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BCBG Building Fragrance Franchise

A little more than a year after launching its signature scent the brand is back with another fragrance, BCBG Max Azria Bon Chic.

The BCBG Max Azria Group is building a fragrance franchise.

This story first appeared in the August 31, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A little more than a year after launching its signature fragrance with New Wave Fragrances LLC, BCBG is back with another fragrance, BCBG Max Azria Bon Chic, with new licensee Elizabeth Arden to solidify its role as a serious fragrance player. Rolling out to Dillard’s and BCBG stores in September, Bon Chic, which means “good style” in French and is what the first two letters in BCBG stand for, is priced at $55 for a 1.7-oz. eau de parfum and $75 for a 3.4-oz. edp.

“We were very excited about our first fragrance. It was such a successful launch,” said Lubov Azria, chief creative officer of the BCBG Max Azria Group and wife of Max Azria. “We wanted to partner up again with [Givaudan perfumer] Stephen Nilsen, and we wanted to create a fragrance that was obviously different, but still with the feeling of the BCBG lifestyle brand.”

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Bon Chic has top notes of black raspberry, Asian pear and mango; middle notes of pink peony, violet and orange blossom, and base notes of soft woods, vanilla and cashmere musk. Like BCBG’s last fragrance, Bon Chic’s faceted bottle is capped off with the brand’s butterfly logo blossoming into a flower, but Bon Chic’s bottle is gold, a change from the earlier fragrance’s pink bottle.

“It is a little bit more sensual and sweeter, and I think it is sexier, almost,” said Azria, who noted customers might wear the scents together or choose one depending on their preference at the moment. “We have different moods, and I think that sometimes we feel one way, sometimes we feel another way. I usually change perfumes. On hotter days, I wear different ones from the cooler days. It all depends on my mood, where I am going and how I want to be perceived.”

Elizabeth Arden became BCBG’s fragrance licensee earlier this year when it acquired the global licenses and related assets for the Ed Hardy, True Religion and BCBG Max Azria brands from New Wave. “We are thrilled with our recent acquisition of the BCBG Max Azria fragrance brands. It strengthens our fragrance presence in North America, offers growth potential in international and is a critical component of expanding our designer fragrance portfolio,” said Kathy Widmer, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Elizabeth Arden.

It’s the international clout of Elizabeth Arden that has Sophie Rietdyk, president of licensing for BCBG Max Azria, excited about BCBG’s relationship with the New York-based company, which also has Britney Spears, Elizabeth Taylor, Mariah Carey, Taylor Swift, Halston, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade and Lucky Brand in its fragrance portfolio. “What is very interesting about Elizabeth Arden is their strength in distribution and the power they put behind these two fragrances. They have a very strong international business,” she said.

Bon Chic is set to make its way into international markets by the middle of next year. In the U.S., it is slated to enter around 1,500 doors, including select prestige department stores and specialty retailers, in October. Industry sources estimate the fragrance will generate $15 million in first-year sales, comparable to the amount previously projected for BCBG’s original fragrance with New Wave.

BCBG expects to spend $5 million to $8 million to advertise its fragrances, and Bon Chic ads will break in the November issues of Vogue, InStyle, Allure, Lucky and Glamour. The Bon Chic ad imagery is the same as what was used for BCBG’s prior perfume, with model Theres Alexandersson photographed by Camilla Akrans, but it mimics the shift in the bottle color by employing gold instead of pink. “I like consistency,” explained Azria. “I like that you are not always surprised by a new image. It is a family of perfumes. It is a brand.”

Certainly, BCBG’s goal is to establish itself as a long-term brand in the fragrance segment that can support many launches. “Our first fragrance is really continuing to sell at retail, so no one wants to drop it, which is perfect,” said Rietdyk. “We are getting more space on the counter because instead of one fragrance, now we have two. Strategically, it is good to have several launches and a certain cadence in launching your products.”

Widmer added, “Our goal is to innovate alongside the creative mind of Lubov Azria, building a BCBG Max Azria fragrance house in much the same way she has built the fashion house. We want to address the fragrance needs of the sophisticated woman for work, play, night or day.”