Free People launches in-house fragrance to test market opportunities in beauty

Glossy – With the launch of its first in-house set of fragrances, Free People wants a coveted place on the vanity.

The fragrances are free from synthetic ingredients, parabens, colorants and more, making it a clean perfume option. Currently, there is a dearth of fragrance options available at Free People, Richards said, adding that Free People’s own line helps fill a white space. Free People’s in-house scents join a burgeoning category of clean fragrance, alongside brands like Skylar Body and Phlur. Free People’s beauty and wellness offerings include crystals, sexual wellness, makeup, oral care and aromatherapy, and has grown from 395 SKUs at launch in 2016 to 1152 SKUs today.

Rather than partnering with a third-party manufacturer, Free People opted to develop its fragrance in-house by hiring a dedicated fragrance product developer to create brand equity, said Richards. “I didn’t want people to think we just found some juice and stuck on our name on the label,” she said.

That the company not only created the fragrance in-house but also owns the distribution rights helps with positioning it in the space, according to Erin Smith, a senior consultant at BRP retail consulting firm.

“If Free People releases this fragrance and is the sole distributor, I can’t go to Amazon to get it. I have to go online or in-store,” she said. “It’s an additional asset that they have; instead of sourcing goods and selling them, they now also have this other model where they produce products themselves, and that increases the value of the company.”

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