By  on July 18, 2008

Making an ancient recipe relevant to modern consumers is the goal of the fragrance Aphrodisiac by niche marketer Lumar of Beverly Hills.

Lumar's founder Lusina Yaraliantz researched Egyptian bathing rituals to discover the perfumed oils queens such as Cleopatra and Nefertiti might have soaked in before wooing lovers. The findings led to the heady mix of white rose, tuberose and amber that drives Aphrodisiac.

"It is for a woman to feel feminine, especially for confident women who are career-obsessed and sometimes forget about themselves," said Yaraliantz. "The fragrance should remind them of their own needs."

Aphrodisiac, which recently launched in Apothia at Fred Segal, is priced at $92 for the 3.4-oz. eau de parfum and $48 for the 7-oz. body lotion. Industry sources estimate sales will total more than $260,000 this year.

Megan Davis, who handles Aphrodisiac's sales, said the eau de parfum's and body lotion's pink packaging has helped them appeal to women in their 20s, although she initially thought Aphrodisiac customers would largely be 30-years-old and up. "It has a nice demographic range, which is a little bit different because a lot of other stuff gears to a younger, on-trend demographic," she said.

A heavy sampling program has also widened Aphrodisiac's audience, according to Davis. She said Lumar of Beverly Hills generally allots two 0.07-oz. spray vials per item bought by a retailer and pointed out that Aphrodisiac samples were effectively used in a mail campaign by online beauty store Butterfly Bodies that resulted in December sales of $50,000.

Aphrodisiac is currently available in 60 stores with ample selections of boutique fragrances, but Davis aims to increase that number to roughly 150 this year. High-end lingerie stores and prestige department stores are distribution targets.

"We didn't want to do mass distribution. We want to keep an air of exclusivity," said Davis. "They [consumers] might be looking at Creed or already have Bond, b.e. and Child. Because this is a little lower on the radar, they can feel more unique in owning it."

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