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LVMH launches Fenty Beauty by Rihanna in Asian travel retail

ASIA. LVMH-owned makeup brand Fenty Beauty is expanding its presence in Asia with new travel retail doors to open September. Fenty Beauty has announced locations in T Galleria by DFS in Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Sephora and Harvey Nichols stores. The brand will also be introduced to the South Korean markets through Lotte Duty Free and Shinsegae Duty Free’s stores in downtown Seoul and The Shilla Duty Free in Jeju.

Fenty Beauty was launched by Rihanna in 2017 and achieved a record US$100 million in sales just 40 days after its debut. It is the first new brand built by LVMH since 1987 and international singer and actress Rihanna is the first woman of colour to manage a fashion house in LVMH. Her star power and inclusive brand messaging has made Fenty Beauty a resounding success in Western markets. One of the brand’s key unique selling points is that it sells 40 different shades of foundation. 

Despite its success, Fenty Beauty has struggled to break into China, which is now the second-largest beauty market in the world. According to The Moodie Davitt Report’s content partner, Jing Daily, Rihanna’s star power has failed to captivate Chinese audiences, which demonstrates the importance of having mainland KOLs help translate brand messaging to a very localised Chinese audience. In China, it is Chinese actress Lin Yun, who has become an unofficial global ambassador for Fenty Beauty.

The decision to launch into new markets particularly in Hong Kong, Macau and Korea is part of the beauty brand’s larger strategy to break into the beauty category’s most dynamic region. On 29 May, Fenty Beauty launched a Weibo account, which only amassed 1% of Rihanna’s personal following, and a blank profile on Little Red Book.