Sweet smell of success for Abel, with $2.2 million of investment funding


Frances Shoemack, founder of Abel

New Zealand-based perfume house Abel launched in 2013 and rapidly amassed something of a cult following for its commitment to developing natural, clean fragrances, which hold their own on the world stage.

The forward-thinking business has not only achieved impressive New Zealand growth (including launching its popular Wellington perfumery and brand showroom Fabriek) but has also quadrupled its global sales over the last five years.

Reflecting business confidence in the evolution of the clean perfume label is the announcement of Abel’s $2.2 million funding round led by Maker Capital, giving Abel the honour of securing one of Maker Capital’s biggest funding investments to date.

Maker Capital is a venture capital firm with a focus on investing in purpose-driven brands set up for international growth. Funding will be invested in R&D and accelerating production to meet growing demand, as well as brand-building activity and sales teams in the brand’s largest market – the US.

“Bootstrapping to date, means we’ve grown our business in a lean, organic way,” says Abel founder Frances Shoemack.

“We’re really proud of the robust global business we’ve been able to build within these financial constraints. However, the capital raise with Maker means we’re able to jump on opportunities previously out of reach for us – a super exciting prospect for the team and me.

“In particular, there’s a huge opportunity for Abel in the US (already our biggest market) where we see the conscious perfume category really beginning to explode. Most of the funding will be directed at the US market, with very exciting plans with our existing retail network, new accounts, adding boots on the ground, and brand building.”

The successful seed round underscores strong investor confidence in Abel’s growth trajectory and increasing consumer interest in clean and conscious beauty, now a US$5.4 billion category.

Offering biodegradable and renewable perfume alternatives to the petrochemical-derived synthetic scents that dominate the category has set Abel up to capitalise on the increasing market demand for non-toxic beauty.

Founded by New Zealander Frances Shoemack in Amsterdam in 2013 when she was unable to find a natural perfume that was chic, modern, and long-lasting, from day one, the brand had a clear mission – to inspire positive change by making the world’s best natural perfume without compromising on ethics or aesthetics.

Working with Australasia’s only Master Perfumer, Isaac Sinclair, Abel sets itself apart in its use of the latest natural science and its relentless pushing at the intersection of sustainability and minimalist luxury.

Together, the two set out to prove to the world you could have a natural perfume without compromises – by using the best natural science, a precision approach, and working with the best suppliers in the world.

Eight years since the launch of their first perfume and the pair have shown what’s possible when you think outside the square.

In 2018, the UK Financial Times quoted Abel as “well on their way to being the world’s best natural perfume” and the brand has been featured globally in Vogue and Condé Nast among others.

Abel boasts a retail network in more than 30 countries and continues to be based in Wellington, creating a collection of unisex scents that are 100% natural, biodegradable and vegan.


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