Perfumery is a world of its own. It doesn’t belong to beauty or fashion but is continuously present in both industries. And it is powerful. If make-up is there to enhance, improve or hide some of your characteristics, a scent is personal, part of your identity and most importantly, it tells the world you are there. Even before seeing you, people in your circle will feel your presence because of it. That is what makes a fragrance so special compared to any beauty product or piece of clothing. It defines a universe, yours in this case.
The world of perfumery is a quiet one, but fashion made it famous with amazing ads. From Yves Saint Laurent posing naked in 1971 for ‘Pour Homme’, his first fragrance for men, to Jean-Paul Gaultier amazing TV ads for ‘Le Mâle’ and ‘Classique’, his fragrances for men and women – it is impossible denying that fashion didn’t contribute to fuel our fascination for perfumes. On the other side, rare are the times you heard a beauty brand launched a fragrance until The Ouai and Glossier launched respectively a fragrance set of 3 scents and ‘You’.
In beauty, from your foundation to your lipstick, all products have a smell. So there is already an element of perfumery in it. The Ouai and Glossier just went the extra mile. On this note, I thought it was worth considering if you intend to create your beauty business, launching your fragrance.
Having a fragrance will complete the customer experience
The story of fashion and perfumery started with French fashion designer Paul Poiret. Gabrielle Chanel and many others followed his footsteps right after. I think the marriage of both worlds was successful because it looped the loop. Why go to another place to find your scent when you can do it where you buy your dress? On a business level, it is a smart way to make more profits while offering a new customer experience to your clients. People will stay in your universe and discover it in the most personal way because a scent becomes part of you. Exactly like beauty products. And Jen Atkin entirely understood it. Rather than creating new fragrances, she chose to turn the smell of some of her best-sellers into perfumes. That way just like in fashion, she was able to loop the loop. People won’t need to look elsewhere anymore for a scent that goes well with her products.
When creating your first fragrance, observe what are your most popular beauty products and start with the ones people love for their smell.
Create a timeless buy, not a trendy best-seller
Who would have known when Chanel n°5 launched in 1921 that it would be a scent that would be passed on from mother to daughter almost a hundred years later? All fragrances who survived the time did so because their scent is timeless. Just like Pantone and the colour of the year, trends and seasons also affect perfumery. That is why you prefer a type of scent from another one when seasons are changing. Nonetheless, there are perfumes that whatever the era, age or season people wear all year round.
I think that is what Glossier wanted to achieve with ‘You’. Besides an evocative name, the many reviews I read about the fragrance left me with a pleasant smile. The perfume smelled a little bit differently from person to person meaning it does its job: smelling like you, exactly like Chanel n°5 does. It would be presumptuous to say ‘Glossier You’ will have the longevity and story of Coco Chanel’s first fragrance, but it is undeniable to say it’s on its way to becoming a best-seller because rather than the perfume wearing you, you are the one wearing it.
It takes a lot of trial and error to create this kind of scent. If a chemist and a nose are a must to create a timeless fragrance, I think the most critical part of the creation process of a perfume is the testing. You will have to try it on different people with different type of skin to get this natural result of a scent that has enough character to be recognised without overshadowing your personality.
Creating a timeless fragrance hence a timeless buy is hard work but worth it. It will assure your brand to sell over the years and be remembered continually.
Attract a different type of customers
It is no secret that launching a new product category attracts a new customer base. I think if trying out a fragrance offers a similar experience to beauty, both products have a different type of clientele. Similarly to a customer looking for a foundation, the woman looking for a perfume will take time to pick the right scent for her. As a foundation, a fragrance sits on your skin and reacts to it. So the experience for both products will be similar until there.
So where is the change? In the intention. When a woman chooses to buy makeup, it is to make a change on her appearance, but when she buys a perfume, it is to enhance her personality. A customer who doesn’t care about makeup could become a loyal buyer of your perfume, just as the girl who never got to wear makeup will discover it through your perfume. I think it is rarer to have the reverse situation for a girl loving beauty.
Creating a shopping experience for a customer coming for you fragrances will then differ from the one who comes for your beauty products.
Launching a fragrance line means attracting your usual customers as well as new ones. If the former are familiar with your brand, new ones need more attention hence why your marketing strategy for your fragrance should also include them.
What do you think of this mix of beauty and fragrance? Let us know in the comments.