This story first appeared in the May 27, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Laurice Rahme, founder of fragrance company Bond No. 9 New York, may not have a big budget, but with a little ingenuity and outside-the-box thinking, she has catapulted the brand to become the number-one seller at Saks Fifth Avenue and the one and two top sellers at Harrods.

Rahme launched Bond No. 9 in 2003 to restore artistry to perfumery and give every New York neighborhood a corresponding scent.

“Human desire is to keep memories alive and relive good times; an engagement in Chelsea or a play on Broadway,” said Rahme.

Boasting 43 fragrances inspired by 43 New York neighborhoods, Rahme said there is no end in sight to the potential scope of her brand.

As a small company with limited resources, Rahme has had to get creative to grow.

“When I’m asked who does our marketing, I say New York does it all for free,” said Rahme.

No budget for logo designer? Laurice interpreted an MTA token from the Seventies to adorn her bottles. No budget for market testing? Laurice uses her customers, which she calls “collectors” or “bonders” for daily meetings and live in-store testing.

“New Yorkers know what they want and are opinionated and that’s just what I like,” said Rahme, who sends monthly samples and offers free refills a few times a year to her “collectors.” She added, “We have obsessive communication.”

Rahme then announced her “biggest licensing collaboration to date,” a collaboration with International Flavors & Fragrances and the State of New York to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. Bond No. 9 will utilize the iconic I Love NY logo, designed in 1977 by ad agency Wells, Rich and Greene for the New York Commerce Commission, on 15 fragrances, all blended by IFF. I Love New York for Her, for Him and for All will launch on Sept. 18. Twelve additional I Love New York fragrances will launch in the coming months in various iterations.


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