The Fragrance Foundation’s second event in its Insiders’ Breakfast series for 2011 was hosted by Jonathan Zrihen, president and CEO of Clarins Groupe USA on April 21 at Clarins’ offices in New York City. Tailored to provide attendees with a unique opportunity, these events allow members of The Fragrance Foundation to interact and learn about select beauty industry leaders and their companies, in an informal and intimate setting.
Mr. Zrihen, now in his 17th year at Clarins, started with the company as an intern, and has held six different positions in seven countries since he joined. Clarins Groupe USA, a privately-owned family company and currently the top prestige skin care brand in Europe, is now estimating more than $1.5 billion in annual revenue. In addition to skin care, Clarins is known for their star-studded fragrance portfolio, which includes Thierry Mugler Angel and David Yurman’s fragrance trio, among others, and a new Swarovski fragrance to be unveiled next year.
“I believe that you are only as good as your team,” said Zrihen. “We have a very high sense of entrepreneurship and an open culture that allows employees to contribute in other areas of expertise aside from their own. We are a big company with small layers, and we can execute tasks very quickly.”
On the global front, Mr. Zrihen is responsible for introducing the brand to China and India, and led the development of special products for the Asian market, which represents 18% of Clarins’ business today. Moving forward, Jonathan is focusing on expanding the brand’s awareness in the U.S.
“The U.S. is the biggest, but one of the most difficult markets in the world,” said Zrihen. “We are working to make the brand more desirable here, but once you get the consumer to the counter, the brand needs to become irresistible. And in a crowded market, it is important to nurture your point of difference.”
Nearing almost 60,000 Facebook fans, Clarins is also focusing on expanding the brand’s digital presence, and working closely with bloggers.
“We are introducing a new website in July with a new experience for our consumers,” said Zrihen. “The Internet and digital has to be fun.”
Busy with the responsibilities that come with being president of a global, billion-dollar company, Jonathan still manages to balance work and family. As a happy husband, and father to a son and twin girls, he says he has landed his ultimate dream job.
“I am a very happy and fortunate employee of a fantastic company,” said Zrihen. “The grass is pretty green at Clarins.”
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