Inside Diptyque’s big American ambitions

The storied Parisian scent brand is eyeing wide brick-and-mortar expansion within the US as it zeroes in on a DTC-strategy.
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· 4 min read

If you’ve smelled a mellow but lingering French fragrance while walking down the street lately, you might be next to a new Diptyque store.

The Parisian luxury fragrance retailer, with stores across New York and Los Angeles, is bringing its concept stores to other parts of the US, starting with a pop-up in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC, which opened in October. This was followed by openings in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Fillmore Street in San Francisco, and another store is also in the works at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas—all with the goal of making a trip to a Diptyque store an experience, while also strengthening its DTC channels.

Every store has a “different story,” Julien Gommichon, Diptyque’s president of the Americas, told Retail Brew. The long-standing Williamsburg location, for instance, was simply renovated and reopened to offer an elevated in-store experience. The changes include unique artwork and touches that exemplify Parisian culture.

Custom-made: Others, like the new store in DC, were designed to resemble an observatory (inspired by Diptyque’s Map of Stars collection) complete with compasses and, well, stars. The common thread across all these new stores is making the post-pandemic return to the store an experience.

“During the pandemic, we were a category of product that was really searched for…[We were] able to increase our awareness during that period,” Gommichon said. “It has been an important moment where there was probably frustration to be at home or to [not] be able to go out and do some shopping.”

During that period, Gommichon said, new clients who had never shopped the brand before were discovering its products online. This included customers not just in New York and LA (among Diptyque’s best performing regions), but also in smaller cities.

But since candles and scents are a category best experienced in person, especially at a luxury price point, Gommichon said the retailer wanted to focus on making the in-store experience special. “We are selling scents—things we need to touch, feel and smell,” he explained. “You can replicate that in a way digitally…but at the end of the day, our customers…really want to shop and have the physical connection and contact with our products.”

Among all its products, fragrance as a category has emerged as the bestselling one in the US by far during this process of discovery in stores, “because you really need to have that…effective discovery, especially if you don’t necessarily know the Diptyque fragrances during your first exploration,” Gommichon explained. He added that the brand has seen a noticeable interest in its market share for personal fragrances in the US versus Europe.

  • Currently, fragrances make up 30% of Diptyque’s total share of products that also includes home decor, bath products and, of course, candles, which customers in America are demanding in larger sizes.
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“All our clients in America are already interested in our large size candle, so we’ve launched a full collection of 600-gram, 1500-gram, and then—even though it’s a new format— [a] 300-gram,” Gommichon said. “[Larger candles] are really important in North America and customers love this product.”

Owning it: Diptyque plans on capitalizing on this large appetite for its products in the US by not just furthering its investment within fragrance and candles, but also growing out its other (fairly new) categories, like decor. And it wants to do that in its own stores as it zeroes in on a DTC strategy.

“We are really focusing on our direct-to-consumer strategy, which is really developing our e-commerce capabilities, together with new stores, to really offer the best omnichannel experience to our clients,” Gommichon said.

While the retailer will continue to sell through third-party retailers like luxury department stores, it does not plan on expanding those relationships. “I don’t want to minimize the role of department stores. They are great partners, and they contribute a lot to the discovery of the brand,” Gommichon said. “But we are not going to expand necessarily a lot of new doors in the department store. The goal is really more to elevate our presence to have better visibility, better space, and offer the best experience possible as close as possible than the experience we deliver in our own store.”—JS

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.