Present in China for 16 years, Grégoire Grandchamp created Next Beauty with wife Lulu Yu, former Vice-President of L’Oréal China. They aim to invest and help “gem” brands make their own place in the local beauty industry. They look for brands with a unique, authentic history and a strategy focused on a positive impact on both the environment and society. But above all, they emphasize the crucial significance of the leading teams. Already an exclusive partner of several beautiful brands, Next Beauty is now helping Matière Première enter the Chinese market with a high-end fragrance range designed by Aurélien Guichard, Creative Director of Takasago.
Millennials and Gen-Z seeking differentiation
“We must remain cautious, but if we look at the facts, in China, there are a few major perfume leaders, like Dior and Chanel, who represent about 50% of the market, and then a few other brands are overrepresented, like Atelier Cologne, Byredo, Dyptique, Jo Malone, and more recently, Francis Kurkdjian, Frédéric Malle, and Maison Martin Margiela. There is definitely something about niche perfumes. Chinese customers are genuinely interested,” explains Grégoire Grandchamp.
This group of customers mainly gathers Millennials and the Generation Z, who seek distinction and differentiation. “They have no complex and are really partial to emerging brands. 20-year-old consumers are much more sophisticated than their elders on all beauty categories – and not just beauty – so it is only natural for them to take interest in perfumes. The market is taking off, in particular niche brands,” adds Grégoire Grandchamp.
Perfumes and the relationship with perfumes are actually changing on this market, one of the biggest in the world, which is still fond of light, mainly floral and fruity trails. “Rose is the most popular ingredient, but I am sure there is something to be done to understand and identify smells evocative of the Chinese culture. Something more in line with their memories and history,” explains the expert.
A digital-oriented strategy
The development of Matière Première is structured around the scheduled opening in 2021 of a flagship store in Shanghai and pop-up stores in other cities, but it is also based on a strategy resolutely oriented towards digitalism, e-, and social-commerce. “It is all based on a broad collaboration with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) and on product offerings adapted to e-commerce as soon as the next quarter, including very smart discovery sets featuring mini products for testing fragrances. We are also our brands’ unique Tmall  partner,” says Grégoire Grandchamp.
Last but not least, to speed up their global development, Matière Première recently raised 1.3 million euros – here is a brand to keep an eye on.