Niche perfumer Neil Morris, who has developed a 30-year-old business by doing custom-made fragrances for clients in the Boston area, has created a scent exclusively for Takashimaya in New York.
He has also set his sights on opening a location in New York to conduct bespoke perfumery services, and is aiming to expand his existing namesake fragrance brand domestically and abroad.
In December, Morris launched his collection of eight scents at Takashimaya. Shortly thereafter, the retailer approached him to do a special fragrance for the store and he developed Neil Morris for Takashimaya New York, which was introduced last month.
The scent was inspired by the tea house on the lower level of the retailer’s Fifth Avenue specialty store, and its sixth-floor florist, garden and terrace shop. While Morris had the different departments in mind when creating the scent, the idea for the fragrance clicked when he was sitting in the Japanese Garden at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
“There was a rainstorm approaching, and when the mist hit the plants, I got the scent,” he said during a recent interview at Takashimaya. “Then, the sun came out and dried everything and there was a scent of bamboo and plum blossom. I wanted the fragrance to incorporate the beauty and serenity of the Japanese culture, along with the stylish sophistication of Fifth Avenue.”
Neil Morris for Takashimaya New York features fruity top notes of black currant, mandarin and bergamot, which give way to a heart of plum blossom, jasmine tea, Japanese cherry blossom, bamboo, orchid and narcissus. The scent’s woody base includes notes of cedar, oak, tonka and orris.
The fragrance is available in a 2-oz., rectangular glass bottle with a silver cylindrical cap for $125.
Takashimaya, which last year moved its beauty department from the sixth floor to the first floor, carries about 30 fragrance brands, including Anvers, Summersent and Ambra di Venezia. It also has multiple private label fragrance items, including a fine fragrance called T.
“We like passionate, niche brands,” Virginia Haygood, general merchandise manager of Takashimaya New York LLC, said of the Morris initiative. “And they brought in a new collection. [Because] there’s a story behind each fragrance, the fragrances have been doing very well.”
Aside from Takashimaya, the Neil Morris Fragrances line, which was introduced late last year, is carried in doors such as Beauty and Main, a Boston-area retailer with five boutiques.
All of Morris’ scents are unisex, or “shared” as the self-taught nose likes to say, and each is available in a 2-oz. bottle for $95. Bestsellers include a scent called Zephyr, a blend of papaya, honeysuckle and amber, and Afire, a mix of berries, caramel and wood. There’s also Agean, a scent inspired by the Mediterranean that features mandarin, basil and lavender.
For next year, Morris and co-founder David Garten said they anticipate expanding the brand to markets such as Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami and Seattle. “We’re also working with foreign distributors and hope to be in Europe and Japan within the year,” said Garten.
While he would not discuss sales projections, industry sources estimate Neil Morris Fragrances could generate more than $250,000 in retail sales next year.
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