Fragrance continues to struggle in the traditional environment yet is thriving in alternative spaces, according to Jenny B. Fine, who moderated last week’s Cosmetics Executive Women event in New York City. CEW brought together industry experts from Givaudan, Rituals, and Bath & Body Works for a panel discussion on the topic.
Realigning the business
Rituals Cosmetics and Bath & Body Works create fragrances and scented products that correspond to consumers’ experience of time, much the way greeting-card companies have notes for every milestone and occasion.
Bath & Body Works develops products according to a lifestyle-fragrance fashion model where “seasons determine scent in the same way they drive apparel,” said Camille McDonald, the company’s president of brand development and merchandising, speaking at the CEW event.
And, Rituals Cosmetics creates scented product lines for consumers seeking moments of calm and reassuring routines to contrast their hectic calendars. The company preferences intuition over testing when it comes to fragrance creation, according to Raymond Cloosterman, CEO. And Rituals designs for a taste-based demographic with products that he describes as “unisex and uni-age.”
Consumer-facing brands have long relied on the feedback they get from shoppers and customer service teams to augment what works well and improve what doesn’t.
Digital engagement in stores and beyond lets companies gather even more feedback and inspiration. As a perfumer with Givaudan, Adriana Medina Baez appreciates having digital tools and more information from her clients’ customers. In her work creating scents for Bath & Body Works, she relies on consumer feedback from social media and blogs. “Having open integration with the consumer really helps a lot,” she said at the CEW event.
Bath & Body Work takes pride in “leveraging social aggressively,” said McDonald. On social media “consumers are talking about ingredients and how [a fragrance] makes them feel, and that’s what makes a fragrance tangible,” she explained.
Creative professionals like perfumer Medina Baez use scents to make art that transports and enlivens consumers. She takes her inspiration first from the stuff of life: sunshine, music, museums, travel and family.
Medina Baez sees a trend toward scents that feel personal, don’t invade other’s personal space, and are lasting: “if a perfume can take you somewhere, it’s very appealing; or if it can make you feel something, it’s very appealing,” Medina Baez told Cosmetics Design.
Givaudan keeps their appealing fragrances a proprietary mystery. The company “is working on a plan to be more straightforward when it comes to formulation. Some clients ask for formulation details. In fine fragrance we do not reveal the ingredients, in house hold products we will,” she explained.