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Jo Malone Founder Is Teaming Up With Zara on New Fragrance Line

The perfume heavyweight has created a collection of eight unisex scents for the fashion giant as part of a new, long term partnership.
The Zara Emotions Collection created by Jo Malone CBE | Source: Courtesy
  • Tamison O'Connor

LONDON, United KingdomZara has tapped a fragrance heavyweight to create its newest permanent perfume line.

A long-term partnership will see Jo Malone CBE create unisex fragrance collections for the global fashion company, sold under the name “The Zara Emotions Collection by Jo Loves, created by Jo Malone CBE.” The debut collection comprises of eight scents priced at €25.95 ($28.16) each.

Zara approached Malone 18 months ago, and the two parties have been working on the collection — launching on November 15 in Europe and select markets, followed by the US and Asia in early 2020 — for the past year.

The partnership will see Malone retain complete creative control over the fragrances, while Zara is responsible for production and distribution. Both Zara and Malone declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal.

“Together I think we’ve created something that will really excite the market and the consumer,” said Malone.

Together I think we've created something that will really excite the market and the consumer.

For Zara, the partnership will further its presence in the global fragrance market, which was worth $51 billion in 2018, up 5.5 percent from the year previous, according to Euromonitor International.

A name like Jo Malone will significantly boost the cachet of Zara’s fragrance business, while her talent and experience will help the retailer provide a more luxury, elevated offering compared with what it has previously sold.

The fashion company has been building out its beauty segment recently, launching cosmetics in December 2018 (currently, the line is limited to lip products). And, while Zara has carried fragrances for 20 years, it has recently been diversifying that offering too. This year it launched a new line aimed at the fashion-forward, younger consumer, called “The Improbable Series,” featuring refillable, easily portable packaging.

"Sales is always an aim, but [the Zara Emotions line] will complete our offer in terms of fragrances, because it's very different from the other collections we have," said Eva Lopez, head of Zara cosmetics. "We are covering different moments with the collection ... to complete our offer and also to have a new offer for our customers."

While Zara doesn’t break out sales for its fragrance category, in 2018 it reached €18 million in net sales (this figure includes Zara Home).

For Malone, the tie up will bring her Jo Loves brand a new kind of international exposure.

The perfumer is best known for founding fragrance empire Jo Malone London, which she sold to beauty giant Estée Lauder in 1999 for an undisclosed amount. She stayed on as creative director until 2006.

Today, Jo Malone London is present in 61 markets around the world. Estée Lauder does not break out sales for individual brands, but the group's total fragrance business, which includes labels like Le Labo and Tom Ford, was worth $1.8 billion in the fiscal year ending June 2019.

In 2011, Malone launched Jo Loves by Jo Malone. While she and her husband and business partner Gary Willcox have grown the brand into a global proposition, with the London-based company garnering strong interest from the lucrative Asian and American markets, its distribution is tight. Stockists include Net-a-Porter, Space NK and Cult Beauty alongside one stand-alone store in London’s Elizabeth Street and the brand’s direct e-commerce channel. By comparison, Zara currently has 2,131 stores across 96 markets, while e-commerce reaches 154 markets.

The power that Zara has versus a small entrepreneurial brand, those differences are a reality.

The Zara partnership will likely boost global awareness of the Jo Loves brand. It may also help drive customer acquisition for Jo Loves by providing an entry-level discovery product. In part due to the integrated nature of Zara’s supply chain, the scale of the line’s production and Zara’s direct distribution model, the retail price of the fragrance can be much lower than Jo Loves’ regular offering, which costs between £70 and £115.

Plus, much like the high-low collaborations model retailers like H&M pioneered in mid-naughts, a tie-up like this helps bring high-end products from the luxury fragrance market to the mass consumer.

“The power that they [Zara] have versus a small entrepreneurial brand, those differences are a reality,” said Malone.

Malone, who has already started on the Zara Emotions collections for 2020 and 2021, was inspired by looks and personalities she found in Zara archive for the line’s debut.

"For the collaboration with Zara, I've walked into their world of storytelling, creating stories for them. But I'm doing it in the same authentic way that I've always done it," she said.  "It's expanding everything you see and feel and touch, and throwing it back into that sense of smell, which for me is what Jo Loves is all about."

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