The statistics are encouraging when it comes to the fragrance industry. A recent Forbes report showed that Black consumers represent $151 million [spent on women’s fragrances, out] of a $679 million industry.” However, this representation does not translate to ownership of these fragrance lines for reasons such as lack of access to “education, training and funding.”
More black women are recognising this gap and are setting out to create their own fragrance brands. An example is Marilyn Jones, labeled the Queen of Scents and the Founder of the self-funded fragrance brand, B Fragranced which is WBE (Women Owned Business) certified.
For Marilyn, her journey to starting a fragrance brand was triggered by the loss of her mother at age 5. When she passed, the one thing that stayed with Marilyn was her mother’s scent. From that little age, a passion and a zeal to create fragrances was birthed. She started B Fragranced LLC in 2013 which creates signature, personalized scents for her customers characterized as ‘ME,’ which gives customers a unique brand experience where they are encouraged to celebrate themselves and leave their memory marks just like her mom did.
If you are a lover of all things scents and are adamant about increasing representation within the industry, here are 5 tips to help you build your fragrance brand.
Research the market
“Know who and what your competitive landscape is like,” says Jones. It is important to find out what and how your competitors are doing; what are their strengths and weaknesses?
You can also build your knowledge of the industry by reading industry blogs such as Karen Gilbert: Fragrance Alchemy or following Jeremy Fragrance; the world’s leading fragrance influencer on Instagram.
Most importantly, you want to ensure you are bringing your unique sauce to the market. Think of what gaps in the market you can fill. What can you do best? What demographics are not being catered to?
Prive Label emphasizes finding your niche, as brands like Estee Lauder and Giorgio Armani have been around for decades, and produce mass quantities. Thus, you have to be able to identify and articulate your unique selling proposition. An example is Jo Malone, their philosophy of ‘fragrance combining’ is at the heart of their brand.
In addition, it is vital to think of strategic branding that appeals to your demographic. It includes elements such as your name, logo, choosing the perfect bottle, and dope packaging.
Learn your target audience
There’s a well-known saying that states: “If you try marketing to everyone, you end up marketing to no one.”
It is important you study who your audience is and create a buyer’s persona. What kinds of scents do they like? What don’t they like? What would they like more of? What kind of ads appeal to them? What are their income brackets? Where do they live? All these questions are useful to determine what kind of product your audience needs the most, how to price your product and how to get it in front of their eyes and ears.
After you identify your audience and construct a comprehensive buyer persona, it is important to strategically market to that demographic. Alpha Aromatics states that: “Marketing must appeal to all five senses; it has to tap into the psychological with ideas such as masculinity, femininity, romance, passion etc.”
Also, the advertising should describe the scents of the products with the use of words such as sweet, strong, light, suffocating, pleasant etc.
All of this information from your research should go into a business plan to help connect the dots in your business from ideation to production. It is also important to factor all the costs in, from advertising to marketing as well as logistics.
This goes hand in hand with researching the market. Find out what your competitors are charging; your prices should be within that range. You can charge slightly under the competitive price at the start especially if you want to attract a lot of eyes, or you can charge slightly above. If you are doing this, it is important your products are quality and you are able to communicate effectively to the prospective customer as to why they should spend those extra bucks on your brand.
“Network to your network,” says Jones. Research other fragrance experts and brands on social media. Follow them, engage with their content and slide into their DMs. Don’t be afraid to put yourself and most importantly put your product idea out there. Prior to technology, networking involved you meeting people face-to-face at an event, nowadays, you can hide behind a keyboard and communicate.
Attend industry events, and product launches and build relationships with people doing similar things as you are, or who have similar audiences as you.
“Be intentional with expos and trade shows,” says Jones. Come prepared. Although it is important to have a good time, you have to be intentional because you never know who you’ll meet. Have some questions ready, and a few business cards on hand. Also, it is always helpful to be able to tell your brand’s story in a sentence – who are you and what does your brand do?
Stay focused on producing the best quality for your audience
Finally, Jones advises staying focused on your brand and doing the work. Spend time working on your craft and ensuring smooth product development. Work silently and eliminate your competitors quietly. “Don’t let what others are doing distract your income. Don’t compare your year 1 to their year 5,” she says.
Lastly and most importantly, Jones believes God and prayer is the important component when starting any business. “As a Christian entrepreneur, I believe God to be my CEO and I’m his co-pilot. With that said, a must-have is prayer and clarity,” she asserts.
To keep up with Jones’s work at B Fragranced, you can visit her website https://bfragranced.com/ and Instagram page. They will be announcing new retail opportunities as well as mesmerizing products soon.