As London’s fragrance experts since 1973, Molton Brown has built a reputation for bold fragrances and bright colours that truly stand out. RLI speaks with Global President Mark Johnson about the brand’s growth in recent years and its expansion plans for the future.
Over the past 46 years, Molton Brown has created fragrances, shower gels, body lotions, candles and hand care with a touch of London eccentricity, which can now be found in their luxury stores, five-star hotels, stylish homes and high-end department stores across the world.
With a growing international presence, the product is still crafted in England using the finest ingredients from around the world, with specialist ranges for men and women.
The company currently has 72 standalone stores around the world in six main regions: UK & Ireland, USA, the DACH region, the Nordics and Japan. The brand also operates a distributor model in the Middle East, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and India.
“Our geographic expansion strategy, as well as our robust innovation plans has resulted in the brand going from strength to strength, experiencing positive growth for the fifth year in a row,” explains Mark Johnson, Global President of Molton Brown. “Recently, our efforts have focused on consolidating our brand’s luxury positioning through investigating new product categories while celebrating some of our iconic collections, all the while capitalising on our very unique brand heritage.”
The end of 2018 was an exciting time for the company, as December saw the opening of a boutique in St Albans, along with the unveiling of its new Covent Garden store, relocated on the Piazza. Outside of the UK, Molton Brown opened doors in Copenhagen, Denmark and New Delhi, India in 2018, with an upcoming opening due at the world-renowned Hudson Yards project in New York City.
Outside of its current store portfolio, the brand sees the Asian market as one for further consideration, as well as seeing significant growth potential for the company in the travel retail industry within both airports and the inflight sector. “I believe 2019 will be a turning point for us. It will see a complete relaunch of our fine fragrances, and our first foray in the Eaux de Parfum category. This is the perfect opportunity for us to hero our heritage and do what we do best; craft the most unexpected fragrance collections,” explains Johnson.
The brand has always been about the feeling rather than the function; never about following the trend. Its focus is always on giving its customers’ a unique experience, and creating collections that really make them feel individual. Molton Brown continues to push the boundaries of perfumery by working closely with both leading master and new generation perfumers. All are given creative freedom to compose unusual pieces, because ultimately the company feels it is the standout quality and indulgent sensorial experiences that its customers look for.
So how important is the new social media experience to the company’s current marketing strategy and growth? “We thrive in developing a ‘digital first’ culture. We’re very conscious of our customers’ evolving research and shopping habits. Our recent campaigns – such as #OwnYourBold in support of our Jasmine & Sunrose collection – has shown we engage in more meaningful conversations with our audiences across social media, and this is definitely how we will keep our strategy going in the future, especially as our ambition is to recruit a younger audience,” says Johnson.
Still continuously finding innovative ways to bring its collection to modern audiences, what really sets Molton Brown apart is the complexity and authenticity of its fragrances. It is the unmatched quality of the ingredients sourced and how the company works with its partners which gives Molton Brown its unique stance in the industry and keeps customers loyal to the brand.
“I BELIEVE 2019 WILL BE A TURNING POINT FOR US. IT WILL SEE A COMPLETE RELAUNCH OF OUR FINE FRAGRANCES, AND OUR FIRST FORAY IN THE EAUX DE PARFUM CATEGORY”
The founding family of Molton Brown rejected chemical-based formulas. Way ahead of their time, Caroline Burstein and Michael Collis made the first products by hand, using the best materials and developing them with an in-house trichologist in the basement of their exclusive South Molton Street salon. Today, Molton Brown strives to uphold this caring ethos. Looking forward, Johnson wants to consolidate its UK presence while expanding overseas and constantly adapt its services and experiences in conjunction with the retail scene shift.
“We also want to continue fine tuning our omni-channel experience and allow our distinct message to be delivered accurately wherever our customer meets the brand: in Molton Brown stores, wholesale, luxury hotels, travel retail or e-commerce,” Johnson concludes.