Discussing Design with Vasiliki Petrou, Unilever Prestige 14th May 2020 | IN EXPERT INSIGHT | BY SBID

Meet Vasiliki Petrou

group ceo and executive vice president, Unilever Prestige

Vasiliki joined Unilever in November 2012 after completing a 19-year career with Procter & Gamble.  In P&G, Vasiliki led various global, regional and local roles mainly in the Beauty Category primarily working in skin, hair and colour cosmetics. Vasiliki’s first role in Unilever was creating the Pitch Co-Creation (Innovation) Centres in London and New York. Vasiliki also led the development of strategic macro space work that has been pivotal in defining the strategy, innovation pipeline and expertise of the Beauty and Personal Care Category.  In 2014, Vasiliki started the creation of the Prestige division from the beginning. Since then, Vasiliki led the acquisition of 7 companies Dermalogica, Murad, Kate Somerville, Ren, Garancia, Living Proof, and Hourglass. Vasiliki leads a team of 8 CEOs and a central multi-functional team that decide strategic priorities, resource allocation and growth strategy for the portfolio. Vasiliki also is in charge of continuous M&A with the objective to growing current portfolio approximately €540m in turnover to €1 billion. Vasiliki is known to have created a first in organisation design of the Prestige business model of the “string of pearls” that is Brand and Founder Centric and innovates in new models of marketing and omni-channel.

Vasiliki is a champion of female entrepreneurs. Passionate about mentoring young people, supporting female leaders, creative talent, and doing social good, Vasiliki is the Chairwoman of the Cosmetic Executive Women, leading industry association in Beauty in the UK.

luxury industry, Discussing Design with Vasiliki Petrou, Unilever Prestige

How do you define luxury, and how is it evolving?

Luxury can mean a multitude of things, but for the beauty industry, and my brands, it has evolved in recent time to mean “experience”. We know our consumers naturally seek out style and slick aesthetics, which the brands within the Unilever Prestige portfolio deliver – but more than ever we see them craving more than this. They want either the human touch, or personalisation, something that feels bespoke to them. It’s this that elevates something from simply stylish design to true luxury.

luxury industry, Discussing Design with Vasiliki Petrou, Unilever Prestige
luxury industry, Discussing Design with Vasiliki Petrou, Unilever Prestige

What lifestyle changes are influencing the design of products?

Our audience definitely like style, but they need simplicity and ease of use too. Lifestyles today are hectic and we’re busier than ever before, so products that look good but also deliver great results are key. For our brands, the best designs are those that look great, offer a different sensorial experience, but that are also easy to navigate.

How can the luxury industry lead the way as a pioneer in sustainability?

I’m proud that our brands are leading the way in sustainability for the luxury beauty space. REN is continuously the first to go to market with new initiatives whether it’s using PCR or embracing new ways of recycling to minimise the impact on the environment. This is not simply a trend, but a must-have. We put a large amount of resources into looking at our sustainable solutions, and work hand-in-hand with retailers – when it comes to sustainability, we all have to be in it together.

luxury industry, Discussing Design with Vasiliki Petrou, Unilever Prestige
luxury industry, Discussing Design with Vasiliki Petrou, Unilever Prestige

The cross-pollination of brands and experiences continues to grow. What future collaborations do you think would be successful, and why?

We’re always open to partnerships and are excited by the growing fusion between beauty and the health, fitness and wellness industries at the moment. We definitely see this continuing to grow as the increase in our openness to more holistic health and beauty solutions increases. But beyond that, there are no rules anymore…influencers who were once focused solely on beauty have now expanded to fashion, fitness, interiors, etc… This opens up a lot of exciting new doors for partnerships that will reach a new, but engaged, audience.

Vasiliki is one of the prestigious experts invited to join the extraordinary jury for the SBID Product Design Awards, alongside other renowned professionals across industrial and interior design, brand development, architecture, educational research and forward-thinking enterprise.

Click here to view the full judging panel.

The SBID Product Design Awards 2020 entry deadline has been extended! 

To find out more about entering, visit www.sbidproductdesignawards.com