KIERIN NYC Founder TALKS: on Challenging the Rules of Fragrance
As the founder of Manhattan Minds, I wasn't quite sure how to share... my own interviews. I thought it would be funny to do a vlog, instead of a blog... interviewing my self in the mirror a la Jimmy Fallon. Then, myself reminded myself, "You're just not that great of an actor, Mona."
So, here's the straight scoop (minus the theater) from me on the industry of beauty and my new venture, as founder of KIERIN NYC:
How are fragrance brands disconnected with the consumers of today?
"The way in which most fragrance brands market and advertise is out of step with the consumers of today. Slow to let go of the past, conventional fragrance brands still market to consumers in a way which segregates, defines and confines the consumer.
"My experience as a model has fueled my passion."
The use of hyper-idealized spokespeople- models, designers and celebrities was once a successful way of inserting aspirational values into the mind of the customer and segregating people. As a model, I came to view this as a vestige of an old and stale past.
Thankfully, there are a growing number of awakened consumers seeking out brands that are real, that represent their own values and ideals and not someone else’s. Brands in step with this modern consumer don't peddle perfection or conformity. They connect with them to help them create, individuate and express their own independent and unique, best selves and vision using their products."
What change is required of the fragrance industry?
"Change is required in the way fragrance is marketed and advertised to keep step with the times we live in. Conventional brands will need to change the way they sample and communicate in order to engage through the internet. KIERIN NYC is challenging the rules with its direct to consumer, digital approach. With its "Try at Home" promotions and free domestic shipping on all orders, KIERIN NYC takes the risk out of buying fragrance online."
What makes KIERIN NYC a disruptive brand?
"The way KIERIN NYC is disrupting the fragrance industry is by holding, core to the brand and not just as an afterthought, the values of diversity, inclusion and equality.
It makes as much sense to me to have separate isles for men and women fragrances as it does to have separate menus for men and women in a restaurant; or to have galleries decide and dictate which art is 'for women' and which is 'for men'. And, by that, I mean absolutely no sense whatsoever.
In these modern times we all accept that taste and art are universal human experiences the appreciation (or not) of which is up to the individual. But when it comes to fragrance, old stereotypes linger from a time when gender dictated your job, your rights and your style."
"I dream of a day when there will be no women’s or men’s isles for fragrance... in store or online."
How are you different from other ‘unisex’ brands?
"Most unisex fragrances are, frankly, boring. Mostly white, transparent, minimalistic packaging and bland, simplistic blends. It is an artificial construct abhorrent to nature that, in order to appeal to both genders, a fragrance become sexless.
All the colors of the rainbow exist in nature and, without bias, KIERIN NYC celebrates them all with a colorful collection. I don't see why fragrance packaging or blend should be stripped of bold and beautiful personality. As gourmands and as individuals, we challenge this industry, unspoken rule."
"Genderless doesn’t have to be generic."
How is KIERIN NYC’s concept innovative?
KIERIN NYC is based on urban stories illuminated by fragrances. It is a brand about people, experiences and stories to be shared. Inspired by the diversity and energy of an urban lifestyle, it aims to be a highly-social brand that appeals to an audience of unique, extraordinary, complex, young individuals of all ages with the confidence to enjoy entering a room with a quality fragrance that turns heads.
What was the inspiration behind creating this scent collection?
My husband is an expert and veteran in the beauty industry. I have always admired his work but, though there were many fragrances that smelled good, there were none that I felt expressed the truth of modern living in NYC, its lifestyle, and that also appealed to my values.
I was simply tired of brands peddling over-priced juice with philosophies of segregation. So we decided to build a brand like no other, one that would be accessible and do no harm while being stylish and aiming to inspire, not define or confine, people. Our fragrances are born from real stories of NYC living— not stereotypes. They are clean and conscious: vegan, cruelty-free, free of skin allergens, parabens, phtalates, hypo-allergenic, use sustainable and recyclable materials, no chemical stabilizers and are made in the USA. KIERIN’s mission is to embrace the multifaceted diversity of NYC living and represent, like no other fragrance brand, the beauty and spirit of its 99%— not just of its 1%.
I wrote the stories of each fragrance myself (you can read them on the packaging) using experiences I have lived and loved in this city as my inspiration. We shared these stories with Matheiu Nardin, one of a new generation of perfumers combining traditional techniques and materials with the new innovations. Mathieu also created Jacquard for Etro, Iris de Champs for Houbigant and Blue for Kenneth Cole and Nectar for Commodity.
Mathieu's task was to translate the stories I wrote and our vision into a unique scent story. The result: each fragrance is an artfully crafted collage of scent with a signature vibe. Mathieu masterfully encapsulated our stories of celebration and the human experience of scent, connecting them with storytelling and great, olfactive quality.
KIERIN NYC is also inspired by art. What is fragrance, if not art? We found the vibrant art movements of NYC to be the perfect spokesmodels for the brand in its packaging and labels.
What drives your passion?
I would never dare to compare myself to the lovely Emily Weiss, also the creator of a blog and beauty brand, but like her my passion is to be an advocate of change and to make things that both inspire and connect people. I hope others will make the brand deeply personal through their own individual stories and, as they do, tag #KierinNYC and #MyKierin to share their experiences and engage in conversation with our growing number of followers."
So, thank you for the interview... self! That's a wrap on me... and my take. What's yours? If you liked this article or have some perspectives that you would like to share with me and other readers, then please let us know in the commends below. Have something important to share and interested in being interviewed? Send me an email with your pitch.
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