Luxury hair accessories could be the next big thing in travel retail. That’s the belief of Monica Masini, Founder and Designer of Italian brand Moliabal (the name combines the first two letters of Monica, plus those of three of her friends, Licia, Abele and Alberto).

The hand-made Moliabal portfolio include headbands, fascinators, clips, slides, French barrettes, ponytail holders and French pins

Masini, whose family has a background in perfumery distribution, created the company after spotting a gap in the market for high-end, chic hair accessories. “I asked myself: what is missing in the field?” she told The Moodie Report. “The market already had plenty of fragrances, make-up and toiletries. But hardly anyone was offering hair accessories. I had good contacts, and plenty of knowledge. So two years ago I set up Moliabal Milano.”

The first products went on sale about a year ago, predominantly in domestic perfumeries, high-end hairdressers and speciality shops. “The distribution is not huge but we are steadily building the business,” Masini noted.

Within travel retail, Moliabal is already available in Venice, Treviso and Tel Aviv Airports, with two openings at Milan Malpensa also imminent. “We are in discussions to open other airport locations,” added Masini. “Moliabal is a great impulse purchase. We see a lot of potential within airports and also the cruise line sector.

Left: items are presented in an organza bag; right: the Moliabal unit at Venice Airport

“In Tel Aviv we are selling 400 pieces a month, with no BAs, just a lovely wall space. It’s Venice it’s about 250-300 per month. That’s a good return for a small space and unit. Moliabal fits perfectly within fashion or perfumery areas. We are very keen to increase further our duty free distribution.”

The Moliabal portfolio comprises hand-made pieces, with a predominantly black-and-white colour scheme. Masini aims to offer about 15 new items every 45-60 days. The range includes headbands, fascinators, clips, slides, French barrettes, ponytail holders and French pins. Each item is presented in an organza bag. There are items for day and night, everyday and special occasions. The average price point is US$30-40.

“I love black and white, because it’s classic, elegant and timeless,” explained Masini. “It works for day or night, and every season. It suits all ages, and can be combined with any colour outfit”¦Tortoiseshell is another favourite of mine, for the same reasons.”

– For travel retail enquiries, contact Jean-Michel Bostroem on email: