In 2009, Julien Sprecher, a renowned olfactory expert in the perfume sector, used his broad knowledge of juices to create a collection of perfumes with powerful, statement notes. Les Parfums de Marly soon imposed itself as a pioneer in the fledgling niche perfume sector. On this market, which put forward unisex fragrances, the creator chose well-identified men’s and women’s lines. “Although we do have a few unisex references, Julien Sprecher deeply believes in the added value of a gendered collection. This way, we explore many more olfactory notes… and go much further,” explains Julien Sausset, CEO of the brand.
A few years later, Les Parfums de Marly collection counts about thirty fragrances. Most of them are men’s perfumes, but the bestseller was designed for women: the Delina perfume with rose/rhubarb notes is available in different versions, including the latest Delina La Rosée.
Store openings in China
Les Parfums de Marly has also imposed itself as one of the first five niche brands in American department stores. “We have just achieved 130 million euros in retail, including 50 with sales in the United States, our largest market,” says Julien Sausset. The brand has also been successful for two years in the Middle East and Brazil. “Our juices are marked: they are either very masculine or very feminine, which appeals a lot to Brazilians. These consumers like to assert their tastes, they are very sensitive to our classics”, adds the CEO.
Julien Sausset also revealed to us the opening of two points of sale in Shanghai and Beijing – about twenty others should open in China within the next 12 months.
“Much is happening in China right now, especially among the 25/35-year-old generation. Tastes are changing fast. The belief that we should launch fresh juices there is less and less true: young people have started changing habits and taking interest in niche, statement perfumes. There is a real perfume culture coming.”
Just like for many other niche brands, the French market is not the most dynamic. “I think niche perfumes will grow in France, but the French are not very keen on bold perfumes. They are still pretty traditional compared to new markets, where these new luxury dynamics are more widely observed,” says Julien Sausset.
A growth driver for the perfume market
If the perfume market’s growth remains moderate, niche perfumes are very dynamic. With their bold notes, they often embody innovation and creativity.
“Similarly to what happened with wine, people started taking interest in vines, quality, small producers… they understood that we could do much better with a bit more money. It is the same with perfumes: consumers are interested in ingredients, long wear… All this makes the user experience stronger. It is said that customers do not go back once they have tested a niche perfume. This more qualitative type of perfumery can no longer be considered a ‘niche’ – it will actually play a huge role in defining the future of perfumes,” says Julien Sausset.
New gestures, new olfactory notes, green approach to juices and packaging… Boldness is indeed often associated with this alternative segment. And as successful as they are, Les Parfums de Marly aim to keep working in this direction.