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Industry Consumer goods
Founded 1969[1]
Founder Dominique Mandonnaud[1]
Headquarters Paris, France
Key people
Calvin McDonald (President and CEO of Sephora Americas), Chris de Lapuente Global (President & CEO Sephora)
Products Cosmetics & beauty
Revenue USD$4 billion (2013) (estimated)[2]
Parent LVMH

Sephora is a French chain of cosmetics stores founded in 1969.[3][2] Featuring nearly 300 brands,[4] along with its own private label, Sephora offers beauty products including makeup, skincare, body, fragrance, nail color, and haircare. Sephora is owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH as of 1997.[2][5] The Sephora logo is a white "S"-shaped flame against a black background. The name comes from the Greek spelling of Zipporah (Greek: Σεπφώρα, Sepphōra), the most beautiful wife of Moses.


Sephora first launched in Paris in a partnership between the UK's Boots PLC and Nouvelles Galeries as a perfumery chain in 1970. It was purchased by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1993, who merged the purchase with his own perfume chain under the Sephora brand. Mandonnaud is credited for founding and implementing Sephora's "assisted self-service," sales experience, which departed from then-typical retail models for cosmetics by encouraging customers to try products in-store before purchasing.[6][7]

Mandonnaud continued to expand the Sephora brand through the 1990s, opening up its flagship store in Champs Élysées in 1997. In July 1997, Mandonnaud and his partners sold Sephora to LVMH, who expanded the stores globally and bolstered the chain's product offerings to include beauty and cosmetic products.[2]

Sephora's flagship store on Champs Élysées

Sephora opened its first United States store in New York City in 1998 and its first Canadian store in Toronto in 2004.[8][9] Its North American headquarters is located in San Francisco, with corporate offices in New York City and Montréal. Sephora currently operates over 360 stores across North America.[8]

Sephora, Toronto Eaton Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sephora launched its online store to the U.S. in 1999 and into Canada in 2003.[8] The Canadian head office was opened in February 2007 by Marie-Christine Marchives, a former Sephora U.S. and Sephora France employee. Marie-Christine Marchives returned to France in July 2010 to become the general manager of Sephora France. She was replaced in Canada by Klaus Ryum-Larsen. Sephora currently operates over 2,300 stores in 33 countries worldwide [10] generating over an estimated $4 billion in revenue as of 2013.[2][11] As of September 2013, the Sephora at Champs Élysées in Paris, France, attracts over six million people a year.[12]

In 2000, purchased the assets of for "high six-figures".[13][14]

In 2010, Women's Wear Daily named Sephora the specialty retailer of the year.[15][16]

On 18 November 2014, four customers filed a class action lawsuit against Sephora.[17] The suit alleges that Sephora engaged in racial discrimination by wrongfully deactivating the customer rewards accounts of Asian customers under the pretense that these customers were buying products from Sephora in bulk and reselling them.[18][19]

On 1 January 2014, Calvin McDonald replaced David Suliteanu as president and chief executive officer of Sephora Americas. Suliteanu was named CEO of Kendo Brands, another business in the LVMH portfolio.[20]

In 2016, Sephora launched the Virtual Artist app, an augmented reality platform. By uploading a photo, the user can receive a virtual makeover, experimenting with different product and shade combinations.[21][22][23]

In 26 August 2016, Sephora opened its 400th location on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. The store is the city's new flagship location.[24]

On 31 March 2017, Sephora opened its largest retail location in North America near Herald Square. The store is approximately 11,380 square feet and features over 13,000 products. It's one of six Sephora TIP Workshop locations, with interactive services and tools, in North America; the others include San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Santa Clara Valley, and Toronto.[25][26][27]

Subscription service[edit]

In August 2015 it was announced that Sephora would launch a subscription service: Play! By Sephora. The monthly subscription service offers boxes containing five deluxe sample size products and a bonus fragrance sample for $10 a month.[28] Boston, Columbus, and Cincinnati were the only three cities to test the initial service launch in September 2015. The service launched throughout the US in 2016.[29]

In January 2015 Sephora launched FLASH 2-DAY shipping as a $10 annual subscription service. Note: The service is a non-refundable subscription service that automatically renews at the end of every 12 month subscription period unless you cancel.[30]

Insider Loyalty card members can obtain three different statuses. The first is Beauty Insider, which anyone can become upon signing up for the program. Beauty Insiders receive a free birthday gift and free beauty classes. The second is the VIB member, which you obtain after spending $350 in one year. VIB members receives special codes for various sales and samples throughout the year along with a free birthday gift, one free custom makeover, and free beauty classes as well. Individuals in the loyalty program who spend $1,000 or more in one year become VIB Rouge members. Those who reach VIB Rouge status are offered all the perks of the other two levels along with the service for free during the duration of their membership status as VIB Rouge. The perks of the service includes unlimited free 2-day shipping, no minimum purchase required, applies to EVERY order for an entire year.[31] VIB Rouge members also have unlimited access to the beauty studio in store without having to meet the minimum purchase requirements as well as a private hotline to a beauty concierge, whom they can call for advice on purchases. [32]


Sephora features a variety of beauty products from more than 100 brands, including NARS Cosmetics, Make Up For Ever, Too Faced Cosmetics, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Urban Decay, Benefit Cosmetics, Amazingcosmetics, First Aid Beauty, Lancôme Cosmetics, Sunday Riley Skincare, philosophy, YSL Beauty by Yves Saint Laurent, Tatcha,[33] Huda Beauty, Kat Von D, and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.[34] Sephora also features its own make-up, skincare, and beauty tools and accessories. Packaging for the line features the company's elongated flame logo in standard black print.

In 2013, the brand debuted fragrance collections with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and a makeup line with Marc Jacobs.[35]

Sephora Inside JCPenney[edit]

In October 2006, Sephora began opening stores inside JCPenney. Sephora inside JCPenney features some of the same makeup, skincare, and fragrance brands as well as its own product line found in stand alone stores nationwide. Sephora inside JCPenney stores are much smaller than a normal store, usually 1,500 sq ft in size.[36] There are more than 600 Sephora locations in JCPenney stores across the US.[2][37][38]

Environmental record[edit]

Sephora’s sustainable development initiatives were recognized in December 2015.[39] The company received the Sustainable Brand label, as well as the 2015 R Award for eco-design by the Génération Responsible association. Global Cosmetic News reported that Sephora's newly launched display cases have a 30% lighter metal frame that will reduce CO2 emissions by 220 metric tons.[40]


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External links[edit]