Lately, the entire team at Bramble Berry has been super busy trying to figure out where the hot trends for the upcoming seasons are. Right now, we’re planning for Fall of 2009 and Winter 2009/2010 but this post will discuss what’s right in front of us: Spring 2009. Since we usually only add six to eight fragrances per year, it’s important that we chose wisely and make sure we’re both on-trend and on-quality. One of the ways we try to do this is by melding the current global macro trends with color trends and design a perfume that will feel right for the season, the global economy and match the hot colors.
Courtney, one of our Customer Service Reps extraordinaire, sat down and interviewed me about fragrance trends to get more information on this aspect of our business.
Q: What do you mean by macro trends and how exactly do you find a macro trend?
A: A macro trend is a generalized term that refers to forces in the market that you cannot manipulate – a trend that you need to ride out. It takes things into consideration like demographics (populations, life spans, family groups), economics (work patterns, management and of course, the hot topic on everyone’s minds, the financial markets), environment (transportation channels, raw resources), government (world events, politics, regulation), society (lifestyle, leisure, culture) and technology (innovations). As a business, you want to be watching out for big trends to come through – like for example, the cupcake craze or global warming – and try to find places to capitalize on it. As a consumer, you may not realize why you all of a sudden have a craving for cupcakes or expensive cups of coffee but you do.
It’s the same way with scents. Certain scent will be super popular for a few years based on trends. For example, after 9/11, the nesting instinct was strong and very warm, comforting scents like Vanilla, Crème Brulee, and Sticky Toffee Pudding scents became very popular for a few years.
Q: Okay, so how do you find a macro trend?
A: You read, watch and listen. I personally subscribe to and yes, read 38 magazines a month – everything from Lucky magazine to Martha Stewart (of course!) to The Economist. I get about 10 business and financial magazines and the rest of lifestyle oriented like National Geographic or Fitness. I also try to read many of the top fiction and non-fiction books every year so I end up finishing anywhere from 1 to 3 books per week.
Once I see a certain trend that seems to be being felt on a global or US level, I’ll try to encapsulate that trend in a phrase or a feeling. So for example, on an easier one, things are very chaotic in the US right now with the elections just finishing, the economy and the uncertainty about strategy for a variety of US policies. On a global level, that’s being felt too as the world appears to be going into an economic slowdown.
Q: So, what do you do next?
A: Next, I start keeping my eyes peeled for what the home show is doing in terms of hot colors for appliances. 15 years ago, you never saw stainless steel for example, and now we’re seeing bright colors entering the kitchen on coffee makers, cookware and food processors.
Then, I pay attention to the car color launches. Those start coming out right around the NY Fashion week so it’s always interesting to watch the two move together.
And finally, the fashion, the fashion, the fashion! What’s not to love about looking at collections to try to see what colors are popping!
A: We are so lucky at Bramble Berry that we get to work with some of the top perfumers in the business, the people that are behind some of the major department and celebrity perfume launches every year. Once I have some ideas in my head about melding macro trends with color trends, it turns into a collaboration with the perfumer taking those esoteric ideas and feelings and turning them into a fragrance that personifies what I’d like to convey.
Q: How long does this take?
A: It varies by fragrance but it can be as quick as a month all the way up to about six months. An example is our Salty Mariner fragrance. That took almost six months in development from customer suggestion, formulation and testing. For every one of the 240 or so fragrances Bramble Berry carries, we have literally tested 100 fragrances for each and every one that we have for sale. Sometimes, a fragrance will go back to the perfumers for more reformulation and it never quite reaches its pinnacle so it won’t get added to our line.
Q: Okay, so now that we’ve covered that, tell me about what you’re seeing for Spring 2009 which is almost upon us.
A: Well, I’m seeing three really big trends coming up right around the corner:
- The desire to make sense out of chaos
- The desire for upbeat, lively and playful
- The desire for a more sustainable lifestyle
Matching this up with colors, I’m seeing bright and cheerful colors like intense pink, bold turquoise and sunny yellow on some of accent colors for spring.
Patterns are also looking fairly ordered with straight lines and beautiful geometry. I’m especially noticing this in the home décor industries.
And the desire for a more simple, raw, sustainable lifestyle is typified by the hand died fabrics so more muted colors of linen, woven hemp and the like.
Individual notes that seem like they’re going to play a role in fragrance launches over the next few months and throughout the entire year are notes like:
pomegranate, acai berry, mangosteen, dragon fruit & gojiberryIndigenous ingredients & spices
saffron, rooibus tea, fennel, thai lemongrass, south african marulaAuthentic, regional fusions
lychee, cacao, kalahari melon, lotus blossom, champaca flower, passion flower
Balance inspired ingredients
white tea, rice milk, olive flower, chamomile, hibiscus, rosemary, thyme, aloe
Natural botanicals & extracts
jojoba, angelica, peppermint, patchouli, geranium, vetiver, bergamot, sea kelp
Expect to see Bramble Berrytrying to come out with fragrances in the next year that work within the framework of these colors, notes and bigger macro trends. But the most important part is always the consumer. There’s no point in adding a fragrance that smells like “Sustainable Lifestyle” if our customers won’t like it so we’re always very mindful of the end user when we’re adding fragrances. You generally don’t see us adding twenty or thirty fragrances at a time just because they’re hot. A lot of thought, planning, and testing goes into any fragrance we add which is why we’ve continued to the bulk of our main fragrance line for over a decade.