Jo Malone X Rodin Olio Lusso: A limited edition line or savvy testing period?

by | Aug 10, 2022

Last week, two fragrance and lifestyle giants launched a limited collaboration.

New York-founded Rodin Olio Lusso and British Jo Malone are undoubtedly a perfect match, but is the partnership more than just a limited luxury line?

The mid-2010s were a big year for luxury body care, Jo Malone launched its first foray into the product sector with the launch of the Lime Basil & Mandarin Shower Oil and the Geranium & Walnut Scrub. A year before, Rodin Olio Lusso was acquired by Estée Lauder Companies, solidifying it’s role as a key player in the market and an expansion into make-up.

Now, the brands have come together to curate a limited-edition five-piece line that draws on heritage scents of jasmine and neroli and the ingredient authority championed by both brands. But, didn’t all Rodin channels close in April last year?

Yes, the brand – originally founded by stylist Linda Russo – shuttered alongside Becca cosmetics which also closed in 2021. ELC cited the global challenges of Covid-19 as the reason for the brands’ original demise.

On the news of the closures, the brand reported on Instagram that Rodin would make a return with Jo Malone via a ‘fragrance skincare capsule collection’. Originally touted for an October 2021 release, the line hit shelves last week.

The question – is this really a limited edition line for lovers of Rodin? Or, is the ELC group testing the waters for a brand relaunch?

The power of collaboration in beauty

Just as in fashion, beauty collaboration has become rife across all areas of the market. Whether it’s BYREDO X Travis Scott capturing the fragrance hype or the Gen-Z focused Lottie London X My Little Pony – it’s clear that the ‘X’ factor has been the focus of beauty’s attention.

Clearly, beauty brands have harnessed the power of popular culture touch points for product branding and recognisability. It’s less often that two names within the same market and category collaborate. That’s the beauty, pun intended, of ELC’s reintroduction of Rodin to the market in which it had lost its footing – it’s something we’re not used to seeing.

Harnessing an engaged customer segment 

Jo Malone’s customer base is loyal and returning thanks to the longevity of lines and brand awareness. The brand’s estimated value is thought to sit at £572.4m and although revenue was reported to drop due to the consequences of Covid-19, the brand has made a financial comeback which proves strong resilience.

This provides the perfect basis for the re-emergence of Rodin to the AB customer base it had cultivated since it’s launch in the early 2000s. It’s clear the brands behind the collaboration are jumping on this too – creating a range that uses the iconic Rodin branding and packaging, scents that the consumer knows and a range that remains simple but covers all bases.

Power lies with indie brands, now

The rise of the beauty indie brand has been exponential with more brands hitting the market and capturing the attention of younger consumers (think Youth To The People and Refy). When ELC acquired Rodin, they incubated the brand within the ELC Ventures team. Designed to encourage founder involvement and maintain original brand identity, ELC Ventures nurtured Rodin as an indie brand at a time when everyday consumers hadn’t yet tapped into the phenomenon.

Could this venture, the re-introduction of Rodin as a luxury indie brand, lead to increase growth now that consumers are comfortable with investing in lesser known brands?

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