Brazil Beauty News - How do you proceed?
Claude Requena - I’ve been working for a year with my Brazilian partner, Cristiane Vilar, to distribute cosmetic products, make-up lines, nail varnish and perfume ranges around Brazil. We have selected about 20 to 22 brands, including 13 niche perfume brands such as Ann Gérard, Teo Cabanel, Comptoir Sud Pacifique, Mark Buxton, Frapin and Micaleff, which originate from the European and American markets, but also brands from the segments of skincare, like Alorée or Gentlemen’s Tonic, and make-up or nail varnish (NCLa), which we have been importing into Brazil since April.
Brazil Beauty News - How will these brands be distributed?
Claude Requena - Mainly on the big retailer channel, for example through Onofre, one of the main Brazilian retailers. Onofre originates from the pharmacy world and represents a network of about 3,000 sales outlets in Brazil. They have been developing greatly on the beauty market, and also own five megastores in Sᾶo Paulo today, which involves about 1,000 customers a day, and a monthly turnover of almost one million euros. Three other megastores are scheduled to open by the end of the year. They have come to realize there is a significant demand for this type of products, and very few players to meet it. They have found our initiative interesting, so they offered us specific spaces for our various niche brands.
We are also launching a very top-of-the-range designed website, cosmopolitandobrasil.com.br, which will soon be operational. Lastly, we are thinking about opening our own sales outlets over the next one or two years, and we are developing our contact network to reach new thresholds. Besides, we have been working on other distribution concepts.
Brazil Beauty News - What makes the Brazilian market interesting for niche brands?
Claude Requena - There is a real expectation, as can be seen with the demands formulated on our brands’ websites. This market is a completely virgin territory, although we are talking about the largest fragrance market in the world. There are 200 million people in Brazil, and the number of people with a high purchasing power is increasing, even outside Sᾶo Paulo and Brasília. That’s why it’s important to be able to offer them this type of products.
They are huge niche brand consumers when they are in France. For instance the Alorée brand, which is part of our selection, has observed Brazilians represent a large part of their customers at Sephora in Paris. As for perfumery, it is just the same. Many high-income Brazilians buy their perfumes in Miami to avoid paying any taxes, but the niche perfume brands they like to buy in Paris are not available there.
We are the main importers – not to say the only ones! – of niche perfumes to offer a certain category of Brazilians the possibility to get them easily in their own country.
Brazil Beauty News - What advantages do you offer these brands?
Claude Requena - Easiness. It is almost impossible to develop in Brazil without a local partner. It can take a very long time before being able to register one’s products. And administrative services tend to tighten things and to increasingly practice protectionism. This is going to be very hard for foreign brands to enter this market.
My partner is an importer based in Brasília, where the ANVISA has its headquarters. It makes things much simpler with registration issues, which are relatively important in Brazil. There can be many differences between what is written in legal texts and the reality. It’s very complicated.
Brazil Beauty News - As for perfumes, what type of fragrances do you tend to choose?
Claude Requena - We usually select rather floral, fruity, light and fresh scents. For example there is the new Molinard range, or Ann Gérard, whose new fragrance is just pure bliss, and there is also Comptoir Sud Pacifique’s latest range, with light ouds which have nothing to do with the strong, lingering fragrances that can be found for the Middle East.
We aim at working with rather high-end brands, and though the packaging, concept and textures play an important role, the first thing is to have a brand that provides all the documents needed for registration… and which has a lot of patience. All our partner brands have shown they do.
Brazil Beauty News - What are your objectives?
Claude Requena - In terms of development, we intend to be present in several big chain stores, with very specific spaces, but also to open our own sales outlets as from 2015-2016, with our own name. These will be specialized in the field of niche perfumery, with a real high-end concept.
Development depends on São Paolo and Brasília first. And only then will we have a look at Rio, because although it stands as Brazil’s iconic city, it is not where business is done.
We prefer to remain very sensible in terms of volume predictions: a turnover of €5 million over the next three years seems conceivable to us, though I think it can go much faster.