The Saint is marching into retail.
This story first appeared in the October 10, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Saint Parfum, the brainchild of Spencer Krenke and Denise Estrada, aims to bring the art of fine perfumery back into the American marketplace via home fragrances — and has already persuaded Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and a number of independent retailers, including Cos Bar and Space NK, to take on the company’s high-end products. Barneys doors in Beverly Hills, San Francisco and Manhattan will get the line, beginning Oct. 15. Later, Saks Fifth Avenue and additional doors will roll out.
The point of the line? To create a resurgence of the art of custom-blended fragrances — first through home products such as candles and diffusers, and perhaps eventually fine fragrances.
“The custom-blending aspect is the reason we started this,” said Krenke, who founded and ran the beauty firm De-luxe with Estrada and Robert Schwai in 2000, and then sold it in 2006. “We made enough selling De-luxe so that we don’t necessarily have to work. We did this because it’s something we want to do, not something we have to do.”
The effort is similar to the fine fragrance world’s recent influx of custom-blended fragrances, such as Memoire Liquide and Creed, and artisanal fragrances, such as Tom Ford’s Private Blend and Chanel’s Les Exclusifs de Chanel.
Just more than 100 ready-made Saint Parfum fragrance recipes are available to clients, although it’s the one-on-one custom-blended scents that Krenke is most passionate about. “First, customers visit one of our retailers to evaluate each of our fragrance notes and fill out a lifestyle questionnaire asking for information on lifestyle and notes that the customer favors or prefers to avoid,” he explained. “Then, we produce an initial sample, and with further input and revisions, the custom fragrance is produced.” Krenke also plans to do in-store events, where he will produce custom-blended fragrances for consumers on the spot, and said he looks forward to the input. “Having the client right in front of you can take the scent in a whole different direction,” he said. This service doesn’t come cheap — at $175 as a onetime custom fragrance fee and another $85 for Home Ambiance and $75 for candles. However, once the fragrance is set, consumers only pay for products going forward, noted Krenke.
The concept is specialized and so is the distribution strategy. “We don’t want to be everywhere,” Krenke said. “Indies are going to be our major focus.” In fact, Krenke — whose door count is already at 120 — will cap off stores at 300, a number he expects to hit by early next summer. “We can’t effectively service more than that globally,” he said. “We’re aiming to be in one outlet per market, and I am visiting each market personally to pick them out. I won’t sell to a store I haven’t visited.”
While Krenke declined to discuss sales projections, industry sources estimated that the Saint Parfum business would do upward of $10 million in retail sales in the next 12 months.