NEW YORK — Fusion Brands America Inc. believes it has the anecdote for waning consumer interest in celebrity and mainstream scents.
Known for launching Clean in 2003 as an alternative to traditional fragrances, Fusion this time is zeroing in on the quest for artisanal formulations with a collection called Clean Reserve. Nine stockkeeping units will be unveiled exclusively at 320 Sephora doors. Even the timing of the debut ushers in fresh thinking: the lineup will be presented in Sephora’s Hot Now section on Dec. 26 to capitalize on the robust after-Christmas shopping traffic.
“Clean Reserve is the next generation of Clean,” said Gregory Black, Fusion’s president. “It hits on all the trends delivering category growth — it is niche, authentic, sustainable and personal.” Fusion worked with Sephora executives to serve what was seen as an opportunity in the fragrance arena.
Industry sources expect Clean Reserve can add as much as $50 million in sales globally to the Clean franchise. Furthermore, the Clean concept has potential to expand beyond fragrance, according to Black, into many other personal-care categories. “The name ‘Clean’ lends itself quite well to many categories including products geared toward men. Stay tuned,” he said.
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The advent of Clean Reserve also yields the chance for Clean to move up in the pricing hierarchy, closer to other niche brands such as Jo Malone. The suggested retail for a 3.4-oz. bottle is $90. The original Clean collection retails for $69 for a 2-oz. bottle. Additionally, Clean Reserve is expected to open up more international doors. Original Clean is sold in more than 30 countries. “Clean Reserve will greatly improve the brand’s penetration into new fragrance markets such as France, Italy and Germany while adding incremental sales to its established markets in Scandinavia and Asia,” Black said.
Clean Reserve was crafted to appeal to consumers tired of celebrity fragrances or those who aren’t happy with the current designer lineup, according to Greta Fitz, Fusion’s director of global marketing. “People don’t want to smell like everybody else,” she explained.
Mintel Fragrance research supports Fusion’s theory consumers want something new from their fragrance bottle. About 20 percent of fragrance wearers said they find it difficult to find a product they like. Celebrity fragrances represented 4 percent of the U.S. prestige market in 2011 — that’s dropped to less than 2 percent, according to NPD group. Mass market fragrance sales are down almost 4 percent for the most recent 52-week period, according to IRI.
While mass scent sales languish, there’s been an uptick in high-end, custom-crafted lines. Fusion devised Clean Reserve to tap that growing demand. Furthermore, Clean Reserve fragrances can be personalized by pairing and blending.
Fitz expects Clean Reserve will resonate with consumers looking for fragrances with a new twist on ingredients. She compares the new notes to the farm to table food trend. “This is farm to bottle,” she adds noting the use of raw, sustainable ingredients such as saffron, spiced herbs, wild moss, birch, patchouli and leathery woods. The name “Reserve” comes from the perfumer’s reserve of special ingredients that Clean used to celebrate the artistry of perfumery.
Fusion executives took a unique path to creating the scents with leading fragrance houses including Takasago, Mane and Firmenich. Rather than directing the perfumers to particular notes, Fusion’s team presented imagery and asked the perfumers to create what they feel is the next interpretation of Clean. The resulting scents are: Blonde Rose, Sueded Oud, Terra Woods, Smoked Vetiver, Amber Saffron and Velvet Flora. Fusion also created fresh takes for Reserve Blends of its most popular traditional scents, Skin, Rain and Warm Cotton.
To appeal to strong consumer demand for sustainability, great care was taken with every component of the launch to ensure minimal waste. The cap is made from certified sustainable managed forests, each fragrance is infused with sustainable ingredients, the alcohol used is derived from corn and the bottle is 100 percent recyclable.
The digital marketing campaign will kick off in December with social media exposure and heavy sampling efforts to reinforce the raw materials used in each scent.
Clean Reserve represents the first of many steps Fusion is taking as it revamps its presence in the fragrance market with the Clean franchise and its Fusion Beauty cosmetics line under the Fusion Brands’ umbrella.