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Scent Sleuth: Fragrance Empowers Private Label

By: Nancy C. Hayden
Posted: January 9, 2009

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Paris Presents is one private label supplier that is doing fabulous business creating a product line with a turnkey type operation, and CEO Leah Bailey has expanded business dramatically—from just bath amenity products to entire lines of bath and body toiletries for retailers such as Kohl’s, Target and Sears. And fragrance plays an important part in establishing the distinctiveness and theme of each line. Fragrance direction is provided to its essential oil house, with instructions to create a scent appropriate to the product function while meeting current fashion and style trends and consumer tastes.

It should be noted that this private label renaissance is not limited to retail. Private label hotel, resort and spa amenities have exploded, and fragrance is an important factor because it also plays a role in branding these getaways. Bare bones formulas and fragrances are available to very fine upscale products.

Many Hilton and Ritz Carlton locations offer personal care amenities with a wonderfully distinctive green galbanum floral aldehyde, and a warm apricot/fruity ginger elevates the ReNeu Botanical line offered in Crown Plaza spas. A Hollywood boutique hotel features a line of Baronessa Cali products formulated with olive oil and vitamins and driven by an exquisite powdery damascene rose with sandalwood undertones. The fragrance carries the line with the innuendo of pure luxury.

Never underestimate the consumer’s subliminal olfactory recognition. Tastes may vary, but certainly new creative touches such as botanicals, fruits and spices provide a trendy, contemporary and natural feel that piques consumer interest and offers the satisfaction of a valuable feel-good purchase. It is these olfactory additions and key fragrance choices that can make or break a private label brand. Perhaps we’ll see a reversal of roles in the future, where a private label brand captures a unique fragrance trend in an economical, trendy product that is copied by the personal care giants.

Nancy C. Hayden is a chemist and a pharmacist with more than 30 years in the fragrance industry. She worked as a nose for Jovan from the company’s beginnings and as fragrance director for Jovan Beecham until 1988. Currently, she is a consultant to the fragrance and cosmetic industries.