SAN FRANCISCO — Gump's is lighting a candle in hopes of evoking some of the old-world charm of its 145-year past.
On Thursday, it will unveil a private label collection of candles and home fragrances under the Gump's name. Marta Benson, chief executive officer of the department store, sees the home fragrance launch as part of a broader drive to reposition and reenergize the store by recalling a long-past era when luxury goods were made by artisanal craftsman inspired by original ideas.
The Gump's home fragrance collection, created by Gary McNatton and his Sausalito, Calif.-based Through Smoke group, consists of three fragrances, each embodied in a set of four items.
The three scents represent the different branches of Gump's 19th-century roots.
The collection, entitled Treasured, is meant to evoke the store's connection with Asian culture. Opulent is meant to signify the fine arts and design of Europe, and Majestic is the name for the San Francisco experience. Benson pointed out that Gump's was known in the early days for its European table-top merchandise and the store was one of the first retailers to travel to Asia. The pan-Asian and European focus is centered by the fresh San Francisco experience, she added.
Majestic, the scent created by Cosmo International and based on Northern California, is described as natural, green and fresh. McNatton explained that it contains an oceanic note, eucalyptus to suggest the Presidio and sage, meant to be reminiscent of the grassy hills of the headlands by the Golden Gate Bridge. The Eastern-inspired Treasured, developed by Givaudan, was meant to be mysterious, McNatton noted. It features Asian lily, Chinese ginger and burning incense notes. Opulent, the European-oriented scent created by Firmenich, contains notes of French verveine, orange blossom and Italian citrus.
Each scent is emitted by a candle, a home fragrance atomizer, a diffuser and amber resin-scented stones.
The candle is poured into a porcelain tea cup that McNatton said reminds one of "a monk's begging bowl." He added that the candles are designed to burn for 60 hours and contain a high percentage of scent.
The candles are priced at $75, the home fragrance atomizer at $70, the diffuser at $98 and the scented stones at $75.The collection will be merchandised online and in the store catalogue as well as in Gump's home fragrance department. None of the executives would break out sales projections, but industry sources estimate that the collection could ultimately do $500,000 in retail sales between the flagship, catalogue and store Web site.
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