‘Not like the others’: Will Documents be the C-beauty brand that finally achieves global success?

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Documents has all the elements in place to stake its position on the international stage but needs a partner that can help them achieve this goal. [Documents]
Documents has all the elements in place to stake its position on the international stage but needs a partner that can help them achieve this goal. [Documents]

Related tags Fragrance China Perfume

Chinese luxury brand Documents has all the elements in place to stake its position on the international stage but needs a partner that can help them achieve this goal.

On January 5, USHOPAL, a leading luxury beauty and retail group in China, announced it invested an undisclosed amount in the high-end fragrance brand.

This marks USHOPAL’s first equity investment in a domestic brand. It has previously acquired British skin care brand Argentum and French fragrance brand Juliette Has A Gun.

USHOPAL founder and chief executive Guo Lu said Documents had solidified its belief that “China has produced brands capable of stepping onto the global stage”.

“Documents is one of the very few Chinese brands that can compete with global high-end brands in these aspects,”​ said Guo.

A special brand

For years now, several C-beauty brands like Perfect Diary, Yue Sai, and Florasis have tried but none have close to becoming a global powerhouse.

According to Clean Beauty Asia founder and China market guru Allie Rooke, Documents is “not like the others”​ and seems to have what it takes to become a global force.

“When L’Oréal invested in Documents, everyone thought this brand had the potential to go global. And if you look at it compared to so many of the previous C-beauty brands, there’s something different about Documents in terms of aesthetics – it’s really a brand-led brand,”​ said Rooke.

“They have been very disciplined in the way they’ve packaged everything, and in their store aesthetics. They’ve opened 10 stores in two years – and that’s 10 standalone stores. They have a very high average basket size, around USD200, which is massive for a Chinese brand. They also have very high repurchase rates and conversion rates.”

Since launching in 2021, the brand has expanded from fragrance to body care and home care. Furthermore, it has also expanded into jewellery and fashion.
“It’s building this whole lifestyle brand and becoming more than just fragrance,” ​said Rooke.

The right partnership?

In the firm’s press statement about the acquisition, Guo said the USHOPAL has “has actively sought outstanding Chinese high-end beauty brands”.

Rooke believes the company sees the brand as its opportunity to start taking C-beauty brands global.

She added that it would not surprise her if USHOPAL moves to acquire the brand soon.

Whether USHOPAL is the right partner to help Documents on this global journey remains to be seen.

The firm does have a track record of working with international brands such as Chantecaille, RMK, and Aveeno.

However, while the company may have the network, they may not necessarily have the right expertise, Rooke noted.

“An acquisition from L’Oréal would be much better for Documents.”

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