Addison Rae wants to know your current mood.
Rae has partnered with manufacturer Hampton Beauty to create a debut line of fragrances that pairs moods with scents. The AF Collection by Addison Rae will release at the beginning of November via its own website, with each 30-mL fragrance — there are three — priced at $40. The “clean” line will be shoppable via TikTok and Instagram, where Rae counts 85 million followers and 40 million followers, respectively.
The AF Collection is Rae’s second beauty venture, though first in fragrance. Last summer, Rae launched Item Beauty, the cosmetics company she co-created with incubator Madeby Collective. Item launched direct-to-consumer and entered Sephora doors in August.
Rae, who is 21 years old, told WWD Beauty Inc in an in-person interview in September that she felt fragrance was “that next thing” to add to her growing beauty portfolio.
“Progressively, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been super interested in fragrance,” Rae said, speaking from the set of her AF Collection photo shoot. “It’s such a different area to put yourself into and get to know and see the behind-the-scenes.”
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Rae was an ideal match for Hampton Beauty, which, like most beauty companies, is keen to capture Gen Z market share.
“[Rae] wanted to bring something different to the market,” said Lori Mariano, managing partner of Hampton Beauty. “She wanted not only for her audience and fans to smell good, she wanted them to feel good. Her whole concept was how do we take fragrance to a different approach? The Gen Z audience wants you to do something a little different than the norm. This answers that question for them. We gave Addison a platform to approach fragrance from a different angle.”
AF Collection launches with three scents: Chill AF, Happy AF and Hyped AF. Created with upcycled materials via green chemistry, each scent is cruelty-free and features a water base. The alcohol-free fragrances are meant to be hydrating and long-lasting; they can be sprayed on the skin or in the hair.
New scents will launch every four to five months, according to Mariano.
“We want to build a portfolio of scents for Addison and constantly bring in new and exciting scents, packaging, all of that,” Mariano said.
Hampton Beauty declined to offer a sales projection, but industry sources estimate AF Collection by Addison Rae will bring in $14 million in first-year retail sales.
Rae worked directly with perfumers to develop the scents, employing neuroscience technology in the process, according to Mariano.
“The ingredients were put in front of respondents, and they read the reaction to the scent, and it affects the part of the brain that has to do with emotion,” Mariano said. “If the calming part of the brain was affected, those ingredients became [Chill AF]. It’s completely science-based. We thought it was such a fun and new way to approach fragrance.”
The packaging, too, is tech-inspired. The ergonomic bottles employ heat-sensitive technology that causes them to change color according to temperature.
“It’s like a mood ring,” Rae said. “It’s something that’s never been seen before.” She and Mariano demonstrated the heat sensitivity using a hair dryer from Rae’s dressing area nearby.
With a massive online following, Rae has captured the attention of many companies, particularly within the fashion and beauty spaces. Her level of internet influence affords her the opportunity to experiment while securing backing from companies who want an easy way to reach Gen Z.
“Because I’m a part of Gen Z and most of my audience is Gen Z, I have a pretty good sense of what they like,” Rae said.
Mariano said AF Collection by Addison Rae will mark the first time a brand in its portfolio is selling via TikTok.
“Addison is so popular there,” Mariano said, referring to the platform. “Addison will do a lot of social marketing, digital marketing, and we’ll drive to the website as best we can.”
Rae’s audience is mostly Gen Z — a much-sought-after demographic by virtually any company with product to sell. An early adopter of TikTok, Rae shot to internet stardom during the COVID-19 pandemic. Already, she has parlayed her online influence to offline business deals.
In August, Rae starred in Netflix’s “He’s All That,” her first film role. Shortly after, it was revealed that she had signed a multipicture, multimillion-dollar deal with the streaming giant.
Days after her interview with Beauty Inc, Rae attended the Met Gala as a guest of YouTube.
“We always look for people in the style-adjacent space,” YouTube’s Derek Blasberg told WWD at the time, noting that YouTube had a “conversation with Vogue about who we see having some traction” within fashion before deciding whom to invite.
“In quarantine, we saw new personalities appear in pop culture that transcended the way you used to see celebrities come up,” he said. “The democratization of style and voices in the style space is ultimately a good thing.”
Asked what she makes of her swift rise to online fame, Rae said it has been “a roller coaster” of a career.
“[TikTok] is so new for everyone, and it’s a new space no one’s ever experienced,” Rae said, as Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” blasted in the background. “You don’t really know the answers to many things, and it’s hard to ask people the right things to do in any situation. I have been staying true to who I am and trusting my gut. I attribute most of the things I have made to following my heart and going with my true instinct.”
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