Helping to drive today’s boom in niche fragrances and high-end skin care are a crop of prestige retailers sprinkled around the world. With no more than 20 doors on average, they cherry pick rising brands considered promising and that chime with their consumers. Galilu in Poland, Crème de la Crème in the Baltics and Art of Scent in the Philippines are among them. “These people are really building the fragrance business of tomorrow,” said Caius von Knorring, a cofounder and chief executive officer of niche French perfume brand Matière Première.
Here, a look at such retailers.
Founded in 2005, Galilu is the point of reference for niche beauty in the Polish market. It counts five stores in the country, including three in Warsaw, one in Cracow and one in Gdansk, each displaying a different yet sleek and modern interior concept. Boosted by a strong focus on consultancy services offered by sales assistants, Galilu made a name for itself for its vast catalogue showcasing more than 70 brands, ranging from established players like Serge Lutens, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, Kilian and Penhaligon’s to emerging ones, such as Abel and Altaia. Upcoming additions to the assortment will be Les Liquides Imaginaires and Les Eaux Primordiales, while the retailer is also readying new openings across the biggest Polish cities.
Crème De La Crème
After starting out as distributor in 2008, Crème De La Crème launched its own stores that quickly multiplied across Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In addition to 12 Crème de la Crème Haute Parfumerie boutiques, the company also operates a duty-free door of niche fragrances at the Vilnius airport and two monobrand units for Jo Malone London as a separate business. Also hinged on a non-chain feeling — with each store sporting a different, bold interior — Crème de la Crème shops carry almost 90 brands, including Ex Nihilo Paris, Floraïku, Montale and BDK Parfums. One of the retailer’s forte, creative marketing plays a key role in attracting shoppers and is boosted by collaborations with talented visual artists and the participation to art fairs with dedicated installations. In the near future, Crème de la Crème will revamp three of its stores to expand floorspace, open five new units — including one featuring a Champagne bar — as well as operate two additional Jo Malone doors. While a new format for lifestyle brands and home fragrances is being developed, at the end of last year, the company also launched a new retail concept dedicated to skin care. Dubbed “Les Moralistes,” this is set to expand into a larger chain in the near future.
Art of Scent
The first niche fragrance boutique of the Philippines, Art of Scent kicked off its retail journey in 2010. At the moment, the retailer has two doors in Metro Manila — one at Resorts World Manila and the other at the One Shangri-La Plaza mall — but two more units will be unveiled this year, including the first outside the area, at the Nustar Resorts and Casino luxury destination in Cebu City. It will additionally launch its first shop-in-shop format inside the SM department store in Makati, as well as continue its scouting activity to bring a more international fragrance offering to the Philippines. Recently, Art of Scent has added brands like Miller Harris and Ojar to its assortment, which currently counts more than 25 labels including Amouage, Juliette Has a Gun, Memo Paris, Alexandre.J and Nasomatto, among others.
Skins Cosmetics launched in 2000 with the ambitious goal to import into the Netherlands yet undiscovered brands across the perfume, makeup and skin care categories. In two decades, the format expanded its scope to other countries, from the nearby Belgium to South Africa, for a total of 18 doors in locations including Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam in the Netherlands; Ghent, Belgium, and Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to offering 113 brands of the likes of Creed, Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Susanne Kaufmann, Skins Cosmetics focuses on enhancing services in-store, including staging master classes with industry experts or in collaboration with the brands in its portfolio. For one, it offers three different levels of program dedicated to fragrances, centered on retracing the history of perfume; train visitors to identify fragrance families through blind smelling, and exploring raw materials and key ingredients.
The Di Liello family behind Campomarzio70 has a long-standing affair with perfumes, first initiated in the 1940s and sealed by the launch of the first store in Rome in 1996. But it was only in 2011 that the family business accelerated, when The Essential Gallery retail concept was introduced in the Italian capital, marked by a new, sophisticated layout and international selection of artisanal fragrances. Today, the retailer has more than 20 doors, divided into direct stores, shops-in-shop and franchisers, scattered across Italy — ranging from Florence and Milan to luxury resort destinations such as Porto Cervo and Forte dei Marmi — as well as in Sofia, Bulgaria. The company is to further cement its presence in Italy with new openings in the Southern regions, carrying its assortment of 40 high-end niche brands. These include fragrances by the likes of Xerjoff, Perris, Orto Parisi and D’Orsay; skin care by Bakel, Insìum and Perennae, and design pieces by Fornasetti, L’Objet and Yusufy, among others.