PARIS — Cathay Capital private equity group has taken a minority stake in the French niche fragrance brand Juliette Has a Gun.
Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Paris-based perfume label plans to use Cathay Capital’s strategic and financial support to expand in the direct-to-consumer channel and accelerate its international development, with a focus on China.
Niche fragrance brands are the prime growth driver for the perfume market today, so investors are homing in on those.
Further, Chinese consumers are starting to wear more fragrance, so tapping into that demographic is important, especially as perfume sales struggle in many mature markets.
China’s fragrance market is expected to reach 12 billion renminbi, or $1.86 billion, in 2023, while the prestige category should outpace all other scent categories this year, by growing 18 percent, according to Cathay Capital in a statement.
Juliette Has a Gun was founded in 2005 by Romano Ricci, a great-grandson of Nina Ricci. At the outset his goal was to create “something closer to women’s daily lives,” which resulted in the eclectic and quirkily named brand.
“Juliette is a women’s fragile side, and the gun represents power — a passport to liberty,” said Ricci in a 2007 WWD interview. He learned his trade from his grandfather, Robert Ricci.
The younger Ricci said he wanted to give a modern edge to romanticism. His goal is to restore fragrances as emblems of style and originality.
In 2018, Juliette Has a Gun began working with Shanghai-based Ushopal, an omnichannel brand acceleration platform in Cathay Capital’s portfolio of companies. Ushopal focuses on transforming the way global brands scale locally by using a data-driven and integrated method.
Already, during the last Singles’ Day in November, Juliette Has a Gun ranked among the top three brands in the high-end perfume category on Tmall. In almost one hour, 10,000 of it fragrance sets sold out, marking a record.
“We are convinced of the potential of our brand as one of the rare independent perfume makers,” said Ricci, in the statement. “Using an omnichannel marketing strategy to build the personalized service and experience that the younger generation of consumers need in the new era is key.
“Cathay Capital, with its experienced investment team, in-depth local consumer market know-how and global ecosystem of partners, is the perfect match to accompany us as we grow, to support our vision and to seize strategic opportunities in Asia and worldwide,” he said.
“With the rise of a new generation, Chinese consumers’ attitudes toward perfume have made a 180-degree turn,” continued Lanchun Duan, managing partner of Cathay Capital. “From rarely using perfume to buying all kinds of high-end perfumes and obsessing over niche fragrances, perfume consumption has become a habit for today’s young consumers, and Juliette Has a Gun is the one with the most tone and personality.”
Juliette Has a Gun is sold in 42 countries in more than 2,000 doors. Among its bestsellers is the scent cheekily dubbed Not A Perfume.
Cathay Capital invests in companies at all stages of development in North America, Asia, Europe and Africa. The investment fund was founded in 2007, and it manages nearly $4 billion in assets.
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