Appeared In
Special Issue
Men'sWeek issue 03/26/2015

Joseph Abboud will accent the opening of his new store with the debut of a men’s fragrance.

This story first appeared in the March 26, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Called simply Joseph Abboud, the new scent is what the designer calls “the descendant” of a similar fragrance, also called Joseph Abboud, that he launched in 1989. He came off that experience having learned a lesson about distribution and marketing. “I vowed to go vertical [the next time]. I couldn’t be happier going directly to my own customer. I want to be able to give him an undistilled appreciation of what we are trying to offer him,” the designer said, while acknowledging that one day he would like to wholesale the fragrance beyond the 900-plus doors of Men’s Wearhouse in the U.S. Plans are also underway to distribute the fragrance in the Joseph Abboud stores operated under license in Japan through a partnership with Onward Kashiyama, as well as the company’s Moores division in Canada.

In the U.S., the fragrance will launch this week in his store on Madison Avenue and then be rolled out in April and May at Men’s Wearhouse, which Abboud joined in December 2012 as chief creative officer. “I love retail because that’s where the message really gets delivered to the consumer,” Abboud said. “The real measure of success is whether we can talk to the customer intelligently.” He also admits a fascination with in-store merchandising. “I am going to sign the first 50 bottles,” said Abboud, while saying he is contemplating other merchandising ideas, including eye-catching displays.

“Fragrance is important because it completes a guy in his persona, and his image,” he said, describing the new scent as the first step in building an assortment, with additional products like body sprays. “We could have a number of fragrances,” said Abboud. “It’s important in this launch to establish your core fragrance, your packaging, your imagery, and build on that.”

The new Abboud fragrance was produced under a licensing partnership with Tru Fragrance and created by Harry Fremont, master perfumer of Firmenich. Comparing it with the original scent of the Nineties, Abboud said, “It’s fresher and probably more in the moment of 2015. I think this is more in keeping with the way I am designing clothes now. It’s taking on a younger-thinking approach.”

The formula is a modern update of the classic men’s fougère, with a fresh citrus, accents of spice and herbs for a woody aroma, opening with a blend of citrus and bamboo, revealing a heart of lavender, geranium and sage. The scent closes with guaiac woods, moss and clean captive musks. Declaring that the packaging is as important as any other element, Abboud said he took pains to design the bottle and the box as well.

Price points range from $65 for the 3.4-oz. version to $50 for the 1.7-oz. size.

Abboud declined to discuss volume, but industry sources estimate that the new fragrance with its 1,000-door universe, plus online selling, could conservatively generate about $5 million at retail during the first year on counter. Whatever the financial outcome, the results stand a good chance of being more sustainable than the first time Abboud entered the men’s fragrance arena. That time, the original Abboud scent was launched in partnership with GFT, and distributed to Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. The product was created under license by the Italian-based Euroitalia.

Abboud explained that GFT, as it began “to dismantle,” had difficulty coping with the marketing requirements of big American retailers, especially since the Italian firm had a specialty store mind-set. But with the present vertical organization, it’s a new game. “The fact that we are creating our own product; that we have over 800 stores to put our product in, I think the future of retailing is more about verticalization.”

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