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Sarah Horowitz Looks Beyond Indie Fragrance for the Mainstream

The indie fragrance queen reaches for a wider audience with Biography Scents of Self.

Sarah Horowitz has achieved cult status as an indie perfumer, but she’d prefer to edge closer to the mainstream. Now, QVC may be propelling her in that direction by launching her new brand Biography Scents of Self on Friday.

“The world of artisan niche fragrance is exploding; it’s what I’ve done forever, and it’s finally time that the masses are ready for niche,” said Horowitz, who started crafting custom fragrances the same year she entered college in the late Eighties. “People are ready for customization that is foolproof.”

Biography Scents of Self kicks off with an $85 set of four fragrances designed to be worn alone or layered together. The anchor fragrance of the set is Perfect Veil, a scent that Horowitz originally introduced in 1997 that she described as smelling like “naked skin out of the shower.” Other scents are the tropical Scents of Awakening, the floral Scents of Harmony and the sensual Scents of Passion.

Perfect Veil is in a larger 1-oz. spray bottle, while the other scents are in .33-oz. rollerballs. The packaging is accented with agate-inspired patterns that emphasize the layering aspect of the products. It includes a travel pouch and a how-to pamphlet that provides on six fragrance combinations customers can try.

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“It is not a perfume kit where you are going to do drops of this and that. It is a layering kit for expression,” explained Horowitz. She added people tell “their story through scent and that story can change day to day. Fragrance gives you and the world around you a sense of who you are and what you love. It’s an invisible calling card of who you are.”

Biography Scents of Self is informed by Horowitz’s long history of creating fragrances both for retail and private clients. She’s made 10,000 bespoke fragrances for individuals and the notes those individuals gravitated toward most are incorporated in the initial set. She also sought to keep customization simple. She’s avoiding what happened with Perfumers Palette, an assortment of 33 single notes she sold at Nordstrom 15 years ago that tended to overwhelm and confuse customers.

In one-on-one encounters and at retail events, Horowitz has honed an ability to clearly and passionately communicate about fragrances to both experts and newbies. It’s an ability she thinks will translate well to QVC. “QVC has Tova, Nest and Philosophy. That’s what attracted me to QVC. They love founders, the people who have their hands in the creative process,” said Horowitz. “I can’t wait to get in front of the camera and make people fall in love with themselves through fragrance.”

Ann Colville Somma, vice president of innovation at Tru Fragrance & Beauty LLC, asserted Horowitz is capable of making a bid for wider audiences, as an artist that’s accessible to mass consumers. “She was a niche perfumer before niche perfumers were a thing, and her foundation in a proprietary, emotionally- driven process of developing bespoke fragrances is such a unique point of view, and we were really excited to see her leverage that for a broader audience,” she said. “QVC has a tremendous connection with its audience and is a master at story telling and making that personal connection between a founder and host, and consumer. Sarah understands the importance of making that emotional connection.”

Industry sources project Biography Scents of Self will generate $3 million to $5 million in first-year sales. “The first set is Volume One and is really the beginning of our story with Sarah as a perfumer and founder. With Biography Scents of Self, we see an opportunity to explore personal expression through fragrance,” said Somma. “The consumer that falls in love with this volume will expand with us in future volumes.”