Maesa is taking on a new category — mass market fragrance — with its latest brand launch.
The incubator behind Kristin Ess Hair, Andrew Fitzsimons’ eponymous hair care brand and ITK, the skin care brand from Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight, is now tackling mass market fragrances.
Fine’ry is comprised of nine body sprays, nine eaux de parfum and a discovery set. It began its rollout into Target doors last month. Prices range from $12.99 to $27.99.
Though consumers’ propensities toward prestige fragrance has skyrocketed since the pandemic, Maesa found the most room for white space on mass market shelves.
“There’s hardly any space that isn’t saturated,” said Dana Steinfeld, senior vice president of Blue Sky Development, Maesa’s innovation arm. “We had started to see a renewed passion and excitement and love for the fragrance category…what we saw was this huge appetite and desire for people to have access to the true kind of untouchable world of niche, prestige, premium fragrance, and when we looked at the offerings for the consumer at mass, there really wasn’t anything.”
Industry sources expect sales for Fine’ry to exceed $20 million in their first year, but Maesa executives declined to comment on the estimate. According to data from the NPD Group, fragrance grew 22 percent in 2022, making it the fastest growing category in prestige beauty.
Fine’ry’s full offering is vegan and cruelty-free. Scents have names like I’m a Musk, Before the Rainbow, Flower Bed and Jungle Santal.
Jungle Santal, for example, combines notes of cardamom, fig and sandalwood; I’m a Musk features vanilla, iris and amber.
“Sometimes, we take ourselves too seriously in the fragrance category, and it’s like, with Before the Rainbow, it’s describing to you that it’s going to smell like a rainbow and right after it rains,” Steinfeld said.
“The fragrance industry as a whole, when you look at those coveted, iconic [brands], are just so unattainable and so unrelatable the way they’re marketing,” said Nadia Khan, vice president of marketing and product development at Maesa. “So when asking what the best retailer would be to drive a new sense of awareness, Target was a no-brainer.”
Maesa took a prestige approach to the way the fragrances are merchandised. “We wanted to create a shopping experience that mirrors the experience you would get if you walked into a Lower East Side fragrance boutique, and that came to life in every aspect of how we built the brand in terms of merchandising and the shopping experience,” Steinfeld said, noting that it includes a tester bar.
“We’re hearing so much social feedback just about the interaction at the point of purchase and how beautiful it is in-store,” she continued.
Fine’ry joins a long list of Maesa brands to partner with Target. Those include Kristin Ess Hair, Hey Humans, Anomaly and TPH by Taraji. Late last year, Kristin Ess announced that she was suing Maesa for rights to the brand. Just this week, Ess said she had settled with the company and did not disclose details.