Moving from a primarily candle and home fragrance-focused business to a “luxury fragrance and lifestyle brand,” according to its founder and chief executive officer, Laura Slatkin, Nest is poised for 50 to 70 percent growth over the next 24 months.
For this year’s fall and holiday seasons, the brand will introduce no less than 52 new stockkeeping units across its home, private-label and licensing divisions, and will enter unchartered categories, namely fine fragrance. In the coming months, Nest will also revamp its digital presence, increase distribution and implement aggressive marketing strategies.
“[Nest] is in the early stages of blooming,” said Slatkin. “We’ve been gaining a lot of momentum and now is the time to let the brand break out.”
Nest’s first fine fragrance collection — which bows in mid-September — is a trio of botanically based scents, inspired by the work of 18th-century British artist Mary Delany.
A fan of Delany’s work for years, Slatkin said she realized the artist’s intricate, botanically accurate “paper mosaics” would be the perfect compliment for Nest’s first fine scent collection, which will also include three body creams, $50 each, and three roller balls, $30 each.
Slatkin tapped Russian artist Alexander “Sasha” Solodukho to interpret Delany’s work for the fragrances’ soft touch, black glass flacons and outer packaging.
The Nest Fine Fragrance collection includes three scents: Amazon Lily, a blend of lilies, Brazilian lime, tangerine, bergamot and driftwood; Midnight Fleur, infused with exotic woods, patchouli, black amber, night-blooming jasmine and vanilla orchid, and Passiflora, which features passion flower, hyacinth, lily of the valley and an “overdose of green notes,” said Slatkin of her personal favorite in the range. “It’s an overwhelming sense of different florals. It’s like you are walking into a flower shop.” Each eau de parfum will retail for $115.
Perfumer Christophe Laudamiel created Amazon Lily and Passiflora, while Jerome Epinette of Robertet imagined Midnight Fleur.
To market the debut collection — which will launch exclusively at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman for the first year — Slatkin said sampling will be key. Nest plans to implement an “aggressive public relations and social media initiative” and will provide training for all store employees on the collection. In addition, Neiman Marcus will send full-size bottles to its top 250 clients along with information about the collection, and feature the range in a full-page spread in the retailer’s holiday catalogue.
Although the brand declined to break out sales figures, industry sources estimate Nest will generate $60 million in wholesale sales in the coming year. Insiders say the personal care and fine fragrance categories will account for 20 percent of the total Nest business for the first 12 months and will grow to 50 percent after three years.
To that end, in August, the brand launched bath and body products in its six best-selling home fragrance scents: Bamboo, Grapefruit, Moroccan Amber, Moss & Mint, Orange Blossom and Wasabi Pear. Those same scents will also be featured in a few new fall offerings, including Nest’s 3-Wick Tin Candles and its Body and Soul Sprays. In October, Nest will introduce the After Midnight Collection, a range of three candles — Orchid Noir, Suede Noir and Santal Noir — meant to illuminate late-night evenings, as well as its new Birchwood Pine holiday candle collection.
“The gift business is a very big business for us,” said Slatkin, who named some of the brand’s key markets as Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and Greenwich, Conn. In May, the brand launched in Harrods and Selfridges doors in London. Since then, Nest has expanded into specialty stores across the U.K. and will enter John Lewis in spring 2013. The brand is in talks with Fenwick for a possible holiday launch and has “aggressive plans to expand” across Europe in the coming months.
“Nest Fragrances is developing a strong international following,” said Slatkin, who said the brand is currently distributed in more than 20 countries. “[We] are building our plans for further international expansion into Russia and other markets that thrive on luxury brands.”
When it comes to its private-licensing business, in October, Nest will introduce its Aerin Lauder Home Collection, a range of six nature-inspired candles, housed in hand-blown, color-coded glass vessels. Also in October, the brand will launch a line of home fragrances for Calvin Klein.
Slatkin said she is similarly focused on growing the brand’s e-commerce business, with a revamped Web site — which will be aimed at better engaging customers through social networking platforms — to be introduced in fall 2013.
For Slatkin, this is just the beginning. “I launched Nest in September 2009 during an extremely tough and volatile economic climate, and we were a big hit right out of the gate,” she said. “We are poised for tremendous growth in the next several years and we’re just getting started.”
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