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Commodity: Behind The Brand

We chatted to Commodity co-founder Ash Huzenlaub to talk about how the line started, how the world of perfume is changing and which fragrances are a must-buy…

A Chance Meeting

Commodity surprisingly became the lifestyle brand it is today after Ash and his co-founder Konstantin had a chance meeting in a London café. While neither Ash or Konstantin had any experience in the beauty industry, both were successful entrepreneurs with an ambition to create something innovative around their own sensibilities. Ash says of the chance meeting: “It was very serendipitous. Had either of us walked into the café twenty minutes later, we likely would have never met. Both of us had a background in fashion ecommerce and that led to additional conversations about what we were each seeking to do next. Developing a platform for artisans to create their best work across fragrance, skincare, and eventually other categories with no nonsense marketing was a mutual interest.” Soon after, Commodity became the beneficiary of the fact that consumers today are not looking for mass market brands, but rather the artisanal, niche variety instead.

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Picking up Pace

In 2015, Commodity experienced its first trial launch in a US retailer and spent the next 18 months learning on the go how to build a brand. “The fact that we did not come from the traditional beauty space was of interest to consumers. We were trying new approaches to development where master perfumers had no boundaries. We were trying new approaches to marketing driven completely by user generated content.” By the end of 2017, the brand was in 550 prestige retail doors in seven countries.

An Artisan Approach

Unlike most perfume brands, Commodity’s scents are created by a number of master perfumers. These perfumers, who originate from all over the world, are given a blank canvas to create what they have always dreamed of making. Ash explains more: “Today we have 11 of the top master perfumers in the world associated with the Commodity brand. We like to proudly shine the spotlight on these artisans rather than on a founder story; when you open the product for example, there’s a booklet in there which will tell you the story about who made the candle, where the notes came from and the inspiration. “In the beginning, we would attempt to recruit master perfumers who have won awards for their past creations. Today, we are fortunate to have various accomplished perfumers coming to us to join our community. There are no timelines and there are no cost constraints to their development process as long as we are vegan and cruelty-free. They are encouraged to look back on their careers as perfumers to create something they are passionate about, something that they always wanted to create. The first round of naming recommendations comes from the artisans themselves. The only real caveat is that it is 8 letters or less and one word. The reason is that we want to stay minimalist and get the consumer to experience the actual creation rather than packaging, name or marketing”.

A Pioneering System

The world of fragrance has noticeably evolved in recent years, and Commodity is one of the brands that reflects this most. “Fragrance has been changing over the last 10 years”, says Ash. “People are shying away from mass brands with huge media campaigns and really want good niche, indie brands where they don’t smell like everyone in the room. They want a story behind the fragrance; people are really looking for that artisanal experience.” A true pioneer, Commodity embodies so many of the fragrance industry’s modern values and Ash is determined to make clear that Commodity is not just a fragrance brand, but a lifestyle brand that caters to a unisex, gender-neutral demographic.

Like some modern fragrance brands, Commodity are also now actively looking at recruiting online consumers, something which would have been unthinkable 10 years ago: “Fragrance is the most passionate purchase someone can make – it’s very personal”, Ash explains. “Fragrance is a difficult sell online, so that is why we are proud to partner with luxury retailers like Space NK. There are ways to tackle the complexity of online sales in fragrance, such as the use of exploration kits, but there is nothing as impactful as getting Commodity past your nose, holding the bottle and learning from the Space NK sales specialist who can guide you through our whole collection in person.” It’s clear the world of fragrance is changing – and Commodity is at the helm of this evolution.

At A Glance

New to Commodity? We recommend picking up one of their exploration kits such as The Portfolio, which features 15 2ml, 30 pumps per vial samples. If you’re familiar with Commodity and ready for a 100ml investment, here are our top picks…

If you like… warm, woody fragrances, opt for Commodity Book EDP, which has notes of sandalwood, amber and musk.

If you like… rich, enticing home fragrances, try Commodity Leather Candle, which is aromatic and tempting.

If you like… fresh, uplifting fragrances, buy Commodity Rain EDP, which features jasmine, freesia and lemon verbena.

If you like… soft florals, pick up Commodity Orris Bath Bar, which smells of patchouli and spicy pink peppercorn.

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