Mary J. Blige is set to turn the traditional fragrance distribution model on its ear this summer with her first fragrance, My Life.
Not only will the entertainer launch the scent exclusively on HSN on July 31, she has an ownership stake in Carol’s Daughter, the beauty company launching her scent — both representing major departures for the prestige fragrance industry, which traditionally licenses celebrity names and sells the products in department and specialty stores.
“I stand behind my music confidently and I stand behind this product confidently because I’m in it,” Blige told attendees at the Summit, where she appeared on a panel with Steve Stoute, chairman and lead investor of Carol’s Daughter, and Mindy Grossman, chief executive officer of HSN. “I will not put my face behind anything I don’t believe in or my name. I’d rather have my good name instead of your money, and my goal is to show women we are in this together.”
Even the name is significant to the artist, who has won 10 Grammys and sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. “The whole reason for the perfume being named My Life is because that was the album that I began to call on women for help,” said Blige. “So the title, the album and my entire movement in my career has everything to do with why this perfume is called My Life. My entire movement has been about women rising up from the ashes like phoenixes and giving their life, giving themselves a shot and not beating themselves up.” Each bottle sold will mean a $1 donation to the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN), the charity Blige founded with Stoute.
“When Steve came to me and then I had the incredible honor of meeting Mary and hearing her story, this was like nothing we had done,” said Grossman. “It was emotional, it was real, it was authentic, it spoke to women, it could really use our platform in a very different way. And we’re redefining a channel for an entire business.”
With $3 billion in sales, broadcast to 94 million homes and a highly trafficked Web site, HSN was the right partner, said Stoute.
“The blurring lines of shopping channel has changed — the brand has to define itself, not be defined by the channel that you buy it in,” he said. And, he noted, the traditional creation model is also different here. “It’s not the endorsement aspect of it, it’s the authorship that you have to provide the artist and that’s what I like the best about this model,” he said.
“[You might ask] why would [consumers] buy a fragrance if they can’t smell it?” said Stoute. “And then you start realizing well they’re buying the fragrance because of storytelling.”
Noted Grossman, “We’re looking at it as a 360-degree experience. We sat back and said, ‘What are all the assets that we have that we can bring to life? What can we work with Steve, with Mary, with Carol’s Daughter on? And now can we, in the most immersive way, bring this to life?’” That will include a mini-documentary of Blige’s life, commercials on other channels, a presence at the Essence Music Festival, mobile preordering, direct mail to more than 30 million women — and, of course, Blige herself on HSN promoting her fragrance. “We’re using our Internet and community assets to literally envelope and create the experience around My Life,” said Grossman.
Grossman believes Blige’s story will resonate with consumers, particularly her passion about her charity. “I think getting that message across not just of the fragrance but the philosophy behind it and FFAWN, the belief and empowerment, is important to women,” said Grossman. “And we know that our customer loves the fact that if somebody goes, ‘Wow, you smell fabulous,’ she is now going to be able to tell the entire story.”
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye