Editor's Spotlight

Is indie fragrance being overlooked?

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Deagreez)
© Getty Images \ (Deagreez)

Related tags Fragrance Indie beauty brands Niche fragrance brands

The independent beauty movement is still going strong. And new skin care, hair care, color cosmetics, and wellness brands launch seemingly every day. But indie fragrance brands aren’t as evident. Here Cosmetics Design looks back at a selection of our indie fragrance coverage to get a better sense of this niche.

New indie fragrance brands often align closely with contemporary consumer trends: natural ingredients, personalization, travel-friendly, sustainable, mindful, etc. This gives the brands access to a dedicated consumer base but also keeps them a bit hidden from the mainstream fragrance shopper.

Natural and flexible scents

Cosmetics Design had been covering news of a brand called Pour le Monde​ for nearly 5 years now. The brand is an all-natural fine fragrance brand and was an early proponent of the fragrance wardrobing concept that so many beauty consumers enjoy today.

“That’s in contrast to a time when signature scents went hand-in-hand with meticulously groomed and fairly ridged identities,” wrote Cosmetics Design in a 2015 item about Pour le Monde​. “Millennials don’t want signature anything and there are now more choices and options [for everyone],” ​Pour le Monde founder Wendi Berger told Cosmetics Design at the time. Still, the brand’s biggest consumer—millennial or otherwise—is the clean and natural consumer.

Mindful fragrances

Astrology, crystals, and aromatherapy are just some of the things that mindful lifestyle product brands leverage to calm and connect with today’s always-on consumer.

Zodica Perfumery​ is a fragrance brand out of Wisconsin, founded by Kristi Moe, that is all about scent and astrology. The collection is, as Cosmetics Design has reported, “meant to be worn in three ways: by sign, by season, or by attraction.”​ The brand concept isn’t only about the zodiac, it’s also about efficiency. What Moe has created is a shortcut to finding scents that speak to individual consumers, those purchasing for themselves as well as those buying fragrance as gifts. It’s part of the reason why Zodica Perfumery does well as an ecommerce and video commerce brand.

Solid scents

Consumer trends and environmental concerns have made solid and waterless beauty products more sophisticated and more popular. At Othús Perfumery, Colleen Keenan Nelms has created a collection of solid scents that are at once small-batch, artisanal, and contemporary.

“We create solid eau de parums in portable, twist-up tubes that can fit in a pocket, handbag or palm of the hand,” explains Keenan Nelms in her Indie Beauty Profile.“Our customers appreciate being able to apply these perfumes throughout the day and while on the go, making it easy to consider them their best travel companion,” ​she says.

A fragrance legacy

Caswell-Massey has been an indie fragrance brand for hundreds of years. The original American fragrance maker has updated its business in recent years and is currently meeting long-time customers and shoppers discovering Caswell Massey for the first time at a pop-up shop in New York City​.

And Caswell-Massey is keeping up-to-date with collabs and the naturals movement too. The brand has teamed up with the New York Botanical Garden and Yellowstone National Park on contemporary collections of American scents. Caswell-Massey president Nick Arauz calls the Yellowstone Living Florals Collection“one of the most remarkable projects our company has undertaken.”



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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