Interview: Beauty distributor Essence Corp executive sales director Antoine Bona
Essence Corp details which of its stable of fragrance and skincare brands are performing across the Americas
More stability should provide growth in the Americas market, according to regional specialist beauty distributor Essence Corp. Executive sales director Antoine Bona discusses market developments, buying trends and new releases with DFNI Beauty editor Tina Milton.
How has Essence Corp’s travel-retail business progressed over the last six months and why? How has 2019 started for Essence Corp? Which brands/products are performing well and why?
The second semester of 2018 proved to be challenging with the economic instabilities of major markets in Argentina and Brazil. We expect more stability in 2019, which should provide growth in the market. We had a strong start in 2019 with the early launches of Mont Blanc Explorer, Versace Eros Flame, Moschino Toy 2 and Jimmy Choo Urban Hero.
With Coach, we are expanding the distribution into Dufry and have had excellent results with both the masculine and feminine fragrances.
We also enlarged the Rituals distribution with the opening of the first store in travel-retail Americas with London Supply. Lastly, we partnered with DFA to open a new Victoria’s Secret VSBA in Rio Branco, Uruguay.
How is the Americas travel-retail beauty market developing – how is it changing across fragrances, cosmetics and skincare?
Consumers travelling through the Americas are price conscious due to the strong US dollar. We see an uplift in fragrance sales on price promotions and gifting. With the increase in digital connectivity, we see customers looking towards the duty-free shops to discover new brands that are not available within their local market. We see a greater demand for “newness’ and for new beauty categories such as hair care, home & body, speciality cosmetics, and new or speciality make-up brands.
What is the schedule for the year ahead, both in terms of product launches and initiatives? Have there been any changes or additions to your portfolio?
We have had a busy start to the year, working with L Brands on two new Victoria’s Secret boutiques opening in Panama Tocumen, and two Bath & Body Works boutiques in Trinidad and Paraguay. We are also opening on cruise lines and Dufry with Rituals.
What are the expectations for 2019 in travel retail, including the challenges and prospects?
There are many challenges in the Americas regarding political instability in some countries of the Americas, currency instability, pricing and spaces granted towards the beauty departments for our operators. We are balancing our portfolio to meet the market needs in luxury fragrances, masstige fragrances, price promotions, haircare (we are launching Phyto) speciality retail and home & body with Rituals and Bath & Body Works.
We expect greater growth in 2019 with a better performance coming from Brazil and the surrounding borders with hopes of a more stable Brazilian Real. We also have exciting store renovations happening in Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Panama Tocumen’s opening of terminal two, JFK T1, T7 and T8.
Essence Corp is a master distributor of fine fragrances and cosmetics for the travel-retail markets of the Americas, and is also a sales and marketing agent for the local markets of Latin America. Its portfolio for the travel-retail Americas and Caribbean features EuroItalia, L brands, Inter Parfums, Inter Parfums USA, Rituals, Phyto and Air Val.