The FINANCIAL -- LUTECIA Group, one of the largest companies engaged in beauty business in Georgia, is entering a new segment, opening the French Palais des Thés tea house in the capital of Tbilisi this September with this simple idea: to help people discover the rich world of tea and introduce them to its many pleasures.
Palais des Thés is a tea company founded in Paris in 1987. It has 45 special tea shops in France, Japan, Israel, Ireland, Norway, Belgium, Germany and now in Georgia. The company specializes in direct tea sourcing and the commercialization of more than 300 teas as well as tea gifts and accessories.
Located on Chavchavadze Avenue, the Palais des Thés store will be designed to encourage sharing, discovery and discussions. With a cup of tea in hand, all guest s will be welcomed at the store and guided through a scented journey that will offer a glimpse into the rich selection of teas from all over the world.
“During the last five years, our company properly evaluated the Georgian market and we saw that there was an empty space on the market. We saw there was potential in the segment of premium teas and we decided to open a store. I know there is still a lack of culture, for example people still do not know how to prepare real tea. We will introduce this culture in the store as well as guarantee the freshness and quality of tea.
With Palais des Thés, we invite you to discover the cultures of the world,” said the founder and President of LUTECIA Group, Vakhtang Pkhakadze.
While introducing the best teas from all over the world, Pkhakadze is also considering negotiations with local tea brands to offer Georgian tea alongside world famous teas.
“We see that tea plantations have been developing in Georgia recently and there is potential to produce high quality tea locally. I have already negotiated with the Paris office to include Georgian tea in our store in the future. This means that Georgian tea will be sold not only in Tbilisi’s store but in all of the stores which are opened worldwide under the brand Palais des Thés,” Pkhakadze said.
As an innovation-oriented company LUTECIA Group has won its first Golden Brand this year.
“We always strive to be innovators. LUTECIA was the first company to open large-format stores where cosmetics and fragrances are presented on the shelves. Previously, all stores were spread over about 100 m2. We were the first to open the 300 m2 stores of LUTECIA. Some people thought it was crazy to open such large stores but later our competitors also started doing the same. We try not to do things that have already been done in this country. That’s why we received the Golden Brand this year,” said Pkhakadze.
“Also, we were the first and the only ones to have introduced ‘niche brands’ on the market, ones that are easily distinguishable from other products. All of the niche brands are available in the Aromateque Niche Boutique - the first niche boutique which LUTECIA Group opened this year in the Ambassador hotel in Tbilisi,” he added.
Kilian, Tiziana Terenzi, Tom Ford, Penhaligon’s London, Juliette has a Gun, CREED, CASAMORATI, Sospiro, Eccentric Molecules and PARFUMS de MARLY are just some of the niche brands that customers can find at the Aromateque Niche Boutique.
Meanwhile, this year perfume network LUTECIA will be expanding in Georgia and adding two new stores - one in Tbilisi and the other in the Black Sea resort town Batumi. As of today, LUTECIA is positioned with 10 stores in Georgia.
“We are planning regional development. Step by step we will cover all the major cities of Georgia. We choose the locations very carefully, so it takes time and proper planning to expand with new stores,” said Pkhakadze.
Perfumery trade network LUTECIA has the rights of exclusive distribution in Georgia of world famous trademarks such as Estée Lauder, Clinique, DKNY, Zegna, Michael Kors, Tom Ford and many others.
LUTECIA group has a 20 years history of being on the Georgian perfumery market. Besides the perfume stores LUTECIA Group is also running Yves-Rocher, Calzedonia, Intimissimi, Camicissima, and MAC cosmetics.
Q. How has the business environment changed in Georgia and what are the current challenges?
A. The business environment has improved in Georgia over the years. Today the country is safe and our investments are also safe, protected.
As a citizen, and not only a businessman, I can see how things are being changed in Georgia; how tourism is growing; how my friends are becoming active and willing to do more and more business. Today there is such huge potential on the market and empty spaces. I would encourage the youth to find these empty spaces and use this potential, start their own businesses and benefit from it.
The only thing I would like to be changed is that the market needs to be protected from falsification. This should be regulated and the customers should know that they will not be buying fake production. Those companies who do not have right to be the official importers of specific products, should not be allowed to bring the production into the country.
Q. How did the sales volume of LUTECIA Group increase last year and what are your expectations for this year?
A. Since 2012 the sales volume of LUTECIA has increased by 500 percent.
Every year we have about 20-25 percent increase in sales. This year we expect 25 percent growth.
Q. What does good service mean for LUTECIA? How welcome are customers made to feel at LUTECIA stores?
A. In 2012 we decided to change the concept of the service completely. We raised the role of consultants in the stores and they became more appreciated. We started to encourage hardworking consultants by giving them bonuses and sending them abroad for holidays.
Eleven consultants of LUTECIA will soon be flying to Italy where they will be spending a nice time with their loved ones. They won the competition which revealed them to be the best consultants of the year. We conduct several similar types of competitions periodically, reveal the winners and send them abroad on holiday. The only criteria of the competition are how the consultant serves customers.
We also involve our consultants when ordering products. They know better what our customers want, which products are most in demand. As a result, we provide all the products that customers need and are increasing our sales volume. This is beneficial for the customers, for us and for our consultants, as they certainly get bonuses for their good work.
As for the customers, we constantly offer them discounts, bonus cards and special ‘brand days’, during which people get discounts on specific brands of production. Furthermore, we came up with the idea to establish direct communication with our customers and invite them to our ‘LUTECIA Party’.
The first LUTECIA Party was held in 2014. This year the LUTECIA Party was held at the Georgian National Opera Theatre, where more than 500 of our customers were invited to attend a performance of Nino Ananiashvili (the Georgian ballet dancer).
The LUTECIA Party is a way to say thank you to our dear customers for their love and loyalty. Every year the number of our guests is increasing and I am very happy to see this.