In an interaction with Mamta Maity, indiainfoline.com, Jason Tongue said, “At present we are at the final stage of experimentation with few body care & perfume product lines. Hopefully we will launch them soon in the Indian market.”
Tell us about your journey as Director in brief and the recent challenges in the industry?
We started in 2013 when perfumes & home fragrances were believed to be a luxury. However, there was an underlying demand in the market as the middle class was growing rapidly. Simultaneously organized retail in the form of shopping malls, hypermarkets, exclusive stores, multi-brand retail, etc. was also expanding at an unprecedented pace. E-Commerce was also setting up its foothold dovetailed with the aid of rapid digitization & popularity of the internet. Interestingly, the retail boom was not just limited to major metros but was also foraying into the tier 2 & 3 cities. The environment looked conducive for a premium quality fragrance business to flourish & hence we took the plunge & entered the Indian market.
Although the journey over the past 6 years was not without bumps, we have emerged as a formidable player in the home fragrance segment. We have worked with a mindset of continuous evolution to stay ahead of the industry. Currently, we cater to both individual buyers as well as institutional partners such as hotels, spas, bigger retail outlets, etc. As an emerging brand with a 100+ workforce selling 200 SKUs, we enjoy an extensive retail reach spanning 25 Indian states. Our product portfolio comprises of a wide range of innovative products such as Reed Diffusers, Sprays, Oils, Candles, Scent Sacks, Burners, Electronic Diffusers, Refills, Tea Lights, and Scented Sachets catering to the multi-layered demands of various consumer classes of India.
Interestingly, over the past 5-6 years a lot has changed about the perception of fragrances as well. It is now no more a luxury but becoming an indispensable lifestyle product for Indian households. Households in India spend a lot of money on decorating & styling their homes with their personal tastes & aromas & fragrances are becoming an extension of this evolving lifestyle. There is a huge appetite for high quality yet affordable fragrance & aroma ranges in India.
What is the market size of the industry you cater to in India?
The fragrance market in India is presently pegged at around $500mn, with home fragrance comprising around 40% of the total market. The market size is still small (around 3%) when compared to the global market of home fragrances, which is estimated at around $7.2bn.
However, the home fragrance industry in India is poised to thrive in near future at an expected CAGR of around 20%, much higher than the global average growth of around 4.6%. In the foreseeable future, a commendable part of the global consumption will emanate from the country. A growing middle class, surge in per capita income & evolving consumer preference will fuel growth of lifestyle retail products such as fragrances & aromas. Interestingly, India’s attractive demographic dividends (over 60% of the population is aged 15-59) will also give thrust to the ascending tendencies in the lifestyle retail market.
Who is your target audience? How do you reach out to them or make them reach out to you?
Primarily our Target Group (TG) includes middle & upper-middle-income households. Alongside individual buyers, we are also seeking institutional partnerships with hotels, offices & spas, etc. where there is a growing demand for premium quality aromas & fragrances.
We reach our TGs through an extensive marketing & distribution strategy that is pinned on an omnichannel approach. Along with extensive retail & institutional outreach, we are also seeking huge investments in digital capability building.
We have a PAN India network of 100+ retail stores across various formats including exclusive Boutique Outlets, Life Style & Home Décor, Furniture, Super Market, Hyper Market, Cash & Carry & much more. In tandem to a prolific retail presence, we are expanding our e-commerce vertical as well to successfully ride the ongoing e-commerce boom in the country.
For our institutional deals, we have a separate B2B marketing & sales team. So far we have inked deals with major retail brands such as Shopper’s Stop, Crossword, Spencer, Praxis Retail, Nilkamal, etc. Likewise, we have also partnered with a host of major hotel brands such as Radisson, Taj & Orchid, etc.
What are your expansion plans going ahead?
In the Indian fragrance industry, we have consolidated our position as pioneers of English fragrance in India. We already have a Pan-India presence & now we are looking forward to ascend to the next trajectory of growth by further expanding our retail footprint across the latitude & altitude of the country. Along with metros, we are also scouting for opportunities in Tier 2 & 3 cities of India. In order to bolster our ambitious expansion plan, we are planning to triple our workforce to 300 in the current Financial Year.
We will also raise our online game by investing heavily into technological infrastructure & digital marketing. At present online accounts for a small part of our total revenue. However, as the Indian e-commerce industry is growing at a CAGR of 32%, we understand the pressing need to digitize fast & invest in innovative technologies to enjoy an edge over our peers.
What are the new innovations in store for your customers?
Rosemoore’s vision is to become the leading provider of international quality luxury yet affordable products to Indian Consumers. Hence since inception, our R&D unit has been based out of UK. It has helped us to keep a closer eye on the changing paradigms in the global market & chronicle similar trend-setting products in India. Besides, it has also aided us in sourcing premium ingredients internationally.
At present we are at the final stage of experimentation with few body care & perfume product lines. Hopefully we will launch them soon in the Indian market.
Do you foresee investor interest in this area?
As the industry is picking, it has started featuring on the radar of big MNCs & institutional players. Previously in 2011, Manipal Group’s fragrance division Primacy Industries has bought US-based Midwest- CBK, a candle manufacturing brand. Recently, Blackstone backed SH Kelkar has bought 51% stake in Italian company Creative Flavors & Fragrances following an investment of around USD 13.5 million. Likewise, Motilal Oswal has invested in Mysore based NR group, which is into air & home fragrances. Other giants like Godrej & Tatas have also entered the segment to tap into the growing demand from Indian households. We expect the uptrend will continue, as investors will be drawn towards the industry, lured by attractive dividends.
Are you looking for any strategic or financial partnership?
We are a self-funded company till date but open to equity & strategic partnerships to fuel our growth.
And last, what kind of challenges are you facing in India?
One of our major challenges involves skyrocketing retail real estate prices in India. Retail prices are soaring in major metros. Even if you have the price to pay, it is increasingly becoming tedious to find a decent quality shop in a prime location. A possible alternative to mitigate the risk is to rely more on the online retail. The e-commerce is definitely a booming industry in India, but it is not without caveats. Presently, the e-commerce space is run by deep discounts. This might be okay for mass merchandise products, but does not augur very well for a premium brand like ours.