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Licensed Fragrance Back on Track?

Since we last looked at licensed fragrances, the business has certainly changed—and it seems that it might be looking up, at least for established celebrities and fashion brands.

Revlon finalized its purchase of Elizabeth Arden on Sept. 7, 2016, forming a beauty enterprise with net sales of approximately $3 billion worldwide. In the latest financial reports—Q3 ending Sept. 30, 2016—Elizabeth Arden’s pro forma net sales were up 4.5% thanks to performance by its designer (Juicy Couture and John Varvatos) and heritage fragrances (3 Curve, Elizabeth Taylor, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera). Performance was strong for both licensed and owned brands internationally, in markets such as South Africa and the U.K.

After completing its merger of Procter & Gamble’s fine fragrance (amongst other) brands, Coty’s stable of licensed brands has grown (see the list here). But note that the world’s third-largest beauty company is planning to divest or discontinue licensed lines representing 6–8% of its net revenue, with a significant portion of these in the fragrance area. Its Q3 results (ending March 31, 2016) improved from last year, especially in the celebrity and mass-market channels, but still modestly declined 1% like-for-like.

Perfumania Holdings reported 18% growth in its Q2 fiscal results (ended July 30, 2016). Michael Katz, President & CEO of Perfumania, cited Vince Camuto, Rihanna, and Tommy Bahama as strong performers—new fragrances launched in 2016 included branded offerings from Vince Camuto, Rihanna, and Paris Hilton. Katz noted that “we are targeting additional fashion-house license partners to expand our growing designer brand portfolio as this fragrance category has grown increasingly attractive to our consumer base.”

New Kid on the Block

One celebrity undaunted by the celebrity fragrance downtrend is Melanie Martinez, who is releasing her official fragrance “Cry Baby Perfume Milk” on Dec. 12, 2016 through her own direct to consumer site. In a first for Atlantic Records, which holds the license for Melanie Martinez, the fragrance is being distributed by Atlantic via Warner Music Artist Services div. Warner Music Group.

Alix Kram, VP Global Consumer Products for Warner Music Artist Services, explains that “it was clear that nothing about this project would be traditional given Melanie’s creative goal, her direct relationship with her fan base, and the strength of her own webstore.” Targeting females aged 13–24 years-old, the scent will most likely be the first introduction to fine fragrance for Melanie’s audience.

The fragrance was developed with Catherine Selig of fragrance house Takasago. Brands with Purpose orchestrated the fragrance development, including the creative development partner, manufacturing partner, and fragrance house (Takasago).


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