Jo Malone is bringing Jo Loves Stateside.
On Nov. 21, the five-year-old fragrance brand will launch its first U.S. e-commerce site at joloves.com. After spending five years finding its footing in Malone’s native London, Jo Loves opened two warehouses in New Jersey that are equipped to facilitate U.S. customers with free shipping and next-day or same-day delivery in Manhattan.
“Jo [Malone] has a high profile in the U.S., and we don’t rush into things,” said Jess Clark, general manager, Jo Loves, of waiting several years before expanding the company globally. “There was a demand there that we needed to service but we had a responsibility in our homeland to make sure all the scaffolding was in place.”
The scaffolding includes a flagship store on Elizabeth Street that opened in 2013 and an e-commerce site that services the U.K. and Europe. Net-a-porter introduced the line into its beauty offerings in July, giving the brand significant global visibility for the first time, but it’s the new site that Clark said will “really be the springboard for growth” in the U.S. About a third of the company’s sales already come from the U.S.
Jo Loves is a brand that was founded by Malone in 2011. While both are rooted in fragrance, Jo Loves has no affiliation to Jo Malone London, which was acquired by the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. in 1999 and saw the departure of Malone in 2006.
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Jo Loves has 12 core fragrances as well as corresponding lotions, creams, body cleansers, bath cologne and candles, including the patented Shot Candle that was introduced last year. Pomelo, Malone’s signature grapefruit, citrus scent has already emerged as the line’s bestseller. A 100-ml. bottle of fragrance retails for $175; bath and body items start at $55 for hand and body cleansers and go up to $95 for bath colognes and home candles range from $80 to $550 for luxury candles.
Clark said that retail theater and creating an experience around selling fragrance is a pillar of the Jo Loves flagship. For instance, consumers who make Shot Candles, $130, in-store have 30 different fragrances to choose from for a “base” and a “shot” and then wait while their one-of-a-kind candle is poured and fused together. Clark said the team is already in the process of replicating this experience online, which will allow those on site to walk through the process via a video of the flagship store. The in-store ritual takes 30 minutes, but for e-commerce orders, warehouses are stocked with pre-poured bases and shots. The London store also has a Fragrance Brasserie Bar with a “Fragrance Tapas Menu” that lets customers test out different scents in unexpected ways. The Tagine is bath cologne warmed with a tagine and then released through scented steam before cleansing the skin and Veloute is body lotion that’s whipped, foamed and then painted on skin with a paintbrush.
Growing the footprint of Jo Loves’ freestanding stores, which will no doubt include Shot Candle stations and Fragrance Brasserie Bars, is in the works too. While Clark was vague about the city, or even which continent the next store might be located in, she said broadening the U.K. footprint and the U.S. are important. The company is scouting sites now and also in talks with key retailers to broaden distribution in the U.S. and abroad.
“We’ve underlined our commitment by opening warehouses there [the U.S.], so we’re coming to America,” Clark said, adding that Net-a-porter has given Jo Loves “a nice foothold” in the U.S. and raised brand awareness.
Newby Hands, global beauty director at Porter and Net-a-porter said that the editorial and marketing teams collaborated on messaging when Jo Loves launched on the site this summer. The retailer wanted to convey that although they share a founder, Jo Loves is an entirely different brand than Jo Malone London.
Net-a-porter currently carries about a third of the brand’s fragrance collection and will pick up an additional scent for the spring.
Later this month will also see the release of Malone’s first book.
Her autobiography “Jo Malone: My Story,” which comes out on Nov. 29, chronicles her humble upbringings, to the founding (and selling) of her first company to the launch of Jo Loves. Malone penned the book with a friend — her “book husband” — in a little apartment in London. The process took 18 months.
“When you’re building something you need a currency, a currency of creativity. We don’t own creativity, we engage with it and a product will come from it. That’s the strongest currency that will never dip. It climbs and climbs, and that’s where started,” Malone told WWD during an interview this summer while visiting New York.
Opening a copy of her book, she showed a page that has a special varnish that’s Pomelo scented. She said when a reader touches the page “it brings the fragrance to life.” The scent lasts for four to five months.
“I don’t even think out of the box; there is no box. I just want to create things in a different fashion and get people aware of fragrance differently,” Malone said.