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Malin + Goetz on Creating a Cult Classic Fragrance

Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, the duo behind Malin + Goetz, discuss their winning strategy for selling fragrance online.

Fresh on the heels of launching a cult classic fragrance, Malin + Goetz is gearing up for global expansion and continued double-digit growth.

The brand, which launched Strawberry Eau de Parfum last month, is launching in Korea and Singapore next month, and exploring other retail opportunities globally.

Brad Horowitz, chief executive officer of Malin + Goetz, is translating a few lessons from Strawberry’s runaway success — it became a number-one bestseller on the brand’s website, sold four times the volume of the brand’s six other fragrances, and was eight times more successful than Leather, its previous launch — to keep momentum behind the brand.

“I could see through Instagram we got it into a lot of influencers’ hands,” Horwitz said. “It just snowballed into itself. We first released it as a one-off, and the fact that there wasn’t this constant supply, people did feel the need to get it. When we did run out of stock, we had to move inventory from other channels.”

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The brand is releasing a limited restock on Tuesday, and despite the surge in interest, the founders said their approach to the fragrance was the same as every pared-down essential they’ve produced. “Strawberry is a combination of those basic apothecary and perfumery ideas which are essential to our brand,” said Andrew Goetz, cofounder of Malin + Goetz. “The idea was to make something fresh and clean with a hint of spring, but make it incredibly sophisticated so it’s not a cheap, cloying, juicy scent.”

“Strawberry really is this very simple, easily understood idea made very complex and very modern, all at the same time,” said Matthew Malin, cofounder of Malin + Goetz.

In spite of the pandemic, Malin + Goetz posted double-digits sales gains last year, and has a slew of launches in the pipeline. Industry sources estimate it to post between $35 million and $40 million in net sales for 2021.

Horowitz credits the brand’s stability to its four-pronged approach to distribution. “We’re born out of hotels, and that’s usually where people study our brand,” Horowitz said. “We also have our retail footprint, our own stores and e-commerce,” which Horowitz said made up 68 percent of the brand’s business at the end of 2020.

Accessibility and universality have become the brand’s hallmarks. Malin quoted two raving testimonials from friends — a man in Los Angeles, and a woman in Chicago — who both said Strawberry delighted them in its complexity.

“Ultimately, people love things because they’re great,” Malin said. “The name may be great, the marketing may be wonderful, and certainly, the brand has a lot to resonate with. But ultimately, it comes down to just the senses.”

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