NEW YORK — Penhaligon’s will reintroduce two fragrances in the U.S. this spring as part of continuing efforts by parent Cradle Holdings Inc. to open up the 132-year-old brand to a younger, more modern consumer.
First, Lavandula, which targets women ages 25 to 35, will be relaunched in the U.S. on May 1. Then, a month later, Penhaligon’s will relaunch Douro, a cologne designed to target 18- to 35-year-old men.
Douro assumes its original name — it was renamed Lords subsequent to its 1911 launch — following a recent revamp and repackaging. The new version of Douro mixes citrus top notes with a floral heart and a base of labdanum and oakmoss notes and features vibrantly striped outer packaging.
“It’s a younger fragrance,” said Joe Cicio, Cradle’s senior vice president of retail, product development and merchandising. Cicio, who is also president of Penhaligon’s, has attempted to inject youth into the brand since joining the company after Cradle bought Penhaligon’s two years ago. From a marketing standpoint, for instance, Cicio partnered with Vespa for the European launch last summer of the Endymion scent — which, like Douro, also targets younger men. Two of the Italian scooters were given away as part of the promotion.
Additionally, for the U.K. relaunch of Lavandula, which took place in February, Penhaligon’s engaged in the guerrilla marketing tactic of painting a TVR sports car purple then driving it around London, handing out samples of the women’s eau de parfum. The lavender-based scent blends top notes of basil and canelle and a heart of clary sage and lily with tonka bean and vanilla at its base.
Douro will be priced at $50 for a 50-ml. bottle and at $75 for a 100-ml. version. A 50-ml. bottle of Lavandula will be priced at $65 and a 100-ml. bottle will cost $85. Each of the retooled fragrances could garner first-year retail sales of $1 million in the U.S., according to industry sources.
Cicio has made it his goal in the last 18 months to change perceptions about Penhaligon’s. “For a 132-year-old brand,” he said, “it didn’t have the brand awareness in the U.K. it [should] have had.” Penhaligon’s, which was named for William Penhaligon, who was barber to the royal court of Queen Victoria, “was perceived as expensive, old and traditional,” said Cicio. The question, he added, became: “How do you change that?”
In addition to the two fragrance reintroductions this spring, Penhaligon’s is poised to roll out a collection of soaps and candles that will pair both a soap and a candle with each of the brand’s 17 fragrances. “We’ve never had a candle for every fragrance,” Cicio noted. He expects the full assortment of soaps and candles, a few of which have trickled into the brand’s two freestanding stores in the U.S. and its Saks Fifth Avenue doors, to roll out to Saks chainwide by May 1. Each of the soaps and candles is priced at $30.
Given the handful of introductions this spring, Cicio is anticipating Penhaligon’s will grow at least 20 percent this year, a growth rate he believes can be sustained annually moving forward. Penhaligon’s reportedly generates 40 percent of Cradle’s total business, which is currently estimated to be about $100 million at retail.
On the freestanding store front, Penhaligon’s plans to open its third unit — and second in New York — this fall. The brand opened a store in Beverly Hills, Calif., last year, as reported. The brand’s current U.S. distribution network also includes 15 in-store boutiques at Saks. There are plans to open six more Saks shop-in-shops by year-end. Internationally, Penhaligon’s is carried in about 400 doors. Outside the U.K., markets include France, Italy and Spain. New international markets opened this year include Australia, Brazil, Russia and South Korea.
— Matthew W. Evans