For individuals, the solution lies in DIY. On a brand scale, the solution is less obvious! With my partner Anne-Charlotte, we were already in contact with professionals. We asked them the question and the answer was clear: we had to develop a new type of gift wrapping that was standardized and compatible with their needs.
E.K: What is the main difference between Lovalova’s positioning and the other solutions already on the market?
F.B: Lovalova’s strength is the combination of desirability + ecology + accessibility. Desirability + ecology is essential. It is this association that allows us to extend ecology to the notion of pleasure, which the majority of consumers need, especially in these times.
Accessibility, both in use and in the right price. It is this factor that will allow us to reach more people, towards a faster ecological transition. Today, we are the only solution combining these three factors.
E.K: How is this positioning aligned with the expectations of brands and their consumers?
F.B: Brands and stores need to accelerate their ecological transition, with desirable and easy-to-implement solutions. When we talk to them, we can feel that they are spending time on the development of packaging, which is important for the brand’s image and its ecological impact. The challenge is to standardize ecological solutions and make them compatible on a large scale. We have to think about the future of totes bags and cotton pouches, which are not always so ecological, so reusable because they are branded, and which consumers no longer know what to do with. Consumers are looking for new solutions: 74% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging (Trivium and BCG, 2020). Moreover, a simple Google search shows that more than 70 articles have been written on the subject of wasteful gift wrap in 2020. For us, these are strong signals that reinforce our approach.
E.K: Who are your customers?
F.B: Our clients are professionals in the lifestyle sector: brands and boutiques. Our core customers are brands and boutiques that are strongly committed to eco-responsibility, for whom every detail counts. They are also individuals with an ecological sensitivity, who do not want to spend too much money on packaging, nor do DIY.
E.K: Do you think such a project would have made sense 10 or 20 years ago?
F.B: No, I think the topic of waste was still too theoretical. We all knew that there was a problem in our consumption, but without applying it to our daily lives. The subject of ecology was a separate subject, whereas today it is a subject that permeates all our actions. It’s an essential background line.
E.K: And in the future, would you like to go even further in your approach?
F.B: Our ambition is to continue to develop 100% desirable, ecological and accessible gift packaging, to bring back the manufacturing to France, and to start exporting.
E.K: Do you think this model is exportable abroad?
F.B: Packaging is a cultural thing, especially when it comes to gift wrapping. Exporting is only possible if we respect each other’s cultures and practices.
E.K: What role did Covid play in your thinking and its implementation?
F.B: On the one hand, we find that this pandemic has accelerated the awareness around ecology. On the other hand, it has also complicated production. The shortage of raw materials, the rise of e-commerce with all its packaging needs, and the switch from plastic to paper are clearly complicating innovation and production in the paper industry: the factories are overwhelmed.
E.K: Is there another aspect of the project you would like to discuss?
F.B: After a survey of a hundred consumers, we noticed that it didn’t take much to make them aware of the waste of gift paper. At the same time, by discussing with brands and stores, we understood that they needed to communicate about their commitment. Faced with these two observations, we set up the Lovalova planet operation: an awareness campaign for the general public at the end of the year, in which our customers could be included. For this purpose, we have given brands the opportunity to purchase packages consisting of gift bags and media visibility. This also allows them to test this solution in addition to their current packaging, before launching.
E.K: Before leaving you, what can we wish you for the coming months?
F.B: To succeed in our mission to raise awareness by putting a maximum of reusable gift bags in circulation!