Has Johanna Monange found the formula that will finally bring luxury perfumery into the new millennium? By combining quality ingredients, personalisation, accessibility, digital and experiential, she has succeeded in fulfilling the key expectations of young consumers with a brand that is refined, luxurious, without being haughty... And the success is there with a dazzling expansion!
From Singapore to Asia and the rest of the world
Today, the brand has three outlets in Singapore’s most prestigious locations: after opening a boutique in the chic Duxton district, Maison 21G entered the luxurious Marina Bay Sands shopping centre in July, before recently moving to the Takashimaya Shopping Centre on Orchard Road. On the export front, the brand has already established itself in Hong Kong, Australia and Thailand, and is about to make its debut in the Middle East, with the support of the Chalhoub Group, and in the United States at Bloomingdale’s.
The next stop for the brand, is China of course, where growth rates in niche perfumery are skyrocketing, with plans for a boutique opening as early as 2022, then probably Europe, with a boutique in Paris in 2023. But the priority remains Asia, where Maison 21G believes it is well placed to meet the strong demand for quality and original fragrances from the younger generation.
Disrupt niche perfumery
Like others, Johanna Monange, founder and CEO of the young brand, has observed the disruption of make-up by direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands. To achieve the same results in the world of perfumes, this former IFF chose to target young consumers in South Asia, China and India where, with a penetration rate of less than 1%, niche perfumery has significant growth potential. She relied on influencers and above all on a brand concept that was innovative, consistent and reassuring.
"We have strived to reinvent the entire customer experience, both online and in retail. We offer many possibilities for customising perfumes, but also bottles while offering high quality, transparent and sustainable French perfumery," explains the founder.
Maison 21G offers a range of 35 combinable fragrances, developed with IFF’s perfumers. It is thus possible to create one’s made-to-measure perfumes on-demand using ad hoc technology. If they wish so, consumers can be guided in their creation by a quiz - online or in-store - based on their personality, favourite fragrances and ingredients. And of course, the 30 ml bottles can also be personalised with a message and an image. A double roller bottle concept has even been developed to allow customers to adapt their perfume to the different moments of the day.
Along the same line, the brand has wanted to unleash the creativity of customers with its range of home fragrances! Maison 21G has designed Dual Candles that allow two different scents to be easily combined to create a personalised home ambience. A set of mini candles also made to be combined at will, allows creating the unique olfactory signature of one’s home. Finally, the Luciole Olfactive oil burner allows the twelve scented oils of the Maison 21G collection to be combined to create the desired ambience, for indoor or outdoor use.
Most of the fragrances are mixed fragrances, and all are 100% vegan, free of preservatives, GMOs, CMR substances and phthalates. The bottles are refillable and the brand aims for zero plastic waste.
Proximity and education
To make its young customers feel at ease, the brand has freed itself from the lingo of perfumery experts. Maison 21G does not refer to chypre or citrus fragrances but to ingredients: bergamot, jasmine, rose, citrus fruits... "New World wines have succeeded in making their mark worldwide with a simple approach based on grape varieties. In the same way, I believe that the narrative on perfumes should be made accessible to as many people as possible," stresses Johanna Monange.
The choice of small sizes (30ml), which are more affordable (less than 100 dollars) than large sizes, follows the same logic. The small formats also help to maintain the interest of Millennials and Gen Z, the core target of Maison 21G, who are fond of new products but not very loyal, and who can thus more easily build up a varied "olfactory wardrobe".
Again to bring the brand closer to its consumers, Johanna Monange very quickly relied on influencers and invested in social media. "We invited KOLs to create their own perfumes, to try our discovery kits, to educate themselves about perfume," she explains.
The IRL experience has not been forgotten, with in-store workshops, on reservation, and an omnichannel shopping experience allowing, among other things, to easily find in-store the olfactory profiles and fragrances created online.
After two successful fundraisings, the brand looks to the future with optimism. "Today, there is a real interest in perfume among the younger generations in Asia, including China," concludes Johanna Monange. "We don’t just offer customisable perfumes, but perfumes that can be adapted to different times of the day, to different seasons, just like clothes."