Sephora continues to grow its clean fragrance portfolio with the addition of Skylar.
Two-year-old Skylar’s retail partnership with Sephora represents its entry into brick-and-mortar; by July 5, it will be available in 200 U.S. Sephora stores and 15 Sephora Canada locations, and on Sephora.com. Skylar was recently included in Sephora’s accelerator program and was the only brand selected from the 2018 cohort of 13 brands to be sold in-store and online. Sephora currently offers seven other fragrances within its clean category, including Phlur, Ellis Brooklyn and The 7 Virtues. The addition of Skylar to Sephora’s shelves shows the retailer’s ongoing interest in diversifying its fragrance assortment and bringing in “ground-breaking” products in the category, said Carye Campbell, Sephora senior director of merchandising.
“The reason why we haven’t gone into retail is not a lack of opportunities,” said Cat Chen, Skylar founder and CEO. “It took over two years to make the first dive, because we want to do it right. Sephora has focused and dedicated their time and effort and shelf space [to clean beauty].”
Not only will the brand’s full assortment of six fragrances be included in the fragrance section of stores, but it will also be included in a standalone clean fragrance cubby in all doors.
Clean ingredients continue to become a mandate within skin care and even color cosmetics; seemingly fragrance has become the final frontier. In 2018, fragrance sales totaled $4.3 billion, driven by artisanal scents, according to NPD Group. Meanwhile, traditional designer fragrances have stalled, with a growth of only 2% between January and April 2019. Sephora carries approximately 18 designer fragrance brands, including Chanel and Tom Ford. Skylar’s “clean ingredients, modern scent [profiles] and packaging” made the brand a notable addition to its assortment, Campbell said.
Erika Shumate, Pinrose founder, said Sephora has been a “valuable partner” in product development and advancing the fragrance category. In April 2017, the clean brand launched an exclusive sample kit at Sephora’s request, which brought together the brand’s positioning around perception, senses and memory with customers’ desire for sample sizes.
“My biggest learning was to listen to what Sephora was [asking] and looking for,” she said. “Being able to develop products that encompass your brand ethos, but also what Sephora is trying to get at, is [important].”
To further support its launch into Sephora, Skylar will be driving shoppers to purchase from Sephora across its social media channels, including on Instagram where it has 52,500 followers and Pinterest where it has 3.8 million monthly viewers. It will also be sending dedicated emails to its shoppers — Chen declined to cite how many email subscribers Skylar has. Skylar will be investing in the in-store training of Sephora staff, as well as customer events, but Chen decline to cite figures. The brand recently hired a new sales manager to travel to stores to meet with Sephora sales staff, and Chen said her own travel schedule would also increase as a result of the partnership. In Los Angeles, where the brand is based, it will host two perfumer masterclasses in August and October for VIB Rouge members, Sephora’s highest tier in its loyalty program.
“We are taking this partnership and entry into retail extremely seriously. I feel like if we can sell scent online, then we should be able to sell fragrance offline,” Chen said.