Fragrance is still a hugely blossoming sector with niche brands leading the charge to acquire investment. DS & Durga was founded in 2008 in Brooklyn  – self-funded – by husband and wife David Seth Moltz and Kavi Ahuja Moltz. The brand has just been snapped up by Manzanita Captial (owners of Dyptique, Malin + Goetz, SpaceNK and Suzanne Kaufman). It’s exactly the quirky and individual kind of fragrance that venture capitalists are craving to back – but the more exposure and corporate input these brands get, the less ‘individual’ they are. In fact, I’d cite DedCool and Phlur as similar in niche vein and there will only be more.

Coty has signed a licensing agreement with Marni lasting until at least 2040 to create beauty products under the Marni name. Coty divested GHD and Wella to a private equity firm four years ago and it seems that the longer term plan is to take things more luxury in the beauty sphere. Last year, Coty agreed to relaunch Marc Jacobs Beauty, destined for our shelves in 2025.

After a sales decline of 7% net sales (from $4.28 billion to $3.12 billion so nobody’s crying here) Estee Lauder Companies are targeting specific markets. Although the Estee Lauder brand (as opposed to ELC who own Clinique, Aveda, Bobbi Brown, MAC and Jo Malone London amongst others) is doing well, that’s quite a shortfall to make up. A collaboration with Chinese designer Shuting Qui takes the brand to Anna Sui territory, while a limited edition lipstick line with Indian designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee may well lead to a fuller collection. In other Estee Lauder news, they’ve just been fined by the UK government for underpaying employees taking them below the National Living Wage and making deductions for sundries such as uniform and PPE.

On the one hand, we currently have Dove owning the authority on whether children need anti-ageing skincare products (they don’t, obviously) thanks to the TikTok trend that sends hoards of kids to Sephora begging for Drunk Elephant and on the other hand, over in the US we have Hard Candy collaborating with Girl Scout Cookies on a 20 sku make up range. I should say that Dove has a Kids & Teenagers section on their own website that focusses mainly on body cleansing and deodorants but I’d suggest that kids don’t need mango scented deodorant or coconut cookie body wash either.

L’Occitane Gift Sets 2023

It was only a matter of time before the easy legal pickings of class actions in the beauty-sphere (maybe my favourite one was that L’Oreal Paris is not made in France therefore the customer felt cheated and misled) was challenged by brands. L’Occitane has got in first by filing a law suit against US law firm Zimmerman Reed. The nuts and bolts are that ZR ‘encouraged’ class action against L’Occitane’s use of third party tracking software with approximately 3000 ‘clients’ stating their privacy was violated. Third party tracking is standard practice on ecommerce sites and collects data about users across multiple websites, usually for advertising purposes but you can block it in settings at any time. L’Occitane accuses Zimmerman of ‘manufacturing frivolous claims’.

SpaceNK fell foul of the Advertising Standards Authority over an advent calendar competition that ran last year. They were challenged whether the prize was awarded fairly and the competition conducted fairly. While SpaceNK could show the winner had been selected via randomizing software, they weren’t able to show that all entrants had been included in the draw.

Things at The Body Shop have taken an unexpected turn – aside from the mass store closures (many of them still profitable) and staff given no severance packages (illegal), it turns out that there appear to be claims of unaccounted for funds from before Aurelius bought TBS from Natura. Ex-employees can seek compensation but claims need to go to a tribunal so there is no immediate financial support for them. Apparently, Next are back in the running to turn the company around but we just have to keep watching this space.

Last month, Greenpeace staged a demonstration outside Unilever’s head office in London with a banner reading ‘Profit Warning: Plastic Polluted Money’ next to the Dove logo. Greenpeace are calling for the end of single use plastics and the end of sachet production.


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