Make no mistakes about it, what you are about to read is a love story. Five of them to be exact. These stories are the best kind in that they dig deep into your memory, resurfacing a touching moment and a feeling you can only hope will last forever. With stories like these, though, at times words alone can’t quite capture the sensation of falling headfirst. Often, its senses like scent, sight, and sound that end up pulling at the heartstrings and reconstructing fleeting emotions before our very eyes.
With the launch of his niche fragrance house Vilhelm Parfumerie, founder Jan Ahlgren has seemingly excelled in bottling the love story. Anchored by ten story-driven signature scents, Vilhem calls upon highly associative visuals and curated concepts to create — and sell — scents to a consumer who increasingly communicates through imagery.
Vilhelm is just one of a growing number of fragrance brands who have tapped into the digital generation’s penchant for Pinterest, Instagram, and all things visually stimulating. Here, we round up five niche-scented brands who are abandoning industry standards like sampling or celebrity endorsements and instead, opting to create compelling (and social) content to sell their products.
Before fashion favorite Maison Martin Margiela made Replica, their line of scents, available in stores, it was available in mood board-esque snapshots on their website. Scents like “Lipstick On” and “Lazy Sunday Morning” seemed best captured by a simple inspo-image and a short caption that wouldn’t be out of place on Insta. Margiela designed the line to “awake your olfactory memories”, and the accompanying social campaign #SmellsLikeMemories, allowed consumers to create and share their own aspirational tributes to the scents — even if they had never smelled it before. Replica quickly went on to become one of Sephora’s top selling scents.
Startup brand Phlur creates an impressively-rich universe of content to accompany each of their multi-layered fragrances. Founder Eric Korman started the line with the believe that “fragrance is an experience, not a product”, a philosophy that has produced detail-driven lookbooks to tease out scents like “Hanami” or “Moab”. Plus, with killer soundtracks that feature everything The Black Keys, Drake, Spoon and CHVRCHES, it’s hard not to feel like one of their six signature scents might actually be your soulmate…
“Cult” takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to French fragrance house Byredo. The brands scents are some of the most coveted in today’s market, and with names like “Mojave Ghost”, “Seven Veils” and simply “1996” its not hard to see why. Founded by the unbelievably stylish Ben Gorham 10 years ago, Byredo’s commitment to storytelling ensures that each scent is a collectable experience representative of a snapshot in time or history. With a website that looks like a high-fashion Tumblr feed and an Instagram account intermingling images of models like Freja Beha with curated global style imagery, Byredo’s innovative vision has earned the brand both respect and over 35k social followers.
Commodity Goods has arguably mastered the minimalist aesthetic (along with the flatlays) so popular on Instagram, using the channel to push out imagery targeting their core customer. Commodity’s line of elegant and highbrow scents is consistently translated through black and white imagery, with scents like “Leather”, “Tea” and “Book” targeting and Urban, unisex and aspirationally-minded clientele.
We couldn’t end the list without taking a deeper dive into Vilhelm Parfumerie partly because their visually driven Instagram account, featuring punchy art deco collages and offbeat fashion inspo images, is the perfect blend of curated content. But mostly because Jan’s flagship scent “Dear Polly” can’t go unmentioned. An homage to his wife, “Dear Polly” features black tea, musk and bergamot notes — the black tea an ode to her morning cup. We love a love story with a happy ending…
Written by Gilah
Feature image via Ambalaj