The Glossy 50 celebrates individual changemakers. They include executives who took their companies into new, competitive categories, industry newcomers who disrupted age-old processes, dealmakers who led groundbreaking partnerships and creatives whose work managed to cut through the noise. More from the series →
The New Class: It was a breakout year for these founders, designers and TikTokers.
Sol de Janeiro’s recent virality earned the brand triple-digit sales growth in the first half of the year.
Sol de Janeiro, co-founded in 2015 by Heela Yang, Camila Pierotti and Marc Capra, quickly rose to cult status in 2023 thanks to the popularity of its hero product: the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. Social media buzz and the rise of vanilla scents were among the biggest factors. On TikTok, influencers including Alix Earle and Jus de Rose organically posted about the product, which launched eight years ago. According to Yang, retail sales for the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream increased 29% year-over-year. On TikTok, #soldejaneirocream currently has 3.9 million views.
While the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream catapulted the brand’s awareness, Sol de Janeiro’s expansion into the perfume mist category is what really boosted the brand’s bottom line, Yang said. According to its parent company L’Occitane, which bought the company at the end of 2021, Sol de Janeiro experienced a 174% sales increase, to $454 million, in the six months ending on September 30.
“Today’s consumers are looking for something that is more casual but just as sophisticated as a fine fragrance that they can [add to their fragrance] wardrobe and also throw into their gym bag,” Yang said.
According to Yang, the brand’s awareness has “leapfrogged” in the past couple of years. “In most of our markets, we have now brand awareness of 20-30%,” she said.
Throughout 2023, Sol de Janeiro has hosted pop-ups in NYC and L.A. to celebrate being named Sephora’s biggest-ever seller in body care. And in May, the brand partnered with “Euphoria” star Barbie Ferreira for its annual summer campaign. The campaign, titled “Where Will They Take You,” promoted the launch of Sol de Janiero’s limited-edition summer fragrance mists. Reportedly, the campaign drove an overall sales increase of 33% and over $2 million in earned media value through posts by over 50 paid content creators.
Sol de Janeiro also expanded into travel retail this year. In April, it partnered with travel retailer Dufry to bring its core product range, including the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream and the Brazilian Crush Cheirosa ’62 Hair and Body Mist, to U.K. and Spanish airports, ferries and cruise locations. The airport pop-up has since expanded to other parts of Europe, and it will make stops in the U.S., Canada, Argentina and Mexico this fall.
“Over 90% of our growth this year is from [social], and it’s organic,” Yang said. “We have a tremendous opportunity to expand our distribution, but we’ll do that thoughtfully and with the right partners that can support the brand.”
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