ROCHAS LOOKS OUTWARD WITH FLEUR D’EAU
Byline: Alev Aktar
PARIS — Rochas is hoping to increase its overseas presence with a new fragrance called Fleur d’Eau.
Since the company’s business is mostly European — almost 80 percent of its 700 million franc ($140 million) volume is done on the Continent — it is targeting its weaker export markets, in particular the Americas and Asia.
Currently, the remaining 20 percent of volume, or 140 million francs ($28 million), is divided between Asia, the Mideast and North and South America. One reason for this disparity is that Rochas’s makeup and skin care lines aren’t sold in America or Japan.
Previously, the cosmetics were sold in the U.S. exclusively at the Galeries Lafayette in New York, before the store closed in 1994. The light, aquatic Fleur d’Eau was developed to appeal to a younger consumer — young women aged 17 to 25.
The formulation has a 6 to 8 percent concentration — lighter than an eau de toilette, but stronger than an eau fraiche — which should appeal to the Japanese, who eschew strong scents except for gift giving.
The scent will be launched in major European markets in April, rolling out to the rest of the world by September.
The company is targeting ex-factory sales — the volume generated by a price structure pegged well below wholesale — of $24 million (120 million francs) in the first 12 months, according to Edda Wendig, president of Rochas.
“This is what we targeted for Tocade, too,” she noted, referring to the company’s last women’s launch. Rochas will invest about 95 million francs ($19 million) on advertising and promotional activities in the first year, according to Wendig.
In addition to a print campaign and a commercial airing in movie theaters and on TV featuring a blonde in a filmy Rochas dress, the company is targeting young people with special promotional activities.
In France, for example, Rochas will give a free Fleur d’Eau gift set to all girls who pass their baccalaureate, the grueling final examination for high school students. In addition, the company will distribute three million Scent Seal cards in front of French movie theaters and night clubs.
The transparent glass bottle, designed by Serge Mansau, features the raised shape of a woman’s body on one side. The fragrance was blended by Takasago perfumer Sylvie Fischer Desuzinge.
In France, prices will range from 190 francs ($38) for a 50-ml. eau de toilette spray to 280 francs ($56) for the 100-ml. size. There are also four bath products — deodorant, lotion, shower gel and soap — ranging in price from 60 francs ($12) for a 100-gram soap to 130 francs ($26) for a 200-ml. lotion. “The price points are just over those of Eau de Rochas, and similar to [Giorgio Armani’s] Acqua di Giy,” noted Carole Louise, international product manager.
Rochas, headquartered in Paris, is a division of the Wella Group of Darmstadt, Germany.
Fragrances account for approximately three-quarters of total Rochas volume, or $105 million, while the remainder is divided between cosmetics and fashion.