Estée Lauder Purchases Indie Fragrance Brand Le Labo

by Paige Reddinger

Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. made a deal to purchase indie fragrance brand Le Labo for an undisclosed sum yesterday. The brand’s specially concocted fragrances and unique customer-oriented touches like personalized labels are the furthest thing away from its new parent company’s mass market products, which signals that the beauty conglomerate might be looking to garner a younger, hipper clientele. Le Labo’s “About Us” section of is a manifesto of the company’s beliefs rather than a history of the company. Their mantras include statements like “We believe celebrities should pay full price”, “We believe it is more humane to test cosmetics on New Yorkers than on animals”, “We believe the future of luxury (hence of perfumery) lies in craftsmanship”, and We believe that we are only young once, but we can be immature forever”. The brand purportedly rakes in $20 to $30 million annually in retail sales, according to WWD.  

The company was founded in 2006 by Fabrice Penot and Eddie Roschi; the former L’Oréal executives opened their first store in Nolita. Penot and Roschi offer freshly prepared fragrances of essential oil blends, alcohol, and water that are made in front of the customer. The success of the duo’s business led to 35 points of sale, offices in New York and London, and 10 freestanding stores in cities like London, Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The brand’s latest store opening was in Hong Kong. But you won’t find any of that on the site. The only details listed about the founders: “They have nothing left to say about themselves hence the only line you will find on their resumes is Le Labo.”

The newest addition to the Estée Lauder Cos. portfolio will be overseen by group president John Dempsey, who also oversees MAC Cosmetics, Tom Ford, Prescriptives, Bobbi Brown, La Mer, Bumble & Bumble, Aramis & Designer fragrances, Jo Malone, and Smashbox. Estée Lauder Cos.’s last major acquisition was Smashbox, back in 2010; it was president and CEO Fabrizio Freda‘s first big deal at the company.


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