Fashion designer Ingrid Starnes has diversified its product range with the recent launch of its Vetyver Bergamot perfume.
Over two years in the making, Vetyver Bergamot takes on some of the great elements in perfumery. The two dominant fragrances combine a heady and intoxicating scent used in temple worship with a citrus flower emanating grapefruit and lime aromas.
Starnes' partner Simon Pound says a love for perfume drove the decision to expand the business.
"With three children and the business it is the kind of meaningful and manageable gift that we can gift each other, and from our shared love of it we dreamt of making one ourselves. We have learnt so much along the way and it has been really enjoyable to create a perfume together and be able to make beautiful imagery and something a bit special."
Pound says it also made sense from a business point of view as the perfume would not be subject to seasonal changes, giving them more of an opportunity to grow in a low-volume, low-margin market.
Produced by Yves Dombrowsky, Vetyver Bergamot is a modern take on the world’s first blockbuster perfume, Coty’s Chypre.
Pound says it was extremely difficult to produce a perfume that they felt adequately represented the brand, but after hundreds of iterations they found the formula they were after.
"The world does not need another so-so perfume. Boutique perfume is like boutique wine in that it is only picked up if people that really care about quality decide it is good," says Pound.
"Big marketing budgets and celebrity endorsements sell most perfume, from the long established companies, or the big brands. So, as a very small NZ label to have any chance of standing out it had to be something that got a great reaction."
A soap made using all natural perfume, organic manuka honey from J Friend, organic goat's milk and shea butter has been made to support the fragrance.
The reaction by users of the soap has spurred the duo to explore further diversification into this and similar products, something which despite the length of the Vetyver Bergamot project, Pound would be excited to do again.
"When doing something new it is really interesting how you don't know what you don't know. You really have to just keep pushing and trying and learning and asking questions and researching and thinking and coming at problems from different angles."
Click here for more information on Vetyver Bergamot