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Luxury home fragrance brand Maison Berger to open first U.S. store

Al Urbanski
Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany lead the luxury lineup at Shops at Merrick Park.

The in-house perfumer made famous by Coco Chanel and Picasso in Paris during the ‘50s and ‘60s has made a start to seek a wider user group in America with a first shop in Coral Gables.

Maison Berger Paris, which has been available in Nordstrom and Saks stores in the United States, will now look to establish an independent retail presence with brick-and-mortar stores here, starting with a 729-sq.-ft. shop at Brookfield Properties’ Shops at Merrick Park.

“The U.S. is a strategy market for us. We’re missing distribution and brand image and want U.S consumers to better understand the brand,” said Maison Berger managing director Guillaume Wehrlin. “We want U.S. consumers to have a shop where they can smell our 70-plus fragrances.”

In 1898, Maurice Berger invented a catalytic lamp used to purify the air in hospitals. When outfitted with a perfuming function, the Lampe Berger became popular with Parisian artists and influencers to tamp down the smell of smoke at parties and evolved into an elegant room deodorizer. The brand leads the $400 million home perfuming market with department store presences in 70 countries. Its standalone stores are limited to but a few in France.

“We felt we were really missing something, so we decided to invest in one store as a first step,” Wehrlin said. “We have a huge community of consumers in Florida, so we said, ‘Let’s start there.”

Artful crystal designs of its lamp cost as much as $900, though lamp starter sets are available for $50. Its fragrances are sold in nine different categories that include Fresh, Woody & Herbal, and Gourmand and range up to $80, though some of their scents sell on Amazon for under $20.

“We want to bring new offerings to our consumers, and we’re really excited that Maison Berger picked Merrick Park as the site of their first standalone store,” said Erin McCarthy, Brookfield’s VP of national retail development. “We have Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, and Lululemon there, so it’s a fabulous property for them.”

Wehrlin intends to move slowly with Maison Berger’s U.S. expansion.

“We need to experience how it works to open a store in the U.S. So we’re going to go easy as we start,” he said. “But I think the room for expansion and recruiting more consumers there is huge.”

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