SCENT OF A GENERATION

Byline: Elaine Glusac

At age 56, Chicago-based fragrance designer Charles Gangi is thinking half his age — at least in terms of his target market, Generation X, the 44 million consumers between the ages of 18 and 33.
His own kids, Gen Xers all, got him started.
“They said, ‘Design something for us, Generation X. We’re not Polo, Versace or Armani [customers]. Give us something natural,”‘ said Gangi.
Riding the CK One/Tommy wave of youth-oriented unisex fragrances, Gangi launched an affordable scent, Generation X, which was picked up by 550 Sears stores in 1996. A mandarin orange/floral/woody scent, Generation X wholesales for $9 and comes wrapped in corrugated cardboard tied with a jute string, with the slogan, “Change the rules.”
But the scent was only a start for the entrepreneurial Gangi. A licensed line of Generation X watches is on the market with sunglasses soon to come. He also sells Generation X T-shirts and, next March, plans to launch a magazine simply titled “Generation.”
Gangi is a former fashion apprentice with Oleg Cassini and a wardrobe designer for films like John Cassavetes’ “Opening Night” and the James Bond flick “Goldfinger.” His showroom is at 203 North Wabash, 312-553-2235.

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