‘Global flavour’: China’s Maison Dixsept set on scaling brand up to compete with international fine fragrance players
Maison Dixsept is a niche perfume brand launched in December 2020 by founder and creative director Catherine Zhou.
Zhou told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that she created the brand because she observed tremendous opportunities in China’s fine fragrance market, which she believes has barely been tapped into.
At the same time, she recognised that in the fashion market, Chinese consumers, especially the Gen Zs, were moving away from the big labels and seeking out independent niche or even local brands.
She believes this trend has translated into the fine fragrance market.
“Perfume is like invisible clothing and is part of fashion. You wear nice clothes with a nice perfume and that’s the whole outfit.”
The brand is only in its first year but has been progressing quickly. It has recently partnered with one of the biggest fashion distributors in China that specialises in independent brands to reach the young fashion-conscious audience.
Additionally, it is about to sign a deal with a large Chinese beauty chain, which Zhou describes as a “Sephora for the younger generation”, in order to move away from e-commerce and into brick-and-mortar, which is crucial for its branding as a luxury brand, said Zhou.
“They have five flagship stores in the major cities in China and we’re working with them to have a special showcase in their stores.”
While the brand still has a lot of room to grow in China, Zhou emphasised that her ultimate goal is to make Maison Dixsept a globally recognised brand.
“Maison Dixsept is from China, but it really is a global brand. Our perfumer is based in France, our designer is from New York and we work with global fragrance house Symrise. Our partnerships are from all over the world so that’s why it has got a global flavour.”
The company believes it can offer the global market a new and unique perspective that can compete with international perfume brands.
“What I love about perfume is that it is an international language. We have a beautiful story to tell and told with the help of our French perfumer, Pierre-Constantin Guéros. I think it’s a wonderful combination of cultures that everyone can identify with,” said Zhou.
Zhou added that one of the brand’s goals was to show people another side of China, which she believes is often misrepresented.
“If you look at the foreign brands, they use a lot of red, slap a bird on a t-shirt and think that’s Chinese culture. China has 5,000 years of history and culture; I want to show the world that it’s not always so aggressive and there’s more to it that’s elegant and chic.”
Zhou believes the brand’s inaugural perfume Shanghai Vibe does just that. “Shanghai Vibe tells the story of an alternate Shanghai to the one you know. People who have tried the perfume have said to me that it smells exactly like Shanghai. We’re really proud of that.”
The scent was inspired by the autumn season in Shanghai. Zhou elaborated: “To me, autumn is the most beautiful season in Shanghai when you can smell the osmanthus in the air. Many big brands have used osmanthus but made it very fruity and sweet. However, if you do come to Shanghai in the autumn, it’s not really that sweet.”
This year, Maison Dixsept will be releasing new collections to expand on its line up of three perfumes. One of which will be inspired by the history of the silk road.
While the brand is eager to introduce its products to the international market, it has been bogged down by shipping and logistic issues especially to the US, said Zhou. “At the moment, for the first three quarters we will focus on China, but we won’t stop looking for a solution to this issue we have with shipping.”