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Thinking about this statement by Kipling, the endless fragrance styles, and personal care brands throughout the world, lead me to do a little digging into this subject.  My thought path — So here’s a challenging task: create a fragrance that is relevant, appeals to a wide audience on the olfactory level while also resonating emotionally. Additionally, make sure it is memorable and cool. Where to even begin!? Marietta’s product development and design teams get to work with some of the best fragrance houses and brands in the biz. So, with special thanks to the help of some experts: Julie Movsessian, Marketing Director at Sozio, Inc., and Michelle Harper, VP of Scent Design at Arylessence, Inc. I took a look back at what 2017 smelled like… and glimpsed at what’s in store for 2018.

A few category boxes were filled:

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Gender Benders — When exploring and forecasting fragrance trends, market experts look far beyond the perfume and personal care industry. Determining a trend requires a wide lens capable of examining fashion, home goods, decor, food, travel, social media, pop culture, political and social movements, etc. Social and current events coupled with the power of social media played a hand in the reemergence of the gender-neutral fragrance trend that exploded in the 1990s. Julie Movsessian, Marketing Director at Sozio, Inc., explains that “there is no more gender in the fragrance industry. The fragrances being sold can be used by women and men.”  Calvin Klein’s new for 2017 fragrance “All” is a perfect example of a gender-fluid scent that blurs the lines between masculine and feminine with crisp mandarin and citrus notes layered over warm amber and rhubarb. And of course, Marietta’s amenity collections are very much gender-neutral.

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Earthy — Pantone’s increasingly influential color of the year finds its way into many industries with fragrance being no exception. This year’s color, Greenery, visually supports thoughts of the environment, growth, and nature while also evoking feelings of harmony and balance. Consumers are, more than ever, seeking home goods made of wood, stone and other organic materials and are encouraged to seek adventure, head into the woods, or disconnect for a “digital detox.” Essential oils harvested from the source and authentic natural ingredients are now expected by consumers with bonus points dolled out for vegan, organic, and eco-friendly. Unlike other earthy fragrance trends of the past which tend to be heavier, 2017 saw pairings with citrus and spice notes to lighten them up a bit. Michelle Harper, VP of Scent Design at Arylessence, Inc. called out a specific earthy trend: “You can’t talk about fragrance trends and not mention Oud. It’s everywhere and consumers purchasing prestige as well as mass market products are loving it! Oud, with its oriental, woody, ambery and incense-like aspects offers sophistication, warmth and sensuality while delivering a natural, earthiness that appeals to a wide range of demographics from boomers to millennials.” Amenity collections like Aveda Rosemary Mint and Beekman 1802 Dispensary are excellent examples of this style.

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Pure: Health & Wellness — No matter what side of the fence you were on, 2016 was an emotionally draining 365-day stretch. Besides the political drama, there was actually a brief period of 2016 when knife-wielding clowns were chasing people into the woods. It wasn’t our best year. Entering 2017 was viewed by many as an opportunity for a fresh start with an optimistic attitude and a sense of brightness in the air. Fragrance-related internet searches this year often include the word “fresh.” Millennials seek fragrances as transparent as the lives they lead on social media. Michelle Harper describes how millennials “are focused on authenticity of the product. They want answers to some key questions – What is true about this product? Is it really worth the money? If so, why? What’s the fragrance story? Does the product actually work? What, if anything, does the product or the manufacturer behind it stand for?” The answers to these questions align with the desire for transparency and well-being that seeped into many product categories with consumers seeking less processed foods, locally made goods, and an overall focus now just as much on what is NOT in a product as what is in it. In the fragrance world, this translated into scents that capture that ever-desirable feeling of being clean and pure. These fragrances trended towards light, yet still complex, with many watery florals with perhaps some refreshing mint, cucumber or lime notes.

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Colorful, Unexpected & Unique — This sophisticated trend took many cues from the culinary and travel worlds. Many unexpected blends of exotic botanicals, fruits, spices and florals. This trend mirrored what we’re seeing pop up in the natural sections of grocery stores and on trendy restaurant menus…beverages with unlikely pairings with lavender, rose water and hibiscus, tart and tangy flavors (kombucha!), anti-oxidant rich Madagascan peppercorns, unique and complex craft beer and coffee offerings. Ingredients known for their health benefits are even finding their way into mainstream drug store personal care brands with labels boasting the addition of coconut milk, argon oil, rice milk and a variety of herbs. 2017 has also seen much celebration of individuality and an increased desire among millennials and GenX to identify personally with their purchases. Julie Movsessian perfectly summed up the millennial strategy: “Propose new experiences, be innovative but stay authentic.”

….And what will 2018 smell like?

AckermanQuote“2018 and beyond will see an increased ability to express individuality across all product forms.  In terms of odor profiles, woody, fougere, oriental and floriental fragrance types will continue to gain momentum and the Chypre will regain popularity. Gender lines will be nearly non-existent. Unisex, androgynous scents will dominate.” explained Michelle of her forecast. Julie called out a continued “focus on ingredients” with scents remaining “clean, fresh and bright.”  Marietta is continually forward thinking working with the industry’s best strategic partners to ensure the amenity collections offered resonate with consumers. Exciting times ahead!

Marietta’s Amenity Collection Portfolio covers the range of fragrance options herbal, floral, citrus, apple, vanilla, spice, marine, etc.