Premium Beauty News – What is your strategic objective with direct management, compared to the license system?
Gianluca Toniolo - These two approaches involve different objectives. Direct management will help to elevate the beauty category to the same level of the other brand’s products and build up a brand, whereas the license follows a more commercial approach.
Dolce&Gabbana is the first Italian fashion company to have decided to directly manage its beauty category. And that is what Domenico and Stefano wanted; for them, it is a 30-year dream come true. Already at the beginning of their career they wanted to develop a beauty line, but they couldn’t afford it. They see beauty products as essential fashion accessories, the finishing touch - of perfume or make-up - to enhance an outfit.
Premium Beauty News - How are you planning to build up the Dolce&Gabbana Beauty brand?
Gianluca Toniolo - We have defined a very clear strategy. We want to elevate the category with new products. For example, we launched the Devotion fragrance only a few months ago, and it is already among the Top 3 best-selling products. With a name as evocative as its composition, this perfume is a powerful expression of the brand’s DNA, that is a great asset. We have the unique opportunity to work alongside the fashion division, create a direct link between these two territories, and shape up a unique, strong brand for consumers. As a result, for example, Devotion, characterized by the sacred heart, is a whole family of products: fragrance, make-up, bags and accessories, and a fine jewellery collection. So, our different categories will speak the same language and share the same codes. Lastly, another important objective is to engage with new, younger consumers. They will be able to enter the world of the brand through products with a lower price point to then discover other categories and, potentially, purchase them.
Premium Beauty News - How would you define Dolce&Gabbana’s DNA?
Gianluca Toniolo - The brand embraces different values and codes, the most important being Italianness. Just like fashion, beauty products have Italian know-how; we only work with the best local artisans and producers.
Premium Beauty News - Dolce&Gabbana Beauty is 100% made in Italy, then. Who are your partners?
Gianluca Toniolo - For perfumes we mainly collaborate with two Italian companies: ICR Cosmetics, which boasts 70 years of experience in this category, and Cosmint, which belongs to the Intercos group, for make-up. Intercos is not just an industrial partner, in fact Dolce&Gabbana holds 8% of the floating capital. Among other partners, Ancorotti, leader in mascara. Lombardy has many excellent suppliers in the segment!
Premium Beauty News - Which categories would you like to put forward?
Gianluca Toniolo - We are targeting two segments, namely perfumes and cosmetics; we aim to become a best-selling global cosmetics brand. Starting from March 2024, we will relaunch the catalogue of the category with a new quality line that boasts the Italian excellence of our partners, a unique storytelling and the iconic lifestyle embodied by our DNA. The new line will include 180 references by the end of 2024 and will reach 300 by the end of 2025. Our goal is to become the make-up experts with a range that covers all skin types, in all regions of the world.
We will enter the skincare category in 2025, but through make-up, and always with Italian partners.
Premium Beauty News - How have you structured the company to go global?
Gianluca Toniolo - 270 people from 27 different countries were recruited in less than eight months: 130 at the Milan headquarters, and 140 in our subsidiaries all over the world. We set up six subsidiaries, the largest being in Miami, where 70 employees directly manage the North and South American markets which are priority for us, because the brand is very strong there. The second subsidiary is based in Dubai, so we can easily manage the Middle East, and then we have Singapore for the Asia-Pacific region, as well as Paris, Milan, and Spain.
Premium Beauty News - What about your retail distribution strategy?
Gianluca Toniolo - On one hand there is the network of selective perfumeries and on the other we have the strategy of opening our own boutiques dedicated to beauty. The first has just opened in Hong Kong, at the end of the month there will be Indonesia and beauty flagships are planned in the main capitals of the world. There is also a digital strategy with the e-retail business of perfumeries.
Finally, we want to dedicate important beauty spaces, approximately 25-30 m2, in around thirty of our main fashion stores around the world. We have already inaugurated these spaces in two emblematic Milanese shops, Via della Spiga and Via Montenapoleone.
Dolce&Gabbana stands out from other fashion houses by dedicating important space to beauty. The founders really consider beauty as an important complement to fashion and want to direct the brand towards a lifestyle profile; we have also launched products for the home and collaborations in the food and drink sector.
Premium Beauty News - Can you take stock of your first year?
Gianluca Toniolo - The turnover has almost doubled since we will close 2023 with around 1.5 billion euros, while we started from 800 thousand euros. In the thirty years of licensing, the results have never been so good. This project is therefore a success, and it is supported by distributors and vendors who appreciate the strategy. They consider us pioneers. But making such a decision took a lot of courage, as entry barriers are very high. Dolce&Gabbana has invested more than 400 million euros to take over the category and finance it, but it is an investment from which the entire group will benefit.