Luxury jewelry house Cartier hopes that its latest fragrance, Carat, will make the brand seem “cool” to millennials.
The 171-year-old brand is peeling back its illustrious curtain with its first women’s fragrance launch in four years. The Carat fragrance soft-launched on Cartier.com in August and in select retail partners like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus this month. To drive continued awareness around the launch, the brand is opening a free pop-up on Wednesday, which lasts through early November, in New York City’s Soho neighborhood.
The Carat pop-up builds on Cartier’s other free and public experiential events, such as a perfume cloud art installation in Paris and a jewelry exhibit at its flagship Fifth Avenue mansion, both last year, and a traveling “Precious Garage” exhibit by artist Desi Santiago, currently on view.
Cartier, along with other luxury houses like Nars and YSL, have joined the wave of brands trying to capitalize on experiential pop-ups to promote beauty launches. Cartier opted for a dedicated pop-up location separate from its Fifth Avenue mansion — a deviation from its exhibition strategy — in order to offer a more immersive experience. The ultimate goal, however, is to make customers more comfortable with the brand so they will not feel intimidated to walk into its flagship location.
“The [Cartier mansion] is open to everyone, but we know that Cartier is a legend on its own, so you can feel a bit timid or shy to push the door to the mansion in New York,” said Léa Vignal Kenedi, managing director of fragrance at Cartier. “[Carat] is about, how can we continue to open our door to young people?”
To enhance the accessibility and cool-factor for the brand, Cartier is relying on the minimalistic décor of the pop-up. Inside, there are white walls and countertops to display permanent fixtures, like a fragrance fountain, a colorful wall of daily mantras and a men’s grooming demo using the brand’s Pasha cologne. There are also weekend workshops that will rotate, like flower-arranging and bottle-engraving workshops on Saturday afternoons and scented meditations on Sunday mornings.
Cartier is also partnering with paid influencers Lainy Hedaya, Serena Goh and Lisa Dengler through the online beauty publication Byrdie for native content on its website and social posts around the pop-up experience and perfume.
In August, there was a display for Carat on the first floor and the fourth floor of the flagship location, but as of this week, Carat’s main destination will be in the Soho pop-up. Cartier will also be offering free samples of Carat on its website.
By focusing on the fragrance itself in the pop-up, Cartier hopes to deepen its relationship with customers. The pop-up is designed to invite the public into the mind of Cartier’s in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent, who created Carat based on the prism effect of a diamond, which can refract light in a way that looks like a rainbow. Carat has seven flower notes, like violets and daffodils, that share the same color scheme as a rainbow.
Even with the free pop-up and samples, Kenedi said that she did not explicitly view the new fragrance as an access-point to reaching younger customers in the hopes they will eventually level-up to buying the brand’s more expensive jewelry. However, it is a distinct possibility because, at $72, the Carat perfume is one of the least expensive products a person can buy from Cartier.
“We can’t do sneakers, but our coolness is about how we choose to intimately connect with our clients. It’s a way to invite new clients,” Kenedi said.