Aesop, the cult skincare and fragrance brand, was launched in Melbourne in 1987. Over the past 35 years, the luxe player has carved out a major reputation on the international stage.

The company’s spectacular growth over the past 10 years has been fast-tracked since its acquisition by Natura & Co, the parent company of The Body Shop and Avon.

The Brazilian beauty and personal care giant acquired a 65 per cent majority stake in Aesop for $68 million in 2012. At the time, the Aussie brand was sold in just eight countries through 57 standalone stores and 54 department stores.

In 2017, Natura & Co acquired 100 per cent of Aesop’s business after upping its distribution to 177 signature stores worldwide.

Over the past three years, Aesop has doubled its sales, growing 23 per cent in 2019, 50 per cent in 2020 and 33.4 per cent in 2021. The company now has 269 signature stores which account for 76.5 per cent of its total sales.

After testing the Chinese market through Alibaba’s Tmall Global in 2018, Aesop opened its first flagship store in March. A landmark move that attracted 700,000 followers by July.

The first Aesop standalone store in mainland China will debut on Shanghai’s Dongping Road this month in a renovated heritage house.

The development is part of Aesop’s cornerstone strategy to go mainstream while retaining its niche appeal. In the past few months alone, the company has opened a larger format store in London’s Regent Street (its 24th in the UK), a new store in the trendy Marais district in Paris and its first signature store in Spain in the heart of Madrid’s hipster Salamanca district.

The new format stores in London, Paris, Shanghai and Madrid offer a bigger size and a broader audience to appeal to, notes the company.

Aesop’s luxury, gender-neutral, vegan and cruelty-free positioning has seen its global revenues reach US$500 million and the brand is on track for further expansion in Germany, southern Europe and the Middle East.

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