By  on June 17, 2008

LOS ANGELES — Nyakio Grieco, who launched an eponymous bath and body line in 2002, is expanding distribution this fall of her newest scent, called Safi, in a move designed to drive sales of the fragrance to between $300,000 and $350,000 by December.

Grieco's goal is for the fragrance, which entered Apothia at Fred Segal and Luckyscent, both in Los Angeles, in March, to be in 100 domestic doors by the third quarter.

"I would love it to be a global fragrance," said Grieco.

While Grieco started the Nyakio bath and body line six years ago with investors, the 35-year-old California transplant poured in some $100,000 of her own money to launch the Safi scent. The fragrance, like Grieco's initial line, draws upon her African roots.

"If you are doing it on your own, you are the one who makes all the decisions, and it gives you a lot of freedom as an artist," said Grieco, a child of Kenyan immigrants who goes by Kio (pronounced Kay-oh). "Going forward, I will be able to retain more equity because I will have brought the product to market [on] my own."

It took two years to create Safi, which Grieco worked on with The House of Creative Scentualization perfumer Sarah Horowitz. Safi means "fresh, clean and pure" in Swahili, the native tongue of Grieco's familial Kikuyu tribe. The packaging, designed with the firm Zorbit, contains brown faux wood and stylized floral patterns. A 1.7-oz. eau de parfum retails for $68 and 0.28-oz. parfum oil retails for $70.

"France and Asia are well represented in fragrance, and I feel that Africa has many notes, and I wanted to fill that niche," said Grieco. African-inspired notes include muhuhu, bamboo and papyrus in the base; stargazer lily, freesia and neroli in the heart, and sweet lychee and pineapple in the top.

"It was incredible spending time blending," said Grieco. "The strongest sense that we have is the olfactory nerve. It brought up my trip to Africa [eight years ago]. It brought up a lot of emotional and great memories."Meanwhile, the Nyakio bath and body line, which currently has 18 stockkeeping units and generates about $1 million annually, is in the process of being reformulated. Grieco has reduced the line's distribution from 168 stores to 45 during the revamp, but said that it should gear up again in 2009 when the updated products are slated to hit shelves. However, timing could depend on what Grieco called possible "investment expansion" to build Nyakio.

"In branching out and doing something new, I am still [keeping] Nyakio," said Grieco. "That experience is going to be able to help me to carry the same success to the new brand."

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