By her own admission, Kim Kardashian’s debut fragrance has been a long time coming.
“When I was little, my sister Kourtney and I tried to make our own perfume by picking flowers and putting them in the blender, because that’s how we thought fragrances were made,” Kardashian said with a laugh during a phone interview Tuesday. “Our parents thought we were crazy — and it smelled totally gross!”
This story first appeared in the October 2, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
She’s come a long way since throwing jasmine in a blender: her first fragrance, with Lighthouse Beauty, is due in February.
Chris Lighty, a founding partner in Lighthouse Beauty, said, “Kim has created her own brand, which has really be able to extend off-screen and out of the reality show arena it started in. She’s not a one-horse show.”
And Kardashian is also proving herself to be a very involved creator. “I wanted something rich and creamy and sexy, but still youthful,” said Kardashian. “I met with Claude [Dir, a master perfumer at Givaudan] and had an in-depth meeting about what I liked and didn’t like, and he and his team came up with seven samples based on that.”
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Then the fun really began: “I liked the base notes on one, the heart notes on another — we started mixing it up,” said Kardashian, who loves tuberose and gardenia notes; both made it into her scent. “I wanted to make sure I liked it in every single stage. It’s really cool to know that’s what is in this bottle is exactly how I want to smell.”
The final juice has crisp top notes, a heart of jasmine, tuberose and gardenia, and a drydown of tonka bean, jacaranda wood and sandalwood. The initial collection comprises four eaux de parfum stockkeeping units: 1 oz. for $32, 1.7 oz. for $45, 3.4 oz. for $65 and a 0.33-oz. rollerball for $16.
The fragrance will have a three-month exclusive with Sephora, and will roll out to department store doors “around Mother’s Day,” said Lighty.
“Kim Kardashian’s first fragrance is a beautiful floral that is both bold and sultry,” said Allison Slater, vice president of retail marketing for Sephora, noting that Kardashian will do in-store appearances to promote the scent. “It is the perfect accessory for everyday wear with a sophisticated edge to compliment an evening out too. Florals are one of our most popular and highly sought-after fragrance families. Many of our top-performing collections have a distinctive floral note and this, combined with Kim’s wide appeal, will undoubtedly be popular with our clients.”
The scent’s bottle, designed by Scott Oshry and Sean Brosmith of Maesa, is translucent black with a pearlized pink neck and a pink aluminum KK logo, which appears on the bottle and is engraved into the neck. Kardashian made her final bottle decision in a novel way: she polled her 2.5 million followers on Twitter. “I posted pictures of a hot-pink version and a pale-pink version and asked my fans to weigh in on which was better. The overwhelming favorite was the pale-pink cap — everyone said it looked more sophisticated. I really wanted to know what my fans preferred. They’ll be the ones buying it! We will continue to interact with fans this way on this project.” Added Lighty: “We will do location visits with Twitter — visits that will only be announced via Twitter to engage Kim’s true followers to come and meet her and maybe get a bottle of the scent,” he said, noting that Lighthouse Beauty is employing a similar strategy with Power by 50 Cent, which bowed in September.
While executives declined to discuss sales projections, industry sources estimated the eponymous scent could do as much as $50 million at retail in its first year on counter.
A multiplatform advertising and promotional campaign is planned, which will include Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and print advertising. Print ads will break in February fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, and the bulk of the online campaign will be begin at launch. “Kim is one of the most Googled women in America,” said Lighty. “When people are looking for pictures or gossip on Kim, we have to make sure we are there with the message. If it’s a male looking for a picture, we’ll try to get him to buy the fragrance for his significant other. If it’s a woman looking for gossip, we will be there too.”
Now that she’s done with her first fragrance, Kardashian is proceeding full speed ahead. She’s completed a second fragrance which could bow in 2011, and has aspirations of doing a color cosmetics line. She’s also begun filming the fourth season of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” (the scent will be the subject of a story line). She continues to run Dash, a multiboutique enterprise, with her sisters, serves as chief stylist for Shoedazzle.com and has put her stamp on a series of fitness DVDs.