In a crowded market like the home fragrance category, where everyone from fast fashion and beauty brands to discount department stores and pharmacists are selling candles, it’s near impossible to create and retain cut-through, much less develop an iconic brand synonymous with luxury and quality like 60-year-old Parisian brand Diptyque. While the iconic brand may be known for its candles, the business has just expanded into household cleaning products, known as the La Droguerie range.&nbs
nbsp; As Laurence Semichon, senior vice president of fragrance and beauty at Diptyque explained to Inside Retail, “Diptyque is dedicated to introducing beauty where no beauty is expected”. Indeed, the new collection’s delicate fragrances have been infused into traditionally less-glamorous products including a multi-surface cleaner, dishwashing liquid, a leather and wood care lotion. “Diptyque loves to imagine new ways of perfuming everyday life. Giant candles for indoors and outdoors, scented wax ovals, diffusers for the car – to name but a few – have brought sophisticated accords into unexpected places,” Semichon noted. Of course, it’s no surprise that since Covid hit and people began focusing on self-care, spending more time at home and investing in their living spaces, the home fragrance market has increased in recent years. Even as lockdowns have eased, it seems that these new habits have remained, explained Semichon. “The home has become the entire universe of each person and has been adapted [during] different times of the day, as the same room can be an office, a living room, and a gym. Changing [the] perfume helps to create different atmospheres. This continues with the development of [working from home],” she said, adding that new brands have emerged, particularly in the high-end segment of the market. “Our challenge…is to continue to surprise our customers and stay ahead of the game. Diptyque is a pioneer in home fragrances and it’s motivating to have dynamic competition.” Interestingly, Diptyque is continuing to expand even further into the home – or rather, make a full circle return to it. Diptyque first launched as a home furnishings company 60 years ago before it began focusing mostly on fragrances and recently began selling tableware, candles, lighting and wall decorations in its own stores. According to an article last month in the Business of Home, Diptyque’s senior vice president of decorative products Myriam Badault, home decor will account for as much as 10 per cent of its overall sales within five years. Like many businesses these days, sustainability is on the agenda at Diptyque. Like other products at Diptyque, the Droguerie range is made of recycled glass and refillable bottles and sold without paper packaging or instruction leaflets. This saves an average of two tonnes of paper, along with a significant amount of ink, said Semichon. Of course, Diptyque’s signature black-and-white candle glasses have also been carefully designed with the intention of being re-used after the wax has melted away. “And that’s only the beginning as we will go further [to develop] a more sustainable offer is part of our long-term strategy. We have an ambitious CSR roadmap and we will do our best to participate in the global effort,” she said. Creating a home away from home While Diptyque mostly wholesales its products through more than 1000 multi-brand retailers and department stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Farfetch and Selfridges, the business also has a network of more than 100 of its own bricks-and-mortar stores. In March this year, Diptyque opened its largest ever flagship in the upmarket suburb of Garosugil in Seoul. According to the brand, Diptyque has experienced double-digit sales growth in South Korea annually since Shinsegae International secured the domestic sales rights in 2017. Euromonitor also revealed that South Korea’s perfume market reached US$491.6 million in 2019 and is expected to exceed $532 million next year. “We plan to develop new formats to offer our clients a one-of-a-kind experience, like we did in Seoul with our Garosugil store on two floors. This store is the reflection of a Parisian spirit who would have fallen in love with Korean artisans, with local objects and references all over the store,” explained Semichon, describing it as a “home away from home” that was inspired by the charm of Parisian interiors. On the ground floor is a store featuring the brand’s full collection of perfumes and home fragrances and customisation services such as engraving and embossing. Customers can also select colourful scented ribbons to tie onto the perfume bottles they purchase, as well as handwrite messages in capsules that are slipped into the wax of the candles. A large marble staircase leads to the upper floor, which was designed to look like an upmarket Paris apartment. While the cosy living room is decorated with a counter “reminiscent of a herbalist”, the kitchen is inspired by the historic private residence of [art collector] Moise de Camondo from the 19th century. Meanwhile the bathroom pays tribute to the Korean arts, featuring traditional pottery and a large retro-styled bathtub. “People make an effort when they come to a physical store, so they need a reason to come. And the reason [to visit] Diptyque is to make their imagination wander through all the sources of inspiration they can find in our stores, through the excellent service and the attention of our staff,” said Semichon.