BERLIN — Perfumer Geza Schön is a minimalist.
This story first appeared in the September 22, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
And the 39-year-old nose, who developed niche fragrance brand Escentric Molecules, a concept based on the use of single, synthetic aroma chemicals, here in 2005, has a good reason to keep things simple. He recently released a pair of new scents, called Escentric Molecules 02, in the U.K., and is embarking on a U.S. rollout strategy for the fragrances.
The two Escentric Molecules 02 fragrances, called Molecule 02 and Escentric 02, were launched at Harvey Nichols in spring and have begun a U.S. rollout that includes a six-month, exclusive distribution agreement with Barneys New York.
The retailer’s New York, San Francisco, Beverly Hills and Las Vegas stores are to carry the scents until the spring, when Barneys Chicago will receive the line, as may Bergdorf Goodman, which currently carries Schön’s inaugural entry, Escentric Molecules 01.
Additionally, distribution of the brand is being expanded in Asia along with the opening of new Neil Barrett fashion boutiques, which carry the scents, in markets like Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
All in all, the Escentric Molecules brand is carried in about 150 to 160 doors worldwide.
“That’s enough,” insists Schön, “We don’t want to be everywhere.”
The appearance of the new scents is triggering increased sales of the first edition, according to Schön and his business partners Jeff Lounds, a branding expert with This Company, and design guru Paul White, of Me Company.
“Sales of both [01 and 02] have exceeded our expectations,” said Lounds, who added that he projects total sales of Escentric Molecules will be about 2 million British pounds, or $3.7 million at current exchange, next year.
The brand’s strongest markets are Italy, England, Germany, Spain and Russia, where it is often found in concept stores like Colette, but Escentric 01 has also proved a top mover in Hong Kong’s high-end Lane Crawford department store.
Molecule 02 is solely composed of Ambroxan, a scent molecule originally found in ambergris that has a mineral smoothness. Escentric 02 is described as an effervescent blend with a high concentration of Ambroxan along with vetiver, orris and elderflower. The initiative is meant to be an unusual and transparent approach to perfumery in these times when lists of fragrance notes can include items like “frosted sheer musk” and “chocolate cosmos.”
The three-year-old Escentric Molecules 01 line, which comprises Molecule 01 and Escentric 01, is based on Iso E Super, a synthetic scent molecule that’s woody, warm and soft, and has a fragrance that disappears and reappears over time. The scent pair found itself in the midst of a lot of buzz, and reportedly on the pulse points of celebs like Kate Moss, Elton John and Dita Von Teese.
Schön plans to keep the line well-edited, waiting at least two years between releases to ensure what he calls the integrity of the brand. “I can foresee [Escentric Molecules] 03-06, but beyond that I’m not sure.”
All four Escentric Molecules scents are unisex eaux de toilette and come in 100-ml bottles. Escentric 01 and Molecule 01 are priced at about 100 euros, or $144.19 at current exchange. Escentric 02 and Molecule 02, which, according to Schön, contain ingredients costing twice as much, sell for about 115 euros, or $165.82.