Annick Goutal: An Expanding World

Annick Goutal Parfums is expanding its brand universe.

Annick Goutal Parfums is expanding its brand universe.

This story first appeared in the April 25, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Come September, the French fragrance firm will launch a quartet of new fragrances in the U.S. — and this spring, it is adding high-end lingerie and jewelry to its product mix in Europe.

“We’re evolving from a fragrance house into a lifestyle brand,” said Goutal’s chief executive officer, Brigitte Tattinger, adding that the firm, which boasts 29 fragrances and 14 skin care products, intends to increase its high-end distribution by opening shop-in-shops in European and U.S. department stores later this year.

But it isn’t planning to abandon the principles that the house was founded on. “Unlike other fragrance brands, Annick Goutal launches fragrances when we want to — not on a marketing schedule,” said Theresa Plavoukos, vice president of marketing for Gary Farn Ltd., which markets and distributes Annick Goutal Parfums in the U.S.

The Les Orientalistes fragrance collection — which the founder’s daughter, company creative adviser Camille Goutal, helped create — will join the lineup this fall. The line consists of Ambre Fetiche, a blend of frankincense, labdanum and styrax; Myrrhe Ardente, a combination of benzoin, vanilla tonka pods, gaiac wood and honeyed beeswax extract; Encens Flamboyant, a mix of frankincense, black pepper, rose berry, cardamom, nutmeg and fir, and Musc Nomade, a blend of muscone, angelica root, amber, tonka beans and bombay wood. Each of the scents will retail for $175 for 3.4 oz. A limited edition white leather case with all four scents will be offered, priced at $750.

In the U.S., Annick Goutal scents are sold in about 200 specialty stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Nordstrom. “We have actually narrowed our U.S. distribution over the past several years, from about 400 doors to 200,” said Plavoukos, adding that the brand is in a total of about 1,000 doors worldwide. “And it has had a very positive effect on the business. We are somewhat niche, and we build our business one customer at a time, with very well-trained sales associates who keep in constant contact with their customers. We also have frequent personal appearances to remind consumers that perfumers are behind this brand, and we sample like crazy.” More than 500,000 samples are planned for this launch, she said.

While executives declined to discuss sales figures for the new fragrances, industry sources estimated that the quartet would do upward of $5 million at retail in the U.S. in their first year on counter.

The Parisian company, founded by model Annick Goutal in 1981 and now owned by private investment firm Starwood Capital, is rolling out jewelry and high-end lingerie in Europe. The company called on lingerie designer Vanina Vesperini and jewelry maker Virginie Monroe to create separate collections inspired by four of the brand’s best-selling scents: Songes, Quel Amour, Petite Chérie and Grand Amour.

Called Collection Lingerie Annick Goutal by Vanina Vesperini, the floaty, feminine designs are made of a silk and Lycra blend and have lace trimmings featuring Goutal’s iconic butterfly motif and Swarovski crystal details. Prices start at 115 euros, or $183 at current exchange, for boxer-style panties, and reach 300 euros, or $476, for a corset.

“The idea of marrying fragrance and lingerie is very smart,” said Vesperini. “Both relate to the intimacy of a woman — you wear both on the skin.”

The designer is starting work on a second collection for fall-winter.

The new jewelry line, Collection Bijoux Annick Goutal by Virginie Monroe, likewise incorporates various motifs found on the brand’s fragrances’ packaging, such as butterflies, stars and hearts. Ionized brass chains give an aged appearance.

With prices starting at 60 euros, or $95, for a bracelet to 160 euros, or $254, for a sautoir necklace, the collection is intended to be affordable.

“Luxury is great, but sometimes it’s good to have something a little more accessible,” said Goutal, adding that she wouldn’t rule out a pricier, fine jewelry collection one day.

Annick Goutal, whose total business is estimated to have reached 13 million euros, or $17.8 million, last year, also plans to expand its beauty offer with a makeup collection in the cards for next year.

As well as entering multiple new product categories, Annick Goutal is expanding its freestanding store network. Following two openings in London by June, a boutique in Macau is set for next year, plus a New York location by 2010. To showcase its lingerie line as well as its traditional line of beauty products, the new boutiques will boast an average size of around 1,000 square feet. Until now, Annick Goutal stores averaged 300 square feet.



Meanwhile, the brand is negotiating mini boutiques in various department stores, with plans yet to be confirmed.