Snif has found its latest collaborator in an unlikely spot — the tennis courts.
The d-to-c fragrance brand, which launched amid the pandemic-induced fragrance boom in 2020, has teamed up with Prince for its latest collaboration. Past collaborators include Stephanie Shepherd, the band Surfaces and the Goodtime Hotel, among others.
A fragrance, called Ace Ace Baby, as well as cobranded apparel, will launch on Snif’s website on Thursday. The scent is priced at $65.
The effort marks Snif’s first dip into apparel, but the partnership is familiar territory. David Grutman, Prince’s creative director, partnered with Pharrell Williams on the Goodtime Hotel — the collaborator behind Snif’s scent, Strawberry Moon.
“Strawberry Moon sold out four times, and we never thought in a million years someone could make a fragrance that complements what Pharrell and I do,” Grutman told WWD, adding that the collaboration exposes a new generation of shoppers to Prince. “Snif is helping us extend the lifestyle piece — Prince is an American, iconic brand, and Snif is changing how people buy fragrance. Prince has a 50-plus-year heritage, and we want the Gen Zers.”
That also dovetails with Grutman’s broader goal of extending Prince off the court. “I didn’t want it to just be a tennis brand, I wanted it to be a lifestyle brand,” Grutman said. “We’ve done some great collaborations, but this takes it even further. It’s fragrance, it’s lifestyle, and it works as well on the court as it does off.”
Said Phil Riportella, one of Snif’s cofounders, “Dave knows everyone, he’s involved in a lot of brands, and he’s been a tremendous help for us when it comes to locking in partnerships and collaborations. When he approached us, we knew we had never really entered into the world of sports.”
The launch is tied to the Miami Open. Ace Ace Baby features notes of ginger roots, rosemary, white freesia, green apple blossom, lavender and grass accord. “At first, we thought of doing a full-on tennis ball, but that felt a little on-the-nose. So we introduced a more lemonade-esque accord, which is fun.”
Collaborations benefit the business in two different ways. “Typically, our collaborations are always awareness moments,” said Bryan Edwards, Snif’s cofounder. “Our most successful of our collaborations have also proven to be conversion moments for us, and we’re generating a fair amount of sales from them. Some collaborations have now rereleased multiple times, and they’ve transitioned from a flash-in-the-pan to an expectation from our audience.”
Riportella and Edwards didn’t comment on sales, though industry sources expect the brand will exceed $10 million in sales in 2023. They did mention, though, that there are nascent plans to enter retail in the back half of the year.
“We have a very high repeat purchase rate from people we acquire from collaborations. They end up converting into our core scents, or they go into another category. Fifty percent of our collaboration customers have ended up purchasing another product outside of that collaboration,” Edwards said. “We use highly branded, super fun campaigns to acquire customers super easily, and they stick around afterward.”
Creativity, and how that manifests visually and olfactively, is a key piece of Snif’s rationale when tapping collaborators. “When we did a debrief on why Strawberry Moon was so successful, it was full of fun pastel colors, channeling a Miami energy in the middle of winter,” Riportella said.
“We want to work with someone who allows us to use that creativity, and also to reach new audiences,” he continued. “Some are just part of the cool factor. Not every collaboration necessarily needs to be about numbers. Some are just great for buzz and keeping us top-of-mind.”