It’s no secret actress and singer Ariana Grande and her big brother Frankie Grande are tight-knit siblings. That relationship served as the impetus for the duo to team up for the second scent in the Ariana Grande franchise — a unisex fragrance called Frankie by Ariana Grande. “My brother Frankie is my best friend. When we’re together, we can’t stop laughing,” Ariana said. “We thought, let’s change the game this Valentine’s Day and get everyone involved, creating a fresh new scent that everyone can wear. Now everyone can shine bright like a Frankie,” she added using a phrase she coined about her brother.
Ariana’s premier fragrance, Ari, was a breakout hit last year with industry sources estimating sales totaled $30 million to $40 million from the launch in September to the end of the year. Produced in partnership with Luxe Brands, Ari by Ariana Grande debuted with a big splash courtesy of an appearance at Herald Square’s Macy’s where the brand racked up $30,000 in sales in just one hour.
Now she and her brother hope the power of two with a nongender specific fragrance can reach an even broader audience. Known best for his appearances on Broadway, a one-man show staged last year, the reality show “Big Brother” and his power as a social media influencer (he has a combined social media reach of 3.2 million people), Frankie caught the fragrance entrepreneur bug after working in the lab with Ariana last year.
You May Also Like
Despite a passion for fragrance in his younger years — especially Bijan, which he was exposed to in travels to Europe with his mother — Frankie backed away from wearing scents for years until he started spritzing Ari on himself and virtually anyone who came near him, he said. “That made me love fragrance all over again and saying ‘this is something I want to do,’” he told WWD.
Luxe would not comment on sales projections, but industry sources expect Frankie by Ariana Grande could hit $5 million in its limited run. The Grande siblings aren’t ruling out future distribution in brick-and-mortar doors along with product extensions.
So now that there is a choice bearing his name, which will he wear? “I mean if you know me, you know I’m obsessed with my sister — but the only thing I’m more obsessed with is myself, so I’ll probably wear Frankie now every single day,” he chuckled. He was quick to add the two scents aren’t in competition. In fact, Ariana was sitting in on promotional planning meetings. “We are so supportive. We’re not competitive — success for her is success for me; success for me is success for her,” he said as Ariana chirped in with an “I love you,” to Frankie.
In a nod to the appeal of social media, the unisex fragrance will be sold mostly online, despite the fact consumers can’t sniff the scent. “I think Ariana and I have tremendous viral presences. We have high trust. They [followers] know we have not accepted a random deal to tweet about something we don’t believe in. We have not dropped our clout. If Ari and I like it, they will, too,” he explained.
That theory held true in a soft launch last Friday after Frankie tweeted about the fragrance’s debut, prompting what he said was a 50 percent sell-through in one day. While Ulta Beauty wouldn’t confirm numbers, a spokeswoman said the “performance exceeded our expectations.” In the next few days, Frankie by Ariana Grande, which retails for $49 for a 1.7-ounce eau de parfum spray, will also be available on macys.com, lordandtaylor.com and in Stage brick-and-mortar doors.
Frankie said details are being worked out, but he plans to make personal appearances as well as go full throttle on social media in support of the new fragrance. While he hopes the launch will mirror his sister’s success, what’s different about Frankie is the gender-neutral positioning. “As a gay man, I feel like I am constantly shying away from any gender normative behaviors. In 2016, we are definitely moving past the point where we should be telling someone ‘this is for men’ and ‘this is for women.’ Let them decide.” He thinks, initially, women will be the primary purchasers for themselves or men.
There are dramatic differences in the notes of Ari and Frankie, which he describes as his being more citrusy. The blend includes wild orchid, creamy musk, pink pepper, pear and sugar crystals. “And I’m very excited we are one of the first synthesized musks,” he said. The bottle pays homage to Ari, but takes a more futuristic “spaceship” interpretation with a metallic finish and a black pom-pom versus Ari’s pink. “It reminds me of Spaceship Earth at EPCOT — my favorite national monument,” Frankie said with his infectious laugh. “And the glass is Italian because we are super Italian.”
In the meantime, Frankie is busy building his digital footprint, planning future one-man shows, developing television program and awaiting to see if the buzz of a return to “Big Brother” is a reality. But he’s also envisioning innovative new beauty items if the brand takes off. “I’d love to add hand creams or a shaving cream that works for both legs and face,” he said, ticking off just a few of the ideas he has in the pipeline. “We hope to do well, add stores and grow.”