Fragrances of Ireland opens its first Inis store in the United States
The Fragrances of Ireland perfume store based in Wicklow is destined for the beaches of California. The export company behind the sea-inspired Inis brand is opening its first US boutique in the Pacific Surf Resort in Huntington Beach, south of Los Angeles.
The expansion into its own physical store, to be called Inis, follows years of sales growth in the United States – its primary market – through approximately 3,000 outlets located in all 50 states.
Inis, billed as ‘the energy of the sea’, has traditionally sold well in coastal towns, but has performed better on the east coast than the west coast, according to Fragrances of Ireland managing director David Cox, who is now hoping the 1,200-square-foot Pacific Highway store will mark the start of a sales surge for the company in California when it opens in the fall.
“America is a cliché, but it’s so big, and they’re so good at business,” said Mr. Cox, who has yet to visit Huntington Beach and is overseeing the process of opening the remote store as a result of Covid. -19 restrictions.
“We’re all chatting about Zoom or Teams and it’s moving forward every week,” he said, attributing the location choice to the local knowledge of the company’s US marketing director, Karen Wilkinson. One of the consequences of the pandemic for business owners is that “you trust people more,” he added.
Inis, a unisex fragrance that aims to “capture the feeling of a perfect sunny day by the sea”, started out as a fragrance – which remains its bestseller – and is now an extended line that includes butters for the body, hand creams, shower gels, room sprays and other products.
Small points of sale
Mr Cox said Fragrances of Ireland, which increased its turnover to around 10 million euros, had generated the benefits of doing business “in a more complicated way” by dealing directly with small US stockists rather than selling through large distributors or chains.
The Inis brand is often sold in gift shops and surf shops rather than cosmetic stores, he said. “A lot of times we could be the only scent in the store, which is good for us.”
Mr Cox said he was “grateful” that the company – which originally focused on tourists visiting Ireland – has a vibrant export market in light of the pandemic. While Covid-19 “cooled our jets a bit” in the second quarter of 2020, sales in the United States were back to normal last summer as shutters rose again.