H&M Beauty has ambitious plans for fragrance after launching three perfume collections

Rue Crémieux, Above the Clouds, T-Shirt and Santalum: these are some of the best-sellers among the 25 perfumes launched by fast-fashion giant H&M on August 16. The Swedish group’s first foray into the fragrance business is a large-scale effort, with the launch of three perfume collections designed by two fragrance designers from Givaudan: Nisrine Grillié, Givaudan’s emerging talent, and Olivier Pescheux, who notably designed the 34 boulevard St-Germain fragrance for Diptyque.


Some of the fragrances by H&M - DR

"We worked closely with Sarah Wallander [head of concept design at H&M Beauty] and, despite H&M’s size, communications were smooth and quick, and it took us one year to launch 25 fragrances, when sometimes it takes two to three years to develop one single perfume,” said Nisrine Grillié.

The initial brief was to create a wide range of perfumes, a unique set of scents able to appeal to all of H&M’s customers. The range is split in three collections.

First of all, the ‘Singles’ line, consisting of 10 fragrances built around a single dominant note, like chocolate, vanilla and even the scent of freshly laundered linen, like T-shirt, one of the line’s best-sellers at €4.99.

Then there is the ‘Rêveries’ line, which is “closer to what you find in selective perfumery stores,” said Nisrine Grillié, available in a range of eaux de toilette (€14.99) and body sprays.

Finally, the perfumes in the ‘Essences’ line are created around a key element like sandalwood, patchouli or rose, and have more of a niche perfumery feel, featuring eau de parfum (€24.99) and roll-on perfumed oils.

The ‘Singles’ and ‘Rêveries’ collections are available at all H&M stores which sell beauty products, about 2,000 of them worldwide, while the ‘Essences’ collection is only available at 200 H&M flagship stores in major cities.

From scent to packaging, H&M’s fragrance collections have been developed by Maesa, a specialist in the design and production of perfumes and cosmetics.

Maesa creates bespoke beauty lines for some other major fashion retailers, like Bershka and Stradivarius, and said that, though the perfumery market is sluggish, there are interesting growth opportunities with specialised retail chains, especially fashion and home decoration ones.

Consumers are indeed growing increasingly less fond of selective perfumery stores. According to US market research firm NPD Group, the channel lost 1% in sales and 3% in physical store footfall in 2017.

Fast-fashion retailers therefore have unprecedented opportunities in the fragrance category, for example by offering products which replicate the feel of niche perfumery scents. Though the latter only represent 2% of overall fragrance sales in fact, they are growing in double digits.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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