While it might be smaller in size than the Procter & Gambles and L’Oréals of the world, Lalique Group, formerly Art & Fragrance, has found its niche in the market of high-end goods and is making its presence strongly felt in what is a multi-billion-dollar industry. The business was founded in Switzerland in 2000 with three perfume licences, and a goal to grow sustainably in the local marketplace. Fast-forward to today, and Lalique Group is worth €130 million and is known by luxury product consumers worldwide thanks to its highly efficient distribution channels.
As CEO, Roger von der Weid has been leading Lalique Group for the past decade. Throughout that time, he has played an instrumental role in its growth and development, turning it into the stable of highly sought-after brands it is today. “When I first joined, the idea was to develop and extend the company’s brand portfolio,” he says. “Our core activity was the development, production, and distribution of fragrances. Back then we also had plans to invest in some cosmetic brands — in skincare in particular — so in 2007, we took over Ultrasun, a suncare company.”
In 2008, the Group’s growth was quickly propelled forward when it acquired the French crystal manufacturer Lalique. This allowed the group to broaden its product portfolio considerably and, upon reflection, Roger says it was a wonderful highlight. However, at the time, the acquisition also meant complications. “Lalique was actually bigger than our beauty business at that time,” he says, “and needed to be restructured, so this presented a challenge in terms of time, resources, and management capacity. Since then, we have been able to reposition the brand and extend the business. It’s been very rewarding.”
Lalique was a company mainly focused on crystal decorative motifs and tableware items, explains Roger. “We diversified it by launching new categories in the interior design and home segments. We also introduced a fine jewellery business under the Lalique name. Most recently, we started an arts business in which we collaborate with external artists, such as Damien Hirst and Anish Kapoor. That’s been a very interesting initiative; it is creating tremendous awareness, particularly within the arts communities.”
The Group has always been well known for its heritage in beautiful art and design. Its portfolio includes products that go beyond being simply aesthetically pleasing — they also convey feeling and evoke a certain mood. “Our company statement is that we translate emotions into beautiful objects,” Roger says. “This is the way we have always done things and it is an integral part of our DNA. All of the people that work at Lalique Group have that same understanding; it’s very important.”
The focus now is on driving future growth in all segments. “I am convinced that we have huge potential to expand further. The vision is there and now we just have to realise it,” says Roger.
“Our beauty and perfume division is currently being internationally distributed and, depending on each brand, we are focusing on different geographical markets. When it comes to Lalique, a strong focus is currently on Asia as that’s the region where we can gain the most market share. China, Japan, and South East Asia, in particular, are the three areas we are looking to for significant growth.”