It is a long-term job that is starting to bear fruit. Launched in 2012, Cristiane Vilar’s project, which aims to make Brazilian consumers discover rare perfumes, had first materialized in the opening of a showroom store in the federal capital in June 2015. “Our store in Brazilia is much more than a point of sale,” explains Cristiane Vilar, founder and manager of Cosmopolitan do Brasil. “It is a place dedicated to training and discovery. We train retailers and introduce them to brands and products.”
It should be said that if Brazilians are major perfume consumers, niche perfumery was almost completely unknown on this market before Cosmopolitan was created. “We had to put a lot of effort into communication, education, and explanations at first,” Cristiane Vilar emphasizes. “But we soon noticed there was a real interest. We got a lot of coverage in the press, and several distributors approached us. Just like in any country, distributors look for new products.”
Cosmopolitan can also rely on the transformation of the perfumes and cosmetics distribution network in Brazil. With Sephora entering the market in 2012 and multibrand chain The Beauty Box created by the Boticário group, the market situation changed, as consumers’ purchase habits got transformed. “In all big Brazilian cities, there are small selective distribution networks trying to differentiate themselves from Sephora and The Beauty Box, but also online stores, a few of which are fed by smuggling networks,” Cristiane Vilar explains. As a matter of fact, the company identified about 500 perfume stores likely to distribute this type of products, before making a first selection, depending on the quality of the points of sale.
“Owners have really warmly welcomed us. There was a genuine curiosity for the products we offer, but very limited, even inexistent knowledge in niche perfumery. We had to train them a lot.” As regards this aspect, in Brazil and elsewhere, brands’ storytelling is a key factor of success.
In addition to its showroom store in Brasilia and online store, today Cosmopolitan has about ten clients all around Brazil, including in the north-east of the country, which is still little explored by major distributors. “I strongly believe in the potential of Nordeste, which consumes three times more perfumes per person than the southern part of the country. But they are really used to light hesperidia perfumes,” Cristiane Vilar specifies.
However, according to Cosmopolitan’s creator, consumers are really open to new products. “They like being surprised and enjoy originality. They will know how to make a difference between a precious, particular perfume intended for special occasions, and a perfume worn on a daily basis.”
If the Brazilian market is very promising, it is important to be aware of its limits and difficulties. Beyond educating consumers, registration procedures and costs, duties, and various other taxes result in delays and significant extra costs. According to Cristiane Vilar, nationalization costs lead to a rise in products’ final selling price of 30 to 40%. “It can take time to get sales results, which is why we only select brands that have enough financial strength.”
For the moment, Cosmopolitan do Brasil has chosen to work only with French brands, by offering an olfactory journey between perfumery from the region of Provence (Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger, Molinard), and historic and contemporaneous Parisian perfumery (Frapin, E. Coudray, Téo Cabanel, Institut Très Bien, Berdoues Grands Crus, etc.). We will be there to follow their adventure!