On December 16th, the American luxury beauty giant Estée Lauder Companies Inc., through its early-stage investment and incubation division New Incubation Ventures (abbreviated as “NIV”), announced a strategic investment in the Chinese fragrance brand Melt Season. This marks Estée Lauder’s first investment in a Chinese fragrance brand and the second in a Chinese beauty brand after CODEMINT (known as Wan Su Zhi Fu).
NIV stated on its official Instagram (as shown below): “We’re excited to announce our first fragrance investment in China, Melt Season. Estee Lauder has been a leader in luxury fragrances since our first fragrance in 1953. We’re excited MeltSeason is now part of building on this rich history as we focus on extending our category leadership in the space by expanding our unrivaled portfolio of differentiated, artisanal fragrance brands.”
Founded in 2020 by Ni Lishi, Melt Season positions itself as a luxury fragrance brand. It received seed-round funding led by Yishanziben Capital upon its establishment and secured tens of millions of yuan in angel funding in March 2022.
Melt Season, grounded in Eastern scent profiles, explores the aesthetics of life and living through its subtle and restrained fragrances. In December 2021, it launched its first collection, “Bottle World,” featuring six fragrances. Recently, to mark its second anniversary, the brand introduced the new concept of “flow” and the philosophy “Be water, I flow,” likening the unstoppable nature of scents to the free flow of water.
Melt Season’s products include a classic series and a haute couture series, priced between 980-1280 yuan per 100ml, along with scented candles (320-580 yuan) and flameless diffusers (880-1080 yuan).
In July 2022, Melt Season opened its first store “Chen Jing” on Taiyuan Road in Shanghai. In April this year, it launched the nation’s first themed pop-up store “Wei Mu” in Shenzhen’s MixC World, followed by its first Beijing store “Shi Jian” in Sanlitun Taikoo Li in May. To date, Melt Season has opened three permanent stores, two of which are in Shanghai.
Melt Season is one of the more active local brands in China’s fragrance market in recent years. According to the “China Premium Fragrance Brands Power Ranking” published by Luxe.CO Intelligence in October this year, based on store expansion and marketing communications from October 1, 2022, to September 30, 2023, Melt Season ranked 20th among the most active high-end fragrance brands in the Chinese market.
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About New Incubation Ventures
New Incubation Ventures is an early-stage strategic investment and incubation division of the Estée Lauder Companies. NIV collaborates with visionary founders and entrepreneurs to build and support emerging beauty brands and new business models, shaping the future of the beauty industry. This initiative also establishes a diverse brand portfolio and new growth engine for the Estée Lauder Group.
In September this year, Estée Lauder made its first investment in a Chinese beauty brand through New Incubation Ventures, targeting the pure beauty brand CODEMINT, founded in 2021 by Zhou Yangqing.
| Source: New Incubation Ventures official Instagram, Estée Lauder Group official website, Melt Season official WeChat public account
| Image Credit: New Incubation Ventures official Instagram, Melt Season official WeChat public account
| Reporter: Huang Yuting
| Editor: LeZhi