Following its acquisition by Estée Lauder Companies, Deciem is continuing its international expansion with a retail launch in Mexico.
On October 16, Deciem’s brands The Ordinary, NIOD and The Chemistry Brand will join the beauty floor of four locations of luxury department store El Palacio de Hierro. Also launching through the retailer’s website, the brands will be sold through new Deciem beauty counters at each location. The selection of brands will be the widest in North America for a physical retailer outside of Deciem’s standalone stores.
“For Mexico, we knew there was quite a demand there,” said Nicola Kilner, the CEO and co-founder of Deciem. The company selects new markets for retail entry based on DTC sales, social media followers and potential retail partners. The launch will be promoted by social and Google ads, as well as via email to DTC e-commerce customers based in Mexico.
For products being offered in stores, “We’ve chosen a mixture of our best sellers, but what was important, particularly with being in a more prestige department store, was to also have a mix from the other brands,” said Kilner.
The top-selling items bought in Mexico via Deciem’s DTC site match up to those in the top five globally, including The Ordinary’s niacinimide serum, AHA peeling solution, azelaic acid treatment, squalane cleanser and moisturizer.
Deciem adapts its physical retail expansion to the popular beauty shopping spots in each market. In the U.K., the company also distributes through a mix of department stores and mass retailers including Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Boots, while North America is “more focused on specialty with Sephora and Ulta,” said Kilner. ”It just depends on the specific market.”
The company has been on a significant growth trajectory over the past year with retailer expansion. With items frequently selling out, Deciem added a new vp of supply chain, Firat Mericer, to match production levels with demand.
“The business just exploded and sometimes it’s the infrastructure that can take a little bit longer to catch up,” said Kilner. The retail partners are much happier with us this year, which is what makes it easier to look at global expansion.”
For the Mexico launch, Deciem handled everything in-house, but new parent company Estée Lauder Companies may be more involved with future expansions.
“As we continue to expand, when we’re going into a new market, where we do need a local partner it would make sense for us to actually partner with the ELC affiliate rather than having to find someone independently,” said Kilner. “That’s where they will help us with a global expansion.”
A standalone Mexico store isn’t in the works for its 18-month plan, but Kilner said they are considering one for later in the future.
“Further down the line we will look at expanding, but we would always rather try and take baby steps as we’re going to market because there’s always learning around brand mix, product mix, and what the customer profile is there,” said Kilner. “We do it one step at a time.”
In addition to the company’s global e-commerce presence, expansion into physical retail is also a priority for brand awareness.
“Brick and mortar always plays an incredible role when it comes to customer experience and customers having that chance to try products, feel products and see them,” said Kilner. While its standalone store foot traffic is “definitely still seeing the hit” from the pandemic, “our own freestanding stores are more around brand experience and exposure rather than driving bottom line,” she said. As work from home becomes a part of life, the company is eyeing more residential areas for potential store expansions.
Within the next year, the company plans to launch in three additional yet-to-be named markets. Top-selling countries for DTC e-commerce distribution include the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and Germany. Deciem is also seeing “huge demand” in Malaysia and the Middle East, said Kilner.