From a niche fragrance brand to a Modern American Perfumery

How Commodity’s rebrand gave them a renewed sense of purpose.

Vivek Bhatia
Words by Vivek Bhatia, 22.02.2022

Commodity was a brand that had had a circuitous journey to success. Born in 2014 as a Kickstarter project in San Francisco, it then changed hands on several occasions, developing a cult following along the way. In 2019 it was acquired by Vicken Arslanian, entrepreneur and owner of distributor Europerfumes in New Jersey and relaunched in late 2020 with fresh impetus.

For Vicken, Commodity was an opportunity to further develop a brand that could be a conduit for his own ideas about fragrance. As a seasoned industry professional, his considerable experience in bringing brands to market had given him valuable insights into how consumers responded to fragrance.

For some time he’d noted how different markets had different responses to fragrance. In the Middle East, for example, people often wore bolder, heavier fragrances to those in Northern Europe. He saw an opportunity not only to create different ‘concentrations’ of the same fragrance, but also to redefine how these were described, doing away with outdated and misunderstood industry terms such as ‘Eau de toilette’, ‘Absolute’ and ‘Extract’.

The purpose of the rebrand became clear: to relaunch Commodity by amplifying a new core product philosophy to appeal to a global audience.

Our initial discussions with Vicken centred around the novel concept of ‘Scent Space’ – a new, simpler classification of fragrance concentration that could be ‘Personal’, ‘Expressive’ or ‘Bold’ leading to a family of fragrance trilogies.

When Vicken acquired Commodity it was on a different path – attempting to become a lifestyle brand to encompass skincare and colour.

The brand needed to be refocused and reframed but not lose its elemental roots that had already helped set it apart.

There were many creative challenges. How to extend the visual language to accommodate this new concept without introducing superfluous elements? How to describe fragrances in a way that was easily understood? how to connect with a new audience without alienating an existing one? How to create the desire of an artisanal fragrance brand but having a wider appeal? All of these became part of an ongoing creative strategy.

Another insight that gave the brand a point of difference was its positioning. The world of fragrance is dominated by European companies, but Commodity was very much an American-based brand. Being framed as ‘A Modern American Perfumery’ allows Commodity to be authentic about its roots and storytelling, which manifests itself AS ‘Commodity.TV’, an on-going docu series where fans of the brand get to see the reality of building a fragrance brand.

As an online D2C company, Commodity’s audience is essentially global – have a strong creative direction that is crafted, thought-provoking and transparent allows the brand to break with some of the long-held conventions of the sector and redefines the way that fragrance is experienced and enjoyed.