Kendall Jenner Will Take on Fragrance Next In Estée Lauder's Bid for Millennial Customers

Estée Lauder CEO Fabrizio Freda breaks down the company's game plan for attracting younger customers and details its expansion strategy for all those brands it just acquired.
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Estée Lauder CEO Fabrizio Freda breaks down the company's game plan for attracting younger customers and details its expansion strategy for all those brands it just acquired.
Estée Lauder campaign star Kendall Jenner. Photo: Estée Lauder

Estée Lauder campaign star Kendall Jenner. Photo: Estée Lauder

Kendall Jenner's run as the face of Estée Lauder is far from over. Having already starred in ads for the brand's makeup, her next mission as millennial-baiting ambassador will be fronting the print and television campaign for its new fragrance, Modern Muse Le Rouge, this fall. Estée Lauder CEO Fabrizio Freda announced the news during a Tuesday morning call to report the company's financial progress, while pointing out that fragrance and makeup are good recruitment categories for younger shoppers.

With sales across all of Estée Lauder's brands rising just 1 percent in the first three months of 2015 to $2.58 billion, the company's namesake line isn't the only one getting some youthful reinvigoration. Clinique, too, is refining its approach to a millennial clientele, by working with Cool Teen™ Tavi Gevinson, getting more digitally savvy and upping the frequency of its product launches.

But, Freda explained in an interview with Fashionista later on Tuesday morning, Clinique and Estée Lauder aren't coming at younger shoppers from the same place. Clinique has always had a large contingent of teenage customers — the purchase of its three-step face cleansing program being something of a rite of passage — while Estée Lauder never marketed directly to them. Hence hiring Jenner to rep the brand. Very direct.

As for all those acquisitions Estée Lauder made last fall — snapping up Le Labo, Frederic Malle, Rodin Olio Lusso and GlamGlow for a collective $242 million — Freda says that growing their businesses will be a gradual evolution with an emphasis on keeping distribution "very selective" for the time being. While Frederic Malle and Le Labo have five and 12 freestanding stores, respectively, GlamGlow largely sells through Sephora and Rodin through boutiques and chains like Barneys. 

As far as expansion goes, Freda sees a lot of potential for Le Labo in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and, in the long term, Latin America; although the first point of business will be growing its footprint in the U.S. Meanwhile, he says the company is prioritizing Rodin's growth in the U.S. and Europe in the short term, but sees "amazing potential" for the brand in Asia. As for GlamGlow, expect to see it branching out into product categories beyond the mud masks and cleansers it currently sells.