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Plans for Harry Styles’s Pleasing, from new CEO Shaun Kearney

Pleasing is among a wave of digitally savvy brands that began selling directly to consumers via its own channels, which brings higher profit margins, while traditional department stores have seen sales decline. However, many multi-brand retailers are now updating their stores and offering brands more control over how their products are priced and displayed. Many DTC holdouts are also pivoting to wholesale in a bid to reach new customers as digital marketing costs rise.

The decision to enter into fragrance appears to be a well-calculated move, experts say. While Pleasing experienced high consumer interest during its initial unveiling, there was a notable decline in engagement after October 2022, according to social analytics firm Brandwatch. Following the recent news of its fragrance line, online mentions of Pleasing witnessed an uptick by 4,286 per cent (between 2-5 November) compared to the median mention volume, data shows.

Kearney declined to comment on Pleasing’s profitability, annual revenues or sales growth but says that “for a company so early on, it has been very impressive” and on its current path predicts “a really healthy trajectory over the next few years”. His goal is to build “a powerhouse lifestyle brand” that “really influences the conversation and truly impacts people’s lives”. Kearney explains: “It’s not just about the product; it’s about leading the conversation and being part of what’s happening in the world and offering a place that people trust and can meet.”

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Pleasing’s retail space at Selfridges, which is inspired by its fragrance bottles as well as the golden days of early cinema, intertwines nostalgia with contemporary design elements — an approach that is reflective of its DNA, according to the brand. Customers can discover and sample through a vintage-style beauty counter. There will also be a trio of ticket booths, where visitors can collect a free “ticket”, spritzed individually with one of the fragrances, printed on archival paper that serves as physical keepsakes. Each day, visitors will discover surprises, such as confections and sporadic mini-shows performed by roaming artists.

“Selfridges is a great destination for discovery [and] really allows us to bring Pleasing to existing customers but introduce it to a new audience, too,” says Kearney. The brand has a broad customer base that ranges from 10 to 85 years old, although the highest engagement comes from Gen Z and younger millennials, he says. Among Kearney’s goals for Pleasing is to capture older millennials, and striking partnerships with stores where they spend time and shop is key.

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