Chaudesaigues is a true family business. In 1945 the current owners’ grandfather bought Lauzur, a workshop specializing in making bronze and brass furniture and showcases. Chaudesaigues had prestigious clients like The Ritz and Van Cleef&Arpels.
When competition increased, the company looked for other applications for its expertise. “Following a tender from an architect, we made our first personalized display stand for Yves Saint Laurent perfume. That was a huge success, all other big brands followed,” says General Director Arnaud Chaudesaigues.
The 1980s were a golden age. The French company operated in a niche market with little competition. In the 1990s the demand for cosmetic stands and furniture grew, as more and more well-known fashion brands started their own product lines.
However, competition also increased, and the business experienced a more difficult period. In 1999 Mr. Chaudesaigues’ sister Claire joined the company, followed by Mr. Chaudesaigues himself five years later. They reorganized the business by focusing on the cosmetics segment.
“About 85% of our turnover comes from the cosmetics industry nowadays,” says Mr. Chaudesaigues. “That industry has a lot of small products that need to be highlighted. Jewellery is no longer a market for us, they mostly use standard showcases instead of individualized ones. Fashion and leather companies do not spend a lot on furniture either.”
For the cosmetics market, Chaudesaigues makes furniture runs of 300 to 400 items. The company is competitive on that scale. “For larger runs there are other providers in the market,” says Mr. Chaudesaigues.
The company creates every item in its own metal, wood and electricity workshops. Clients include large department stores like Galerie Lafayette. Chaudesaigues has made large personalized stands for the cosmetics department of various brands, and especially during Christmas there is a demand for extraordinary creations.
“We also made a number of award-winning items, such as our Dolce & Gabbana stand which won the POPAI award,” Mr. Chaudesaigues adds.
In the future, Chaudesaigues will continue the trend for increasingly higher-quality projects to serve the luxury market. In addition to business clients, the company wants to realize special projects for private individuals, as it has done in the past.
“These could be bathrooms, but also unique pieces of furniture,” Mr. Chaudesaigues explains. “We see clear potential for those kinds of projects.” Further internationalization is also on the agenda.
At the moment export generates 30% of Chaudesaigues’ 10 million EUR turnover. The company has been working with a partner in the United States for three years and has clients in other European countries as well.
Chaudesaigues is now busy establishing its first contacts in Canada and is working on certification for various markets. Another clear trend in the coming years will be digitization. “We already have plans to integrate digitization in our furniture in the future,” Mr. Chaudesaigues says. “That will really differentiate us.”