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Jordin Sparks to Launch First Scent

"American Idol" star Jordin Sparks releases the perfume, Because of You, next week.

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Despite winning “American Idol,” starring on Broadway and launching two albums, Jordin Sparks, who will release her first fragrance next week, remains practical when it comes to spending money.

This story first appeared in the October 1, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“When I was starting this project, I really wanted it to be affordable,” she said in an exclusive interview with WWD. “I looked at some other celebrity fragrances, and they were like $80. Even now, I look at a fragrance that’s $80, and I can’t bring myself to spend that much.”

Sparks’ scent, Because of You, will be introduced at $9.50 for a 2.5-oz. bottle. The price will rise to $14.95 on Nov. 1.

“In this economy especially, my fans deserve a high-quality, reasonably priced scent,” she said. In fact, said Sparks, her fans are also the impetus behind the scent’s name. “My fans are the reason that I get to do any of this,” she said of the fragrance, her current role in Broadway’s “In the Heights” and the fashion line she did with Wet Seal, to name a few.

While Sparks hopes to eventually do color cosmetics and skin care, she wanted to start with scent. “I love wearing fragrance,” she said, noting that Angel and Flowerbomb — in addition to her own scent — are two favorites.

The fruity floriental Because of You, concocted by Belmay Fragrances, has top notes of clementine, white imperial currant and orange blossom; a heart of nectarine, sharry baby orchid and coral charm peony, and a drydown of sheer musks, vanilla bean, Baltic amber and blond woods. “I wanted it to transfer easily from day to night,” Sparks said, “so we needed a little darkness [from the musks and amber] in there. It starts out as a day fragrance and then becomes a night fragrance.”

The graphic design on the carton, inspired by Sparks’ music, features an abstract music sheet incorporating overlaying musical notes in warm and sensual colors.

Because of You will launch first at Dots, a fast-fashion, women’s specialty apparel and accessories store, with 400 stores in 26 states. “Jordin is a great fit for us,” said Vincent Butta, chief marketing officer of Dots. “We are a company which appeals to a specific demographic — those who love fast fashion, pop culture and reasonable price points. Like Jordin, we are wholesome, but current in pop culture.” And Sparks’ high profile will also aid in raising recognition for the retailer, believes Butta. “We think it’s a great way to connect our brand and get attention without using dollars on traditional marketing,” he said. “Also, as we are aggressively expanding, people will also know our name when we come to their town.”

Dots will also sell the scent on its Web site, dots.com, marking the first time the retailer has dipped its toe into e-commerce. “Right now, the site is really more of an entertainment vehicle,” said Butta. “That will change with this fragrance.”

It will be exclusive to Dots throughout the month of October, and is expected to roll out into about 10,000 additional mass market doors, including Target, in early November. By yearend 2011, the scent will be available in about 25,000 mass market doors, said Herman Friedman, chief executive officer of Apra, the mass market fragrance and beauty company launching the scent. He noted that promotion for the fragrance will primarily be through social media, including Facebook and Twitter. In-store signage and messaging is also planned. While executives declined to discuss sales projections, industry sources estimated that Because of You would do about $10 million at retail in its first year on counter.

Sparks, who noted that she performed in her high school drama club and in local theater in her hometown of Phoenix, is finding Broadway to be an entirely different world. “Being on Broadway has been a learning experience,” she said. “It’s harder than I thought. On my [music] tour, I’m just up there as myself. Here, I’m up there being a different character and telling her story. Every night it’s different, because every night I am different.”

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