INTERVIEW: Molton Brown’s Rosie Cook on the brand’s major new EDP launch

By Charlotte Turner |

Rosie-Cook-Molton-Brown-leadThe launch of a new Eaux de Parfum range for Molton Brown, presents the brand with an opportunity to recruit new ‘niche fragrance lovers’; especially millennials or ‘xennials’, says Rosie Cook, Associate Director, Global Travel Retail & Export, Molton Brown Global.


In this exclusive interview, Cook tells TRBusiness that this is one of the company’s objectives, as it enters a new chapter in its fragrance-making history, scaling up its offer from 12 to 27 scents.

It’s been nearly a year since I received a preview of the new Molton Brown Eaux de Parfum range – the largest in the brand’s history. With a long lead time such as this, there must be high levels of anticipation ahead of the launch next week. Assuming your retail partners have also been offered a preview of the range, what has been their feedback?

Ahead of the launch on 27 August, we have indeed introduced our new Eau de Parfum collection to our retail partners and their feedback has definitely exceeded our expectations.

Our partners have really resonated with the authentic story behind the fragrance creation. Consumers are increasingly savvy and see through brands who aren’t authentic, so we were uncompromising in making sure this relaunch was completely faithful to the brand’s original philosophy; of putting individuals at heart of everything we do.


Rosie Cook, Associate Director, Global Travel Retail & Export, Molton Brown Global.

They were also very impressed by our unique approach to fragrance creation, not only working so closely with the individual perfumers, but also in how we were going above and beyond the industry norms for EDP fragrance concentration (using 20%, whilst the industry average is 18%).

Choosing  a personal scent can be overwhelming so partners were really interested in the interactive profiling tool that we developed with The Future Laboratory, which charts your emotional response to sensory stimulate, enabling a journey of ‘self-discovery’

We’re taking a different approach to helping people navigate through our extensive range, making it more about them, and less about us. We are guiding them to discover something about themselves as human beings and are providing personalised recommendations matched to them from our extensive range.

How important will this launch be to MB’s strategy in TR?

We always want to challenge industry norms, and we have taken the same approach with our EDP launch, in order to position Molton Brown as the new guard in British perfumery.

The niche fragrance category is experiencing growth as consumers seek to find a scent more personal and unique to express their personality.

Fragrance sales in TR are already one of the highest across our business, so being able to offer our customers more of what they want will help to cement Molton Brown’s position in TR as a fragrance expert as well as complement our TR strategic pillars; Relevance, Experience & Discovery.



Created with The Future Laboratory, the new profiling tool uses a shopper’s personality to pair them with a fragrance, “rather than the less-understood olfactory preferences used by most existing profilers,” insists MB.

Where will it be listed?

We have a very select distribution model to ensure that we can execute the best possible customer experience.

The new range will be listed within a selection of key World Duty Free counters including London Heathrow T3,T4, and our flagship T5 location; London Gatwick North/South; Manchester and Glasgow. All will have dedicated MB consultants, highly trained to give customers a best-in-class experience when it comes to discovering the right fragrance for them.

The ambition is to start in these top locations and roll out further over the next 12 months.


One of Molton Brown’s ten ‘visionary perfumers’, Jacques Chabert.

How important is newness to the company’s success in travel retail, both in terms of retaining listings and prominent exposure in key travel retail locations, as well as its ability to recruit new consumers?

Getting the right balance between newness and heroing our iconic collections is key in TR. We have a lot of travellers new to MB passing through our airports or reading inflight brochures, so sharing the stories behind our best-sellers and brand heritage is key.

For our more frequent flyers and loyal customers, newness is key to keep them excited about our fragrances and enable them to experience and discover something different on their journeys. We want them to know that MB is at the forefront of fragrance trends and challenging the status quo to give them something truly unique.

I’m sure you will agree that the fragrance market in travel retail is over saturated, with high-end and niche perfumery gaining greater share of retail space in recent years. What is Molton Brown’s strategy for attracting the customer’s attention over and above its competition, in addition to recruiting new customers?

Our new Eaux de Parfums are combining the highest quality ingredients with the highest possible fragrance concentration level for a longer lasting fragrance experience, while the collection’s beautiful lids has been crafted in unique colours to reflect the individual character of each fragrance.

We have made sure to support this new launch with various activities and events on counter, where our new EDPs are launched.

This includes an elevated gift-wrapping service, with a beautiful branded pouch in three different marble designs; linking back to marble used in our original store in South Molton Street.

Our gift bags and boxes will also be elevated by a bespoke marbled ribbon, which is exclusive to our travel retail counters.

As we are well aware of the importance of sampling to ‘win’ in the fragrance market, we have developed a line-up of 1.5 ml samples for our full range of Eaux de Parfum and Eaux de Toilette, which we will use to drive trial of our new unique fragrances, to both new and loyal customers.


Molton Brown’s new Rosa Absolute Eau de Parfum; now part of a 27-piece collection of fragrances (EDTs and EDPs).

Do you believe there is potential to target more men with MB’s portfolio? Or is it not a priority for MB in GTR?

We definitely believe there is more potential to target men further with our portfolio as we are significantly increasing our portfolio of fragrances.

We already benefit from iconic fragrances that are very successful with men in the travel retail channel such as Re-Charge Black Pepper, Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel and Tobacco Absolute, in addition to our men’s skincare collection.

While our primary priority for travel retail channel is about heroing our fragrances, we consider all of these gender neutral and hope that our fragrance experts will help customers discover their ultimate scent, based on their personality and not historic gender norms.

MB in travel retail enjoyed a fantastic year in 2018 (+25% YTD sales growth by October). What is the company forecasting for 2019?

We have seen double-digit growth in the last three years in TR and this is not forecast to change any time soon.

We have been seeking out new locations for the brand to support our global omni-channel approach.

This means operating a multichannel approach through our hotel amenities business, domestic market (luxury wholesale and SAS) along with ecommerce and travel retail to complete the customer journey of the brand.

Our parent company (Kao) has selected MB as one of the key focus brands to achieve their 2025 goals, so there is a lot of focus on the brand and in particular, succeeding in the travel retail channel globally. No pressure…


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