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Fragrance-du-jour Byredo (founded in 2006) seems to be on the verge of a breakthrough due to its increasing popularity — nearly doubling its pre-pandemic sales to $134 million USD while launching its skin care line. Yet founder Ben Gorham still feels Byredo is in the “infancy of what the brand can be.” In 2013, Gorham sold a majority stake to Manzanita Capital — which also owns Diptyque — to establish the brand in key global markets. Despite its growth, Byredo is sticking to its niche and maintaining its allure. The mission? “To express memories and emotions in its products.” So far, the market is buying that vision as Byredo finds new and interesting ways to create unique experiences for consumers, whether that be through its austere packaging or unexpected brand collaborations and pop-ups.
In a crowded sea of fragrance lines, Byredo has successfully made a name for itself. But how did it get there? What is it about Byredo that sets it apart from the million perfumes flooding the market?
Here’s a simplified brand analysis.
Our analysis highlights a few key points we believe are most significant to Byredo and should not be read as a representation of everything the brand has done to claim market share.
Fragrance is on a hot streak. A new study by market research firm NPD showed high-end fragrance outperformed all other categories of the beauty industry in the U.S. for revenue growth, matching that of sales in skincare for the first time ever. According to Euromonitor International, fragrance is expected to grow by at least 20% from $44.3 billion USD by 2025.
Scents like “Gypsy Water” and “Mojave Ghost” have become hits for Byredo, retailing for $276 USD for a 100ml bottle. In 2021, Byredo revealed it made $134 million USD, up 63% year-on-year. While it’s crumbs to what mammoths like Estée Lauder generate, Byredo’s perfumes have become favorites among top retailers such as Harrods and Liberty — brand equity is soaring.
To say that Byredo’s success comes solely from riding the wave of the fragrance boom would be wrong. Gorham spent several years setting the foundation of his dream business so it could thrive and grow well, even in the midst of the economic meltdown. On top of doubling sales from two years ago, Byredo launched a new skin care line and appointed a former LVMH executive as its first CEO.
Byredo is a breath of fresh air for consumers. It’s different from other luxury fragrances with ostentatious packaging, overly commercialized campaigns and shameless celebrity endorsements. Byredo’s packaging is simple and minimalist, and it believes the product can speak for itself. Furthermore, Gorham played on the idea of exclusivity, holding a tight distribution and only entering stores that would complement its brand perception.
But Byredo is more than just a fragrance brand, it’s a lifestyle. It keeps a close ear to the ground and is plugged into its fashionable audience. For example, the label partnered with a small boutique bookshop in Taiwan called Lucy Martin to campaign for its fragrance DE LOS SANTOS. The space was decorated with purple flowers, a wall of alternating posters and a monitor displaying an artsy campaign video. Another example is Byproduct, which launched in 2019 selling a line of non-beauty products, like apparel, accessories and eyewear.
Byredo walks a tightrope of growing its brand while maintaining its niche appeal. Up to this point, it’s managed to maintain its core values and speak to stylish customers. Currently, the brand’s skin care line only accounts for 10 - 20% of its overall sales, but that number is looking to increase in the coming years. McKinsey reports skin care has the potential to make up about 34 percent of the beauty market by 2024, 5% more than in 2020. Byredo will continue to do what it does best, evolve.
“I was really trying to compete with the big brands, and I needed to make sure that the perception of the brand and the experience and the product continued to be excellent in every way. That meant pacing ourselves. Peaking too early was a fear.”
— Ben Gorham, Founder of Byredo
🌍 Byredo leveraged the global demand for fragrances and thrived despite economic challenges.
✨ Byredo has been able to form genuine connections with its audience and offer experiences for consumers that set the brand apart from the competition.
📈 Byredo’s recent move into skin care could turn into even more growth for the brand.
In case you missed it, check out this free manual by Virgil Abloh that teaches you how to start a brand from scratch.