Granado’s journey has taken different turns throughout its 150-year history. Founded in Rio as a pharmacy in 1870, the company became one of the most traditional cosmetics brands in Brazil, only to decline to a near-bankrupt state in the late 20th century before being acquired by Englishman Christopher Freeman, in 1994. Together with Phebo, a Brazilian soap brand that was also acquired by Freeman in 2004, Granado rose from ashes and boasted a R$ 400 million annual revenue when it sold a minority stake of its business to Spanish group Puig, owner of brands such as Carolina Herrera, Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Granado did not confirm the exact stake size or the amount paid for the acquisition, but the company makes no secret of how the proceeds will be used. “They will go towards significantly reducing the debt taken on for the construction of our new plant in Japeri, about 75 km far from Rio, so we can continue investing in the production side of the business and in growing the company both in Brazil and overseas,” says Sissi Freeman, marketing director at Granado/Phebo. Both Sissi and her father Christopher, who is the company’s president, will remain in their positions. "Puig will have a seat on the board of directors, and the acquisition will not affect Granado’s operations,” she says.
Following the agreement with the Barcelona-based group – which declared revenues of over € 1.65 billion in 2015, half of which came from developing countries –, Granado plans to expand the number of flagship stores, which emulate the look and feel of vintage pharmacies. Today, the brand has around 50 points of sale in Brazil and its products are also available in drugstores, perfumeries and retail networks. Granado made its debut overseas in 2013 with a kiosk in upscale Paris department store Le Bon Marché.
Immediately after the acquisition by Puig, the company announced the release of its first-ever fragrance line, Vintage Granado. The range consists of three citric fragrances: the floral ‘Musk’, the woody ‘Folha de Laranjeira’ (‘Orange Leaf’) – both created by perfumer Carmita Magalhães – and the Mediterranean ‘Verbena’, signed by MANE perfumer Sophie Truitard. “The fragrances are timeless, versatile and contemporary. They bring freshness and lightness to otherwise classical ingredients in fine perfumery”, says Sissi.
After the fragrances are produced, they go through a 7-day grinding process that intensifies the olfactory notes. The collection is elegantly presented in custom-made glass bottles with a golden valve and Surlyn lid inside a hard cardboard box featuring high-relief, art nouveau motifs. The fragrances are sold only at flagship stores for R$ 110 each (300ml). “Our customers have been asking for Granado fragrances for quite some time and they came as an opportunity to set the flagship stores apart from other points of sale,” says Sissi.
The new collection also recalls a historic moment for the brand. Both the packaging and the labels of the fragrances reference ‘Perfumaria Helios’, a discontinued line of luxury products known for making eau de toilette for ladies in the 1910s.
Sissi reveals the brand expects to end 2016 – a harsh year for the Brazilian economy – with a 12% growth. For the coming years, customers can expect new releases. “We will certainly take advantage of Puig’s expertise to further improve the technology of our products,” she says.