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Fragrant Smell of Success

Dec 1, 2011

Some products are always in demand, especially items used for setting a mood and holiday gift giving. Wholesalers in the candles, fragrances and scented products industry have been able to offer retailers an outstanding profit margin, in an economic environment that has not been conducive to making high profits. Selling specialized, exceptional products and providing excellent customer service has allowed scented products wholesalers to thrive during trying times for many other companies. However, that does not mean that they are accomplishing great goals by doing the same thing that has always been done. Candle and fragrance producers are using innovation and ingenuity to stand out and create products that have been incredibly successful in the marketplace.

World of Aromas was started by Nouman Sager in 2005. Sager originally mixed oils for fun when he first came to the U.S., but when people wanted to buy his oils, air fresheners, and incense, he started to make them full-time, first in his garage before upgrading to a warehouse. Although many of World of Aromas' 32 different scents are of an adult nature, the company is also very much a family affair. "'I Feel Happy' is something that I created from my son's book," Sager says. "I was reading his storybook and I saw the words, 'I feel happy,' and I thought that would be a great name for a fragrance. It's been selling really well. 'Romantic Nights' I made according to my first honeymoon with my wife. 'Naughty and Nice' reminds me of my niece, because she's always doing something crazy, and then she becomes nice. 'Egyptian Rose' always makes me think about my sister, even though there are no actual Egyptian roses."

Sager will be releasing a new line of candles in January, an all-natural, cosmetic-grade candle that will be safe to burn in the house, and offers more than just a nice smell. "These new candles will allow people to go ahead and smell them, and they will also be able to taste them," he says. "You go to a store, you buy candles, and you burn them, and that is it. These candles are going to give you a great smell in the house, and if you want to use the same candle as a lotion, you will be able to, and if you taste it, it will have a nice sweet taste."

World of Aromas' website is designed to make the customer's search for fragrances as easy as possible. It lists the size, retail price, and sale price for each item sold, using a drop-down box to let the customer select one of the dozens of fragrances and add to their cart. The website also offers a handy site map feature that lists all of the scents for sale at World of Aromas in one place, with links to each one. The company will always give a full return on any unopened product that a retailer is unable to sell, although Sager says that occurs very rarely. There is usually a profit margin of around 100 percent on all of his products. Incense usually wholesales for $7.50 and retails for about $15; body oils wholesale for $1.50 and sell for $3; burning oils wholesale for $1.25 and sell for $3, and air fresheners wholesale for $1.80 and sell for $3.29. The company will be offering free shipping for life for any orders over $200 to any new wholesaler that signs up as a distributor before March, and provides free displays for retail customers and free bags for incense. All of their perfumes are alcohol-free and do not contain any unhealthy minerals.

Zelda Ann Briglia also started making fragrances for enjoyment before it became a full-time profession. Her business, Zelda's, sells roll-on perfumes in popular fragrances, as well as original fragrances. "The main product that most people want is the standard 1/3 oz roll-on perfume," Briglia says. "Either they buy bottles and fill it on their own, or I stand here each day and fill them myself." Zelda's wholesales three separate categories of perfume; a 75 cent line of closeout fragrances; a one dollar category, mostly consisting of scents originally released between 2003 to 2009; and a $1.90 group made up of new perfumes and "classic" fragrances that never go out of style. These include scents such as Egyptian Musk, Lavender, Jasmine, Frankincense, Myrrh, Coconut, and Burberry.

Briglia says that she feels too many different fragrances were released in the past few years, leading to an over-saturation of the market. "What I am looking to do is make a choice on what to sell, because I don't just buy everything that comes along," Briglia says. "I'm thinking a little bit differently than all of the competitors, since I'll only sell something if I hear it is a real winner. I don't care if I'm behind all the rest, because I think they're jumping at everything. I'm trying to make more of a guess on the winner."

Zelda's website offers thousands of scents, grouped into more than a dozen categories, allowing easy access and shopping for customers who want to browse or are looking for a specific scent, as they can add products to their carts with one click. The site lists Zelda's five best-selling fragrances, as well as their newest products, contact information, and shipping details for easy, one-stop shopping. Briglia notes the outstanding profit these products have been making. The roll-on fragrances have had a profit margin of 300 percent or more, she says, noting that the $1.90 perfumes have been selling for $6 or $7 by some retailers, and seeing a very quick turnaround at $4 or $5. In addition, the 75-cent roll-on scents have been selling as high as $3 retail. Briglia sells incense she makes herself, which wholesales for $1.85 per 100 sticks, and she also hand-bottles cologne. In addition, she sells empty bottles for the roll-on perfumes and colognes. There is no minimum order.

Designer Fragrances has also seen its products garner a profit margin of 300 to 400 percent. A family-owned business that has been selling fragrances for nearly two decades, the company sells both its own original fragrances and distributes the scents of a wide variety of other companies. "We sell everything from high end items that can retail for as much as $40, with wholesale prices around $10, to some that wholesale as low as one dollar apiece," says Bonita Lawrence, head of sales and marketing for Designer Fragrances. "We also carry a wide selection of 'versions of' fragrances, which wholesale for anywhere between one and six dollars a bottle."

Lawrence reports that the company has an extensive inventory of more than 500 different types of fragrances, between all of its original scents and the different manufacturers that are sold through the company's website. The online store lists special deals and new arrivals, as well as each of the fragrance lines. The page for each item shows the cost listed for each of three price tiers, allowing the customer to easily add the scent to their cart and pay through the website. There is one price tier for buying either one or two bottles, one for purchases between three and 47, and one for 48 or more. "Our customer service sets us apart because we really work with everybody. Customers don't have to buy cases or large quantities. I have some customers that only feel comfortable buying one or two bottles apiece."

There is no minimum, and the company offers free shipping for all orders over $250. In addition, the entire price list is offered online, updated in real-time, so there is no need to send away for updated prices and newest releases. Lawrence notes that Designer Fragrance's private label has been selling especially well, with Polo Black particularly popular this season. These high quality oils wholesale for $4.99 each for orders of 3 to 47, and $3.50 each for orders above four dozen, usually retailing for $20 or more.

Vineet Gupta is president of VD Importers, which imports incense sticks, oils, perfumes and candles from India. Headquartered in Florida, VD Importers features over 100 different fragrances. One of the company's specialties is Nag Champa, an Indian fragrance derived from the Champa, or Plumeria tree and flowers. It is known for having a strong, unique scent and is very popular in the yoga community. The fragrance is mostly used in incense, but VD also sells Nag Champa scented soap and Rose and Sandlewood cones. The Nag Champa incense burners sell for $7.75 per dozen for orders up to 12, and $7.50 per dozen for orders of 13 or more, retailing for between $18 and $24. VD Importer's website through allows customers to quickly and easily purchase items. A drop-down menu lists each of the fragrances available for each item, and the user can type in a quantity and add it to their cart. The website lets the customer know if there are free displays available, and notes if there are quantity discounts available.

One of VD Importers' most popular products are half-ounce bottles of Divine Aroma Oils. Available in more than 60 different fragrances, the oils wholesale for $0.65 and retail between $1.99 and $2.50. They are also available in two-ounce bottles for $1.25 each, or in a bulk package of 16 one-half ounce bottles for $8 each. Gupta often offers incentives for customers to buy his products. "Every month, we have a deal of the month," he says. "Sometimes we offer free shipping. Sometimes we offer a ten percent discount. In October, we had free displays for our fragrance oils." In addition, Gupta stresses the unique appeal of his products in the marketplace. "We specialize in candles, incense and fragrance oils imported from India," he says. "There is nobody else that specializes in these kinds of products." The minimum order for VD Importers is $100.

While VD Importers features fragrances from far away, Makes Scents simply makes you feel a million miles from home, specializing in tropical fragrance candles. There are currently 18 different candles, including such scents as Calypso Coconut, Pineapple Passion, and Orange Blossom. Makes Scents also features a "Latitudes" line of six seasonal fragrances: Pumpkin Spice, Gingerbread, Apple Cinnamon Cider, Christmas Tree, Crem Brulee, and Candy Cane. According to owner and president Christy Shivel, the scent of the company's candles fill up a room instantaneously. "We excel in making very fragrant candles you can smell the second you uncap them and throughout the room once you light it." Shivel says the company's most popular fragrance has been Exotic Orchard, a scent that is not too sweet or too musky, with a balance that attracts both male and female buyers. Also selling well has been the Tortola Wind, which she notes is a good, crisp clean fragrance that makes one envision being on a tropical island, smelling the breeze.

The website offers pictures and descriptions of all of Makes Scents' fragrances, divided into the company's five candle lines. Wholesale customers can call Makes Scents to set up an account and order any of the company's products. All of their candles come in five different sizes. The 16-ounce jars wholesale for $8.90 and retail for $19.95; The nine ounce candle, which comes boxed with a descriptor card making it ready for gift-giving, wholesales for $6.80 and retails for $14.95; The seven ounce travel tin wholesales for $5.40 and retails at $11.95; the four ounce travel tin has a wholesale price of $3.90 and sells retail at $8.95, and the smallest size is the T-Lite, which comes in a box of six, wholesaling for $2.70 and retailing for $5.95.

The minimum wholesale order is $150, but retailers can mix and match products however they like, with no minimum quantity. "This particularly works well with our existing customers, because if they go to place an order and they want to fill in some of the other fragrances that they've sold a couple of, they can just order two or three. We allow orders like that to keep our customers' displays looking nice and full. That way they can sell more, because an empty display doesn't sell." Shivel adds that Makes Scents will always respond quickly if there is ever an issue. "I have helped customers at 9 at night, just because that's what works for their schedule, and because we're a small company we can do that. You get a lot of personalized attention with us. We've been in business for awhile, and we're stable and have survived the ups and downs."

For more information:
World of Aromas
3649 Conflans Road #126
Irving, TX 75061
Tel.: 469-471-8934

154 Esopus Ave.
Kingston, NY 12401
Tel.: 845-339-8202

Designer Fragrances, Inc.
2925 Corunna Rd.
Flint, MI 48503
Tel.: 810-232-5800
Toll Free: 800-726-5663

VD Importers, Inc.
4960 NW 165 St., Unit B-20
Miami, FL 33014
Tel.: 305-620-2006

Makes Scents
P.O. Box 89775
Tampa, FL 33689
Tel.: 813-571-9749
Toll Free: 877-400-9800

Topic: Product Trends

Related Articles: fragrance  perfume 

Article ID: 1525

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