Friday, September 22, 2023
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Curio Brands Acquires Otherland

by News Desk

Curio Brands, the parent company of Thymes and Capri Blue, has filled out its trifecta of brands.

It acquired Otherland, the candle company founded in 2017 by Abigail Cook Stone, which is distributed in Sephora, Nordstrom and Anthropologie.

“We’ve grown from being digitally native and just having our website to now expanding our footprint into omnichannel,” Stone said. “To fulfill that role of being omnichannel, there is so much left out there for us — Amazon, wholesale expansion — and this is the place where we plug in with the Curio platform and what their brands have been able to achieve.”

Abigail Cook Stone and Sayyid Markar.

Stone founded the brand after working as an art buyer for Ralph Lauren, and saw visual cues as the key to selling fragrances online. “In the idea of creating a digitally native fragrance brand, bringing this art-forward component and a maximalist approach to design was important because we had this question of how do we get people to buy stuff online before they smell it,” Stone said. “How do we get them over that hurdle of not smelling it first, and through creating these really impactful visuals?”

That strategy seems to be working. Executives declined to comment on sales, though industry sources said the brand reached roughly $10 million in sales in 2022.

The digital component of the business is part of what drew Anne Sempowski Ward, chief executive officer of Curio Brands. “We have a very strong development on our own dotcoms in Curio Brands,” she said. “But this adds a whole new lens on how you really take a brand from a digitally native [stage] and put it into the market.”

She also didn’t rule out any channel or product category for expansion. “We’ve only scratched the surface and we plan to scratch even more of those opportunities to expand,” Sempowski Ward said. “We’re in over 11,000 doors, and that includes retailers like Anthropologie and Nordstrom, but it also includes many boutiques, as well as Amazon. There are so many more channels for us to expand in.”

Anne Sempowski Ward

Sempowski Ward is also thinking about innovation in the same vein as Thymes and Capri Blue. “There are some closer in the home fragrance category beyond candles, such as diffusers. There’s product categories that we know how to do, and we have a whole library of, and already doing that we can bring to the Otherland brand,” she said. 

It’s the brand positioning that’s helping her differentiate between her portfolio. “The beauty of this is that we have an absolutely different positioning than our other two brands. It’s a different consumer target, when you think about the Gen Z target,” Sempowski Ward said. “In 2017, we bought Capri Blue because it was attractive to the Millennial consumer at that time, and Thymes is a more mature brand…our next big opportunities are complementing the consumer target, and bring the back end and all of the pieces we know how to do so well.”

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