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Featured Perspectives: Vicken Arslanian on How to Build a Fragrance Brand

02.12.2023
Featured Perspectives: Vicken Arslanian on How to Build a Fragrance Brand
For us, fragrance isn't just something you spray. It’s a source of confidence, a comforting nostalgia, a bottled memory, an extension of oneself, a life’s work. Behind the scenes, there’s a long chain of people involved in the creation of your fragrance.

We want you to meet them.

In this series, we’re collaborating with experts in the fragrance industry. You’ll hear from the Makers of your favorite Commodity fragrances, tastemakers from our partner perfume houses and representatives from well-known retailers. They’ll share advice and expertise to simplify your fragrance experience, or shed light on their topics of specialty.

This is a space for you to get more out of your fragrance journey, to become well versed in the world of fragrance. 

This is a unique platform for discovery.

This is Featured Perspectives.

In 2019, Commodity’s future looked bright. We were available internationally through our own direct e-commerce site, in more than 500 global Sephora locations, and had a dedicated, growing following.

Then, as quickly as we launched, Commodity shuttered.

That was until Vicken Arslanian stepped in. A tastemaker and distributor in the niche fragrance industry for more than 20 years, he was familiar with Commodity and knew its promising story couldn’t be over. 

Vicken purchased the brand in late 2019, then spent two years rebuilding until a return to the market in 2021. Commodity just completed its first full year since relaunch, and Vicken has his sights set ahead.

Can you start with a bit about yourself?
I’m a serial brand builder who established the artisanal fragrance market in the U.S. For the last 20-plus years, I’ve come across the best independently-owned fragrance brands in the world. So, I was already familiar with Commodity and surprised by their closure. 

Here were all these opulent, expensive brands, and Commodity came along with easy-to-understand messaging and unique products. It was almost the antithesis of what we were doing. That’s why in August 2019, when presented with the opportunity to purchase Commodity, I jumped.

Before your involvement, how did Commodity get its start?
We were actually brought to life by our customers in a 2013 Kickstarter campaign, so our customers are also our initial fundraisers. These early adopters were interested in discovering a unique spectrum of atypical, artisanal, and elemental fragrances.

What’s your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Seeing the overwhelmingly positive reception and understanding of our new fragrance concept: Scent Space. It's one thing to have an idea, but it's another to see your customers really embrace it. I couldn’t have anticipated a more welcoming response to this new direction for the brand.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Navigating industry-wide issues. Supply chain delivery delays and labor shortages can be significant problems for everyone in every industry, and in our inaugural year, we were no exception.

What are the top tips you’d give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
  1. Start with a distinct point of view.
  2. Focus on brand building.
  3. Always prioritize customer service and your community.

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