Effective Jan. 1, heritage brand Stetson will be entering a new fragrance licensing agreement with Edge Beauty, whose portfolio includes brands like Cher and the Phluid Project. The license was previously held by Coty Inc.
“Our ambition as a partner to Stetson is to make the brand more relevant, particularly today, as the iconography of the American West has changed,” said Steve Mormoris, chief executive officer of Edge Beauty. The brand, which started in the 19th century as a clothing label, introduced fragrance in the Eighties.
Still, the ending of the agreement with Coty also comes as that company is redirecting its resources, most recently with the divestiture of its professional division in a joint venture with private equity firm KKR. “We have enjoyed a long and rich partnership with Stetson and are proud of the classic fragrances we have created together,” a spokesperson for Coty said in a statement to WWD. “The change comes as we continue to streamline our portfolio and focus where we believe Coty is particularly suited to deliver growth.”
Edge Beauty has a specific vision for Stetson’s second life. “Our plan is to broaden the brand from cologne into grooming, skin care and home scenting. These are categories which men and women are consuming more and more, especially in the COVID-19 world,” Mormoris said.
The licensing agreement came organically to Edge, which has weighty ambitions for Stetson, and with good reason. Industry sources estimate the business could do up to $100 million in sales annually after its multicategory expansion. “We didn’t pay anything for the license. There was no need to,” Mormoris said. “We shared our product development expertise, and we were perfectly in-sync with how to grow the brand.”
To Mormoris, the brand has an “evergreen relevance” bolstered by its folkloric, Western identity. With that in mind, he sees room for modernization. “The opportunity in fragrance is a migration toward scents that are not necessarily a tool for seduction. Stetson is a brand that can deliver different fragrance products, as well as skin-care, grooming and home products that inspire a sense of wellness and sophisticated masculinity,” Mormoris continued.
Edge Beauty places a strong emphasis on its own direct-to-consumer channel, but Mormoris said Stetson’s positioning in the mass market also made it an attractive partner. “It’s a qualitative brand in the core of the mass market, which is the core of where people are now shopping,” Mormoris said. “We’re excited by their own re-branding efforts and moves toward signature fashion, which will only complement what we’re doing in the beauty space.”
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