Japanese luxury skincare brand Cle de Peau Beaute has launched its first flagship store in Singapore.
The label, owned by Japanese multinational personal- care company Shiseido, chose Singapore because of the robust growth in the beauty market here.
The 1,012 sq ft store is at Mandarin Gallery and faces Orchard Road, directly opposite the new Apple store at Knightsbridge Mall.
In an interview with The Straits Times before the store's official opening last month, Mr Jean- Philippe Charrier (above), president of Shiseido Asia-Pacific, says Singapore was picked because of how well Cle de Peau Beaute has been doing here - it registered double-digit growth last year - even amid a weak retail market.
The premium label is not the only beauty brand to experience growth in Singapore and Asia in general. Though retail reports for the region have been gloomy, the beauty industry has bucked the downward trend. According to consumer research group Euromonitor, the beauty and personal-care sector in Singapore grew from $1.45 billion in 2013 to $1.57 billion last year.
Singapore was chosen for the Cle de Peau Beaute flagship store also because of its appeal to tourists from the region.
Singapore-based Mr Charrier, who is French, says the country has a "positive halo effect on the region" and the store will be used as a showcase for the label in Asia.
"I see Singapore as a window for the other countries. I find it interesting to start things here - a country that is not big in terms of market size, but you have so many visitors. So many people visit Singapore and find the brand here."
Cle de Peau Beaute is also carried at three department stores here - Isetan, Takashimaya and Tangs.
I see Singapore as a window for the other countries. I find it interesting to start things here - a country that is not big in terms of market size, but you have so many visitors.
MR JEAN-PHILIPPE CHARRIER, president of Shiseido Asia-Pacific, on why the country was picked as the location for the first flagship store of Japanese luxury skincare brand Cle de Peau Beaute
Mr Charrier, who declines to give his age, says the concept store was launched to offer its clients experiential shopping.
The brand, founded in 1982, is more often found in luxury department stores such as Neiman Marcus in the United States and Shinsegae Centum City in South Korea. It is available in 13 countries, such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Canada.
Popular products include the La Creme moisturising cream ($875 for 30ml and $1,200 for 50ml), Intensive Eye Contour Cream ($300) and concealer stick ($116).
Mr Charrier says: "We are very selective about distribution points for the label, but we also want to create a stronger expression for it. For consumers, it is no longer just about buying a product. It is about experiencing and having an unforgettable time with the label, and a store provides that."
Despite the brand's high price points, he says there is still space for growth and is confident of the store's success.
"When it comes to the brand, we are still very selective, so it is not like we have reached a very mature stage with a lot of distribution points. We have room to grow and can still recruit more customers - local and foreign. We target highincome users who require sophisticated products."
Finding the perfect location to court these high spenders was also a priority. Mr Charrier says the company knew it wanted to be on the main Orchard Road stretch.
He adds: "It is an impressive location and is facing the main shopping street."
He declined to disclose how much was invested into the store. The space looks luxurious, housing 12,000 suspended Swarovski crystals, two facial cabins, an elegant gift-wrapping counter and a private area behind the payment counter with plush seating for more intimate consultations.
Adding to the glam factor at the store's official opening was American actress Amanda Seyfried, the brand's face since 2011.
Mr Charrier says the celebrity represents what the brand stands for.
"We want to convey a certain message to women about what kind of beauty we are talking about. We chose Amanda because she is a natural beauty, is sophisticated and has a natural radiance from within. We believe this is a way to personify the label to customers."
Housewife Leanne Ho, 45, who has been using Cle de Peau Beaute products for about four years, is excited about the standalone space, which she feels has a more exclusive feel compared with the brand's counters at department stores.
She says: "It is quieter and I like the peaceful ambience. It matches its exquisite products. It is like they want to indulge their customers even more."