Founding a fragrance line poses its own challenges, especially in a pandemic. Yet the founders of a new niche collection were able to enlist industry titans to execute their creative vision — in less than a year.
House of Bō, an indie fragrance brand launching out of Miami on Friday, seeks to marry its founders’ cultural point of view with some of the industry’s top noses. The brand is launching its website with four stock keeping units — three scents developed by Rodrigo Flores-Roux, and a perfume primer — priced at $290 each and $90, respectively.
Although the brand’s debut was all developed by the same perfumer, it has a robust lineup of scents created by other top noses in the industry, such as Carlos Benaïm and Olivier Cresp, in the pipeline.
The brand declined to comment on sales, but industry sources expect revenues to reach between $5 million and $10 million at retail in its first year, pending wider distribution.
Despite employing a slew of heavy-hitters, the brand’s concept only came into focus last year, said the founders, who are both newcomers to the industry. Cofounder Bernardo Möller’s in-depth knowledge of the space as a consumer gave him a creative vision of clarity.
“In particular, with fragrance, it’s something that I was really drawn to from a very young age,” Möller said. “I began to learn more information about perfumes, like who the noses were. It’s something that I always admired. When my dad passed away last year from COVID-19, it really pushed me to do something I was passionate about.”
For one of the brand’s debut scents, Espíritu, Möller pitched the idea to Flores-Roux with a breakdown of all the notes he wanted the fragrance to capture, with the latter only adding in one additional note.
Möller’s professional background was in real estate, and his business and life partner, Giancarlo Perez, is a neurosurgeon. Going in with no precedent allowed the duo to take the pandemic’s business challenges in stride.
“The only thing no one tells you is how difficult putting everything together and manufacturing is. That was the challenge for me — the logistics of putting the designs together,” Perez said.
The pair agreed that their sweet spot with consumers ranged from older cohorts of Millennials through shoppers in their late 40s and 50s, due to their level of discernment. Simply put, “our customer is educated on fine things,” Perez said.
The brand’s name was inspired by the simplicity of its message. “We wanted to choose a name that was very simple because aesthetically, we’re doing a very simple, minimalist brand,” Möller said. “Everything is very simple and genderless, and the name has the same phonetic pronunciation as the word for ‘beautiful’ in French.”
Besides providing a crash course in the business of beauty, the duo said their vision for the brand impacted their own philosophies, and they expect it to resonate broadly.
“It’s so liberating — the brand message has changed our perspective and those around us,” Möller said. “It’s this way of living where you’re not labeling yourself and just trying to be as authentic as you can. You immediately see this difference with the connections that you have with people when you really truly are who you are.”
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