Nose for opportunity: SCGE International eyes lucrative potential in Asia’s fragrance market

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

SCGE International launches new prestige beauty brand. ©Ange Gardien
SCGE International launches new prestige beauty brand. ©Ange Gardien

Related tags: Fragrance, Luxury beauty

Singapore-based company SCGE International has launched a new prestige brand, Ange Gardien, to capitalise on the rapidly growing fine fragrance market in Asia.

Ange Gardien launched early December in Singapore with a range of seven perfumes – five ladies’ and two men’s scents – that were produced entirely in France.

The fragrance launch is only the first phase for the brand. Moving forward, SGCE will be expanding the line to include more products centred around women’s beauty lifestyle.

The company has been distributing beauty and personal care products for the past decade or so and is backed by a Chinese company that operates a chain of beauty salons in China under the same name.

Ange Gardien is currently distributed in China through the SGCE-owned beauty salons.

“For China, a lot of time, it's based on network distribution. Our network in China is based on beauty salons, where the point-of-sales are made. These beauty salon owners will make the final to the patrons that visit them for beauty services,’ ​explained Claudia See, branding manager of Ange Gardien.

She added that this channel was very effective for the brand in China as it allowed it to be laser-focused on a specific target audience.

“This is a very specific network of people – people who visit beauty salons. It does not limit the potential of the brand. It's in fact very targeted marketing.”

She described the brand’s target market as women aged between 28 and 45 years old with “confidence, elegance and a true belief in themselves”, ​as well as high spending power.

“This kind of consumer is appearing at all these beauty salons and they visit the salon once every week,”​ See said.

Outside of China, the firm will follow the ‘conventional’ route and seek offline retail partners.

Currently, the company in talks with leading department store retailers and boutique shops in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand to carry the brand.

The firm is focused on expanding the brand through brick-and-mortar channels as it believes an online approach will rob consumers of experiencing the brand first hand.

“E-commerce is convenient, but when it comes to a certain price point, people still want to have a feel of the product and the whole entire experience of luxury brands,” ​said See.

She added that while the retail industry has been on the decline, the company believed that consumers would not completely abandon the channel.

“To be honest, retail is not doing great, but we believe it won't die down. There is a pool of people who are moving back to retail. In China, for instance, e-commerce has always been so strong. Interestingly, one of the leading e-commerce platforms, are seeing the luxury goods category numbers go down quite significantly,”​ said See.

Fragrance tracking upward

The firm has observed a steady rise of perfume usage among most of the Asian countries, including China, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

“Across the region especially for Asia, fragrance has always been trending upwards. In fact, it's growing very quickly in China and South East Asia,” said See.

She added: “We realised that fragrance does not have a great influence in certain parts of the market yet. We find that it is a good opportunity to capture this and introduce new fragrances and a new brand to tap into this.”

While the consumer behaviour in regard to fragrance habits and preferences differs from nation to nation, See said there are common themes such as the desire to try new things.

“People are curious about different scents, they don't wear the same fragrance for 10 years. People want to explore and have different scents for different occasions and context.”

The brand made the strategic decision to launch seven fragrances at once in order to cater to this consumer trend.

“You hardly see brands launching seven fragrances at one go. Usually, global brands will launch one signature and then launch different variations of it. We wanted to create more options for people,” ​See explained.

The company believes the fragrance market in Asia is still largely untapped and that it still has a huge room to grow consumers become more aware of perfumery through education.

Women-led lifestyle brand

SGCE does not plan to stop at perfumes. The company is scheduled to launch a line of luxury colour cosmetic products under the Ange Gardien brand.

See said it will be a full range encompassing face, eye and lip categories. This will include lipsticks as well as cushions foundations.

“The colour cosmetics line is a continuity of the Ange Gardien brand. We're looking to build a beauty lifestyle brand where we curate anything that women will need. Colour cosmetics is naturally something that most women use daily,” ​she said.

The colour cosmetics line is scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2020 and will launch another collection in the fourth quarter of the same year, revealed See.

“Colour cosmetics is all about new things – people want to try new stuff. So, it has to be quick and efficient which is why we are already planning for our second phase of colour cosmetics.”

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