John Thorsell’s InterGlob Services finds travel retail winners

John Thorsell has an eye for picking brands that will be successful in travel retail. Thorsell created InterGlob Services in 2017 after long stints working for major beauty companies L’Oréal and Coty. But since starting his agency, Thorsell has found success in the market in multiple categories.

John Thorsell

“After more than 15 years in the duty free industry I saw the opportunity to represent different brands in the duty free market. We started small with one brand: Diplomático Rum. From there we started building the brand and building InterGlob,” says Thorsell.

InterGlob offers brands the expert support they need to realize their full potential in travel retail and Latin American local markets, he tells TMI.

“We are a flexible, long-term and committed partner dedicated to creating opportunities and tailored solutions for brands and retailers. We offer independent brands the qualified support they need to realize their full potential in the desired markets,” says Thorsell.

“We work directly with the brand to develop the best strategies, merchandising, brand visibility, advertising, reporting, forecasting and product training. We strive to establish long-term relationships with all partners, both suppliers and customers.”

Thorsell believes that his background in the beauty industry, along with his success with Diplomático Rum, have given him a well-rounded perspective.

“Coming from the beauty industry with L’Oréal and Coty gave me the experience to wear many hats, to be able to negotiate, and have the logistical knowledge and the creativity to do promotions,” he says.

“I offer the brands expert support when they lack the knowledge of duty free. We are supporting those brands with the know-how, with the clients, and with the expertise to help them enter the duty free market.”

Duty Free Americas featured Canaïma Gin at Punta Cana International Airport Terminal B for the entire month of April. “Not only did we have the main activation space for sampling, but we also had a promotion that with a purchase of 2 bottles of Canaïma Gin you receive a free cocktail at the LUV bar in the same terminal,” Thorsell tells TMI.

Reinventing the portfolio

While Thorsell has worked with winning brands, he has also had to deal with the inevitable sale of these brands to major companies.

His first brand, Diplomático Rum, was purchased in October 2022 by Brown-Forman as the liquor giant’s entry into the growing super-premium+ rum category.

Thorsell also signed with global phenomenon beauty brand Sol de Janeiro before it was sold to The L’Occitane Group in November 2021.

“InterGlob already has a trajectory of picking successful brands. This company has an eye to find brands that have a very good future and huge potential. We are very niche in what we look into, we don’t want a large portfolio. We want brands that we know we can relate to, that we can grow together with and be part of a family of brands,” he says.

“After Covid and the sale of those beautiful brands I needed to reinvent the whole portfolio,” he explains.

The InterGlob reinvention reflects Thorsell himself and also his connection to his native Venezuela.

“I’m from Venezuela. So grew up with both Diplomático rum which was my first brand, and Ron Roble rum, which I have now signed. To be categorized as a rum from Venezuela there is a certificate that guarantees it has to be made with molasses from Venezuela, aged a minimum of two years in oak barrels, and 40-50% alcohol. Ron Roble created this 12 years old single vintage that is first aged in oak barrels and then transferred to bourbon and to Pedro Jimenez barrels. It is priced at $55, the entry point price level for the sipping rum category,” he says.

InterGlob has also signed Canaïma gin, a small batch gin from the producers of Diplomático.

“Diplomático was the first product that they sold for export. And then they started with Canaïma Gin. We call it a project because 10% of the proceeds goes back to the Amazon. A lot of people think that the Amazon is only in Brazil but it spans across eight other countries in South America. Nine out of the 19 botanicals come from the Amazon making it more unique and special.”

InterGlob’s first confectionery brand Pirulin is also well-known in Venezuela.

“Pirulin is from Venzuela as well, created by Italian immigrants. They started producing it in 1970s in Venezuela, but because of the situation in Venezuela now it is produced for export in the Dominican Republic. But with the same ingredients, same formula. It is a treasure from Venezuela,” he says. “The confectionery is new to me but it is coming from my heart.”

Among the beauty brands in its portfolio, Thorsell believes InterGlob has another beauty category winner with Off-White Fragrances.

“We are working with the Off-White fragrance brand created by Virgil Abloh. Off-White wants to develop that niche of travel retail and give it a new strategy to make it more available and accessible,” he says.

The response to InterGlob’s portfolio shown at the Summit of the Americas has been positive, Thorsell tells TMI.

“We believe that these brands have an amazing future. The buyers have seen the potential. There has been interest and we had great meetings with important retailers.”