The founders of freshly launched start-up Abbott don’t think fragrance shopping needs to be so complicated.
“One of the things we didn’t like about currently buying fragrance was navigating a department store,” said cofounder Michael Pass. “You’re also making a quick decision, [the scent] changes.”
Jose Alvarez, 34, and Pass, 32, left their banking and legal roles, respectively, to start Abbott — a fragrance brand they anticipate will speak to Millennial, mostly male, shoppers. “So many of my friends are so happy to talk about the fact that, ‘Hey, I buy Kiehl’s antiaging cream or eye cream,’ but then [you ask], ‘Do you wear cologne?’ And they’re like, ‘God, no.’ But why is that? It’s because they see an advertisement of a naked guy getting out of the water…it just doesn’t connect to real life,” Pass said.
“We felt like there was no niche brand talking to you in a very approachable way,” Alvarez said. “There are brands that already speak to you about the product like Le Labo, Creed and they do a great job at it, but the approachability factor is very low. So if I’m a normal guy and I’m walking down the street, the chances that I’m going to walk into a Creed store, a Le Labo store, are very low just because I feel intimidated by the product, by everything that surrounds that — the price point [and] the way they way they’re talking to us.”
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So the duo set out to create a fragrance line that resonates with Millennial men (and sometimes, women). “We are a luxury brand in terms of the highest quality of everything we’re doing, but we’re also down to earth, we don’t take ourselves super seriously, we’re not talking in highfalutin rhetoric about too much. So that’s the idea,” Pass said.
Abbott’s customers pay $5 to sample the brand’s scents and then can opt to pay $55 for the full, 30-ml. bottle. The e-commerce business has four fragrances: The Cape, a fresh scent; Sequoia, a wood fragrance; Mojave, a spice scent, and Telluride, a leather fragrance. The scents were created by perfumer Antoine Lie at Takasago and inspired by the travel memories of Abbott’s founders. The brand launched Wednesday, and is backed by seed and angel investors.
“The trial kit we think is a really practical, nice way to get to know the fragrances, to spend a day or two with each one, and then make a decisions to say, ‘This is the one I actually want,'” Pass said.
“Abbott is about a life of adventure, a life of activity, getting off your couch and doing something, experiencing this world, experiencing this life and that’s why it’s all inspired [by] different locations,” said Alvarez. “Who wants to spend their free time going to the mall when you can try them on at home, you can spray, you can go travel if you wanted to.”
New scents, as well as products in fragrance-adjacent categories such as home fragrance, antiperspirant deodorant and shaving cream, will likely come next, the founders said.