Everyday wellbeing is a highly personal matter, but having the right tools at one’s disposal makes it easy to decide upon the right regimen. In that way, the decisions made by those in charge of beauty, wellbeing and home care products have their work cut out for them: how is it possible to anticipate such specific wants and needs?
The answer, as far as the Mibelle Group CEO Peter Müller is concerned, is to concentrate on the formidable ability to make a difference in the lives of his customers. “You can really develop and implement your ideas to create value for consumers, and for me, it’s fascinating,” he says. “Being able to pioneer everyday wellbeing for so many people is what gets me up in the morning, and sometimes even in the middle of the night.”
Originally the exclusive producer of home and personal care products for Switzerland’s Migros retail chain, the Mibelle Group has expanded across the entire continent – and the myriad brands therein – over the past 20 years. “It’s a fair mix of working with brand owners and the private label world as well as having our own brands,” Peter says. “That gives us quite an insight into different industry categories, and we’re then able to make the best use of what we learn about those trends.”
The end result is, he says, a range of high-quality, innovative products at a reasonable cost that satisfy both customers and consumers. “And to be clear, our strategy for the future is to focus more on the consumers beyond Europe and into Asia and North America,” Peter says. “This is what we’ve done over the past few years, and it’s what we want to continue to do.”
Focus on sustainability
It’s quite the statement of intent from the new CEO, a position he only took on in late 2021. A seven-year veteran of the company, Peter’s experience as Head of Supply Chain for the Mibelle Group was the perfect primer for the role he’s now making his own. “Right now, I’m setting up a new management team and, in a way, implementing a new way of working and thinking I’d like to see in the Mibelle Group.”
From cosmetics to dental care to detergents to cooking oil and even biochemistry, the Mibelle Group’s offerings are robust and cleverly engineered. Under Peter’s watch, sustainability has become a focus across the board, a change that’s already paying dividends. “We recently received a packaging award,” he says. “We started with carbon dioxide recycling and there’s much more to come.”
People want fewer chemicals in what they use on their faces or as a household cleaner, so I believe sustainability is very much core for us as a company.
Those changes will extend beyond packaging and deeper into product formulas. The Mibelle Group’s biochemistry division strongly favours natural ingredients, but has also found innovative ways to use them. “People want fewer chemicals in what they use on their faces or as a household cleaner, so I believe sustainability is very much core for us as a company,” Peter says. “It’s in our DNA; Migros has on a number of occasions been named the most sustainable retailer in the world.”
Quick to adapt
Innovation was also a critical tool in a very different situation: the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost overnight, consumer attention shifted from beauty products to cleansers. “We were able to adapt quite quickly,” Peter says. “We developed solutions and new products in a short amount of time because there was suddenly a huge growth in sanitisers, soaps and disinfectants. Even though it was dramatic, we made the most of it and saw an increase in turnover as a result.”
Despite the global economic downturns that accompanied the pandemic, Peter says the Mibelle Group is in a strong position almost three years on. “When you have to make quick changes in harsh conditions, it’s always difficult, but I’m very proud of our response.”
You can make such a difference in beauty and wellbeing, and that’s what I love about the industry. You can have a real impact on someone’s everyday life.
And for that, Peter credits the Mibelle Group’s strong team. “The good-old days where one person makes all the decisions are definitely over,” he says. “What’s important now is that you have a team that trusts in each other and also challenges each other.”
The worst thing that can happen to a company, he says, is a room full of yes people. “What we thought was right in the past isn’t always so in the future, and you need to have people who not only recognise that but call it out when necessary,” Peter says. “You have to have an open discussion throughout the entire team, communication that can be understood at every level.”
While beauty and home care is an industry with a lot of history, Peter believes there’s still new ground to break. “The most important question is always, ‘Where can you support your consumer?’” he says. “You can make such a difference in beauty and wellbeing, and that’s what I love about the industry. You can have a real impact on someone’s everyday life.”