An insight into high luxury perfumery trends and perspectives with CEO of Intertrade

Mr Celso Fadelli, CEO, Intertrade Europe, one of the leading international distributors of high luxury fragrances, the company’s exclusive portfolio including Nasomatto, Miller Harris, Byredo, Bond No. 9, Nez a Nez, soOud etc.  Intertrade also owns stakes in many of the brands it distributes. Fadelli has recently spoken, exclusively, to CPP-LUXURY.COM about his company’s performance as well as trends and perspectives in high luxury perfumery.

What is the business model of your company? (whether you own fragrance houses or just distribute their products)

Our job is to grow art perfumery brands bringing them to the places where they can become successful, regardless of our direct involvement in the companies.

How has your company performed  in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period last year? Have you seen any impact from the European debt crisis?

We have developed very well some foreign markets, we have opened others and this has more than compensated the difficulties of the countries which are suffering more for the crisis, keeping a positive general trend.

Which are the  best performing brands in your portfolio in terms of turnover and sales? Which is the most successful geographical region for your company?

Different brands perform in different ways in the various markets. We are growing very well in the main European markets, in the United States, in Asia and in Australia.

Which are, in your view, the top 3 perfumes ever created by the brands in your portfolio? Why?

There are many, to cite only three: Black Afghano for the intensity and the deep research of raw materials; Onyx Pearl is one of the most elegant ouds in the market; Aurisse is an extraordinary interpretation of the marine environment.

With specialized fragrance and cosmetics international retail chains expanding aggressively from malls, shopping galleries to airports, can we still speak of luxury perfume brands?

This kind of chains do not have an important presence of luxury perfume brands inside, also because luxury perfumes require training, assistance and time for the sale that are incompatible with such realities.

With major fragrance brands commanding  advertising budgets of hundreds of millions of euros, how can independent  perfumers create awareness for their products?

Independent perfumers can create awareness for their products by taking care of quality and contents instead of quantity, aiming at reaching customers interested in qualitative elements. It is not advertisements that push the customer towards this kind of products.

Have you considered creating a retail  concept (multi-brand store) to feature the brands from your portfolio? But for mono-brand boutiques?

We have created Avery boutiques to approach the market in a different way, we are satisfied with the results but we do not aim at creating multi-brand boutiques with the markets in our portfolio.

Some use different wording when speaking of perfumes – premium, luxury, haute-parfumerie. What is your view?

It is the point of contact between art and perfume creation, so art perfumery, where the message conveyed is an artistic one rather than a commercial one. The impulse of the creator of such perfumes is to create something unique and artistic, during forever, not to make business and sell thousands of pieces.

How can consumers evaluate the quality of a perfume from the description on the labeling?

They cannot. They need to smell the perfume and to talk with a competent person who can explain it.

Fragrances – is the most obvious diversification category for luxury fashion and accessories brands. Which do you think are  the most successful such perfumes and which are the ones you consider less successful?

In my opinion one of the recent most successful experiences is Bottega Veneta, which interprets well the elegant and rigorous concept of the brand, based on the quality of the luxury product.

An increasing  number of luxury brands have been embracing digital platforms as a means  of communications. What is your approach in this respect when it comes to  perfumes?

When you speak of perfuse you speak of something that must be smelled. Unfortunately today computers do not give this possibility. To sell luxury perfumes it is necessary to have a network of retailers who are able to convey the brand and its contents. Internet can work if at the basis of the market there is a network of qualified retailers. It is important to be conservative in the opening of sales points and even more of websites.

How  important is education and awareness of high end perfumes in emerging markets? What are your key initiatives in this respect?

They are very important in all the markets. Each market has its peculiarities and the initiatives cannot be generalized. The important thing is to identify those who are able to convey the emotional contents of the perfume to the final consumer.

In the recent years, the organic ingredients trend has been expanding in cosmetics. What  about perfumes?

Not much. There is more awareness than in the past but not like in cosmetics. For example Agonist is conceived as a 100% natural perfume line, but although this is a positive element it is not a decisive factor to purchase the product.

Celso Fadelli, CEO Intertrade Europe