WWD.com/beauty-industry-news/fragrance/queen-latifah-inks-scent-deal-with-parlux-1555277/

As an experienced veteran in the beauty business, Queen Latifah is moving beyond makeup and into fragrance as she inks a scent licensing deal with Parlux Fragrances Inc.

“Queen Latifah is a different kind of celebrity than we’ve had in the past since she has a wide appeal from the theater to pop world,” said Neil Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Parlux Fragrances. “She’s known as a person of great quality by a multicultural audience, and works hard on the business side and understands her role in the marketing of a product she’s associated with. She brings a new audience to the Parlux mix.”

According to Katz, the company is hoping to target department store distribution and is aiming at the urban market in addition to middle-aged consumers.

“This is an audience that is not looked after by department stores,” said Katz. “I think the world of department stores is in great need to bring customers like this into their stores since these are customers department stores haven’t directly appealed to. Department stores can’t get the luxe customers, who shop in specialty stores, and are having difficulty drawing in middle-class customers, so this is something different since it appeals to a broader audience.”

As part of the global licensing agreement, the award-winning rapper, actress and singer will unveil a women’s fragrance in the U.S. in fall 2009, followed by an international rollout.

“I see fragrance as just a natural expression of this state of love — scent expresses a woman’s confidence and sensuality, it’s how she embraces her body, her mind and her strength,” stated Latifah.

Although executives wouldn’t comment, industry sources predict that the new fragrance will bring in about $20 million in first-year retail sales.

Latifah also has other beauty and fashion deals. In 2001, she signed with Procter & Gamble Beauty’s Cover Girl brand to be the spokesmodel for Cover Girl’s Queen Collection, a makeup line designed for women of color that launched in major food, drug and mass doors. On the fashion front, Latifah has Curvation, a intimate apparel line designed for curvaceous women.

Parlux also produces Paris Hilton’s fragrances, as well as those of Nicole Miller, Natori, Guess, XOXO, Ocean Pacific, Jessica Simpson, Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, Baby Gund and Fred Hayman Beverly Hills.

This story first appeared in the June 2, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.