By Elisabeth King
Escentials Brands is on track to give the celebrity fragrance category a major jolt this summer. On November 1st, the boutique beauty company is launching Moonlight, the latest signature fragrance from Ariana Grande. The triple-platinum superstar wowed Australian fans in early September with her Dangerous Woman World Tour. Ariana’s extraordinary ability to connect emotionally with her fans has played a major role in the success of her fragrance franchise, says Nicole Bowman, General Manager, Escentials Brands.
Backed by millions of Instagram followers, a major form of advertising for celebrity perfumes, Ariana’s fragrances are a true expression of her inspiring presence and charisma, says Bowman. “Her first fragrance, Ari, debuted in 2015, and last year’s launch - Sweet Like Candy - hit 80 percent of its sales. A fantastic result that propelled the duo to number one and number two rankings in Priceline. In less than two years, 220,000 units of Ariana Grande fragrances have been sold in Australia.
We are conﬁdent that Moonlight will also be a major success, adds Bowman. “Every individual celebrity brand has to be taken on its own merit these days. You can’t bank solely on a famous name. A celebrity has to be a role model for the projects and ventures they care about. Ariana has been very hands-on with her fragrance collection and she has really given it life after the initial introduction to build a strong on-going business”.
Escentials Brands also had a major celebrity-backed hit with Justin Bieber’s first fragrance, but we have always been a multi-channel player across all price levels, says Harv Kler, Managing Director of Escentials Brands.
“Our current portfolio is more wide-ranging than when we launched ﬁve years ago. In addition to Ariana Grande, our stable includes Trussardi, Jean Patou, Atkinsons of London, Shay & Blue, Ted Lapidus, Jacques Bogart, Rock & Ruddle hair brushes and more recently Personail”.
Personail nail polish strips rolled out in 20 David Jones stores and selected pharmacies in August, says Bowman. “The brainchild of Alice Ho, it’s an Australian brand and she sold over 120,000 units in markets and online since founding the company in 2015. Unlike anything else on the Australian market, Personail is 100 percent nail polish on vinyl which adheres to the nail and eliminates drying time. There’s no smudging and no salon time. Women can achieve perfect nails in an easy ﬁve-step process - buﬀ, peel, press, ﬁle and swipe top coat”.
The price is right, too - $15.99 for a packet of 16 - says Bowman. “There are over 200 designs and we have the top thirty. November will see the launch of limited edition Christmas and children’s ranges. Allergy-free, non-damaging to nails and consumers don’t have to use a UV lamp to achieve perfect nails that last for 10 days and up to three weeks with a top coat”.
Using the right brushes has become a major beauty trend and it’s even more important to select the right hair brush. The wrong brush can lead to more hair breakage and frizz; the right choice delivers good hair days on demand. We launched the iconic Rock & Ruddle brand from the UK in 2014, predominantly in David Jones and key select pharmacies, says Bowman.
Rock & Ruddle is available in all David Jones stores and enjoys a top 15 ranking in general cosmetics, thanks to a 35 percent increase in sales. “In August, we launched the much-anticipated Metallic range, a very glam take on the brand’s classic natural brushes in silver, gold, rose gold and an iridescent green and purple - $44.95 for the small brushes and $64.95 for the large ones”.
Retail assistants love Rock & Ruddle brushes because they are easy to identify by their array of stunning designs and they live up to their promises, says Bowman. “They brush the hair without pulling, stimulate hair growth and help to de-tangle knots and prevent frizziness. Rock & Ruddle is also a great gifting brand because they have a design for all ages and personalities”.
Escentials Brands has carved out a major reputation in luxury fragrance brands. Jean Patou was one of our founding brands and is still going great guns, says Kler. “We’ve always kept the range selective - Joy, Joy Forever and Sublime - which is the right approach for both David Jones and select pharmacy accounts. Trussardi has been very well-received because of its heritage and made-in-Italy appeal. We launched the brand in 2014 in six David Jones, but double digit each season has expanded the brand’s presence to 24 David Jones stores”.
In September, three new Trussardi fragrances were launched. Riﬂesso, a modern woody oriental for men, is fronted by European fashion inﬂuencer, Andre Hamann, who has one million Instagram followers. “It got oﬀ to a great start at the Vogue Fashion Night Out event in Sydney through a whisky bar set up in Market Street in partnership with David Jones”, says Bowman. “The other two launches - Amber Oud for men and The Black Rose for women - are more intense and contain some of the most expensive ingredients used in perfumery such as amber, oud and roses from Taif in the Middle East”.
Atkinsons of London will launch two new fragrances, California Poppy and Pirates’ Grand Reserve with David Jones later this year; both are a great addition to the Atkinsons portfolio. The famous Atkinsons Bear and hostess will continue to roam throughout the Elizabeth Street store promoting the brand during Christmas.
Jacques Bogart, a French designer brand that dates back to the 1970s, has enjoyed a spectacular revival in the past 10 years, says Kler. “Bogart’s men’s scents are great value for money and they smell really good. Silver Scent has sold over 130,000 units in Australia and Club 75 is exclusive to Priceline. Ted Lapidus with fragrances such as Altamir has also done well in pharmacy. Both brands showcase our ability to penetrate the important pharmacy market, in addition to our success in prestige and luxury”.
TV shopping networks such as HSN and QVC in the US and TVSN in Australia were best known for mass-market and celebrity fragrances in the past. But just as Amazon now sells prestige fragrances, TV shopping networks have also built up a brisk trade in prestige and luxury perfumes and beauty products on both sides of the Paciﬁc. Dom De Vetta, a former Senior Vice president of Chanel and Global General Manager of Jo Malone, founded Shay & Blue in London in 2012 with a strong commitment to quality fragrances based on traditional methods.
Many people have an out-of-date view of people who shop on TV shopping networks, says Bowman. “Contrary to popular wisdom, they do like newness and appreciate quality. We launched Shay & Blue on TVSN in July and the response was so good that we were invited back for a live show in August and two more through to January. TVSN shoppers also have the time to listen to the whole story which is great for an artisan brand like Shay & Blue. Classics such as Amber Rose, Blood Oranges and Salt Caramel have sold very well and people have come into David Jones stores asking about the brand because they have seen it on TVSN”.
With a renewed emphasis on the brand in a channel that was underexposed to prestige fragrances, Escentials Brands is launching three new Shay & Blue fragrances in October, says Bowman. “English Cherry Blossom, Blueberry Musk and Dandelion Fig are based on real ﬂowers, fruit and spices and are all great choices for summer. They really showcase the creativity of Julie Masse, Shay & Blue’s ‘nose’.
It’s not enough to spark consumer interest in a product or put marketing muscle behind a launch anymore. A beauty business has to give back to the community, says Kler. “Consumers today expect the brands they buy and love to work with charities and support projects. We have supported some of Australia’s most hard-working charities since we started the company”.
Escentials Brands is a gold sponsor of Wheelchair Sports NSW and “We have donated over ten specialised sports wheelchairs over the last ﬁve years”, says Kler. “We also work with the Sydney Special Children’s Christmas Party which helps thousands of kids enjoy the festive season. Other charities we support are CareFlight, the life-saving aeromedical service, Rotary Club Manly and PLAN International Australia, which works with communities all over the world to provide water, sanitation, education and more. Gone are the days when donations were all about tax breaks. It’s become crucial for companies to engage more deeply in their philanthropic eﬀorts”.
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