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Launch Sequence

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: October 13, 2008, from the April 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.
Marjorie Kitzrow has put a 30-year-career’s worth of marketing and brand building experience into the launch of Summersent, the first prestige fragrance for women to be launched by her company, Marjorie Midgarden Fragrances. The company grew from the memorable aroma of a single bloom into a firm dedicated to the creation and marketing of fine fragrance and related products through premium channels. 

Even the most optimistic among us expect to face challenges along the road to success, especially in the world of fine fragrance. Kitzrow had her concerns, but she also had a belief in what she was creating that carried her through to the point where she is poised to launch her product. “I’ve been so positive about this from the beginning, I thought it would work. As an entrepreneur, you know how to roll with it and how to adapt,” Kitzrow said. “I just felt in my gut I was going to find the right partner and get this thing on the counter.”

That partner turned out to be Von Maur, a 23-location department store chain operating in eight Midwestern states. Growing from a 20 x 50-foot storefront in Davenport, Iowa, more than 130 years ago, the company remains under the leadership of family members Charles R. and Richard B. von Maur, who are company co-chairmen, and James D. von Maur, president.

Von Maur was not the first department store Kitzrow approached to help market Summersent, but she recalls the good feeling she had about the company from the moment she first walked through the door of one of its Chicago area stores. It was a boho-dressed mannequin next to a display of fancy hats in a round glass display counter—both hip and very grounded—that said to her “They have the elegance.”

Kitzrow felt the company exhibited a quality that is very true to women. And as her fragrance product is based on respect for women, she said she felt very much at home with Von Maur. “They are very customer-oriented,” said Kitzrow. “It has been a great part of the strategy to finally end up with a really good retail partner.”