Luciano Bertinelli, the CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo Perfumes was on his maiden trip to India recently. His 17-year-old journey with the brand has been challenging and beautiful. However, it’s not finished yet. With a responsibility to put together a team and create new product lines from scratch, he ensured that the brand makes its presence felt in every part of the globe, 90 countries to be precise. After the success of their signature perfume, Signorina, the brand expects the same fate for its newly launched perfume, Amo. We sat down for a conversation with him in Delhi, talking of the world of perfumes and why he sees a huge potential in India. Edited excerpts:
Perfumes, unlike fashion, do not change much. What’s your take? What’s trending in perfumery today?
It’s true. The trends do change, but not so quickly. We are more conservative. There is an evolution and broad trend. The trend is of using natural ingredients, more niche. Rose is going to dominate this year.
Where does India stand in your scheme of things?
I recently checked some figures for 2018 and realised that China has been on top, toppling the US market. These two are followed by Russia and Italy. Then there’s India that can grow in double digits in the next few years.
What is your strategy for the Indian market?
We will continue to expand, and spend more on point of sale as well as communication. We came to India several years ago and there still is a long way to go. Our next step is to tap into the online business, and e-commerce. The consumers want to buy products here in India, not just when they are travelling abroad. With perfumes, one needs to first physically try before buying it online. The good thing is that we already have a strong offline presence in India. We plan to have more experiential stores with well-trained consultants to guide consumers. In the next two years, we would like to make our presence felt in tier I and tier II cities through e-commerce.
Indian consumers have been perfume connoisseurs for a long time. Have you profiled your target consumers?
Our target, especially in case of our new launch, Amo is for millennials, between the age group of 25 to 35, women who are financially independent, and globetrotters. In India, now is the time to gain momentum. It is not a day’s job. There are a lot of steps that we need to take, but we are ready.
Tell us all about creating a perfume.
It’s a long process. From the first strands of idea to the bottling process, it takes nine months on an average. The communication between departments has to be smooth. We generally target one olfactory family to create a product. In-house experts work for months to create the right concoction. There is a lot of back and forth. And before the product is officially launched, it is tested in key markets to gauze the reaction. Sometimes, we do adjust the fragrance based on the feedback. Perfumes are magical, but the process is not magic. It’s pure hardwork and team effort.
What is your team working on right now? What’s in the pipeline for this year and the next?
We were working intensely for 18 months on Amo, which has been released in India too. In May this year, we will roll out a new variation of Amo. It’s a lighter variation with Asian notes, and can be worn even in July and August. In September this year, we will launch a new chapter of our popular perfume, Signorina. It’s called Signorina Rebel. In February 2020, we will launch a perfume for men, where we will play with some leather notes.
Which are your favourite fragrances?
I love woody fragrances. During summer, I use lighter perfumes with citrus or green notes.