Phlur is a company that is best known for making natural perfumes which are unique products because they are created in a manner that is mindful and thoughtful. The young company became a phenomenon and it has grown in popularity since its inception. They’ve come a long way since the startup company first began advertising their fragrances which were largely unheard of at the time. Here is their story, what makes Phlur stand out from the crowd and how the business is doing today.
The founders of Phlur
Phlur is a fragrance company which began as a startup with a few good ideas about how to create fragrances responsibly with mindfulness about the ingredients used to create the perfumes. Eric Korman was once employed with Ralph Lauren as an executive and he understood what it takes to create an empire in the fragrance industry. According to Tech Crunch, he began raising funds so he could turn his brilliant ideas into realities. He and Cynthia Korman co-founded Phlur, which is based out of Austin, Texas and he seemed to have little trouble raising $2.4 million in startup funds with backers from Next Coast Ventures leading the pack in the fundraising campaign, which added yet more to the $6 million previously raised. This was clearly a very special startup that attracted investors who believed that it was unique enough in the fragrance industry to turn a profit, making it a good gamble for investment. While $8.4 million was a nice sum to start out with, Korman’s goal was to procure an additional $5.6 million in venture funding on top of that. His years spent in the business gave him a sense of what would be needed to see the project through to its initial goals as a new startup. Eric Korman is the current CEO of the company.
The attraction to Phlur
There are a few key words which are used repeatedly in Phlur’s advertising and promotional materials. These are conscientious, mindfulness, thoughtfulness, re-imagining the future, constantly questioning, and these words alone have a deep psychological effect upon the potential customers who are looking for something different and new. Korman’s approach so far has been to offer transparency to customers and potential customers and to let everyone know that they do take a mindful approach to responsible sourcing of the ingredients used in the fragrances produced by Phlur. They consistently ask for consumer input and ask for feedback about what products they would like to see next. This is one of the best ways to establish rapport and build relationships and trust and Korman has nailed this concept because people are buying the products without ever smelling them.
What makes Phlur different?
As we just discussed, the advertising strategy is intriguing and it entices people to give it a try. The product sounds so good that it’s difficult to not order a sample to find out if all of the hype about it is true. From what the co-founders have to say, a lot of thought went into the development of the ingredients as well as the fragrance and the message that is sent claims that it is an extraordinary fragrance that is different and unique and the creators are believable and well credentialed. When you place your first order for Phlur fragrances you’re actually ordering samples. The $18 that the company charges for three sample vials will go towards the cost of a full bottle of 50L size if after a 30 day trial period, you decide that you want to splurge and purchase the full size bottle. There is no charge for the shipping ever, which is also a good drawing card and each of the three bottles are 2ml which are a month’s supply of fragrance. Another factor that sets Phlur fragrances apart from the rest is that the ingredients are gluten free, vegan, cruelty free, hypoallergenic and they are sustainably sourced. Even the packaging is made from recycled materials. Another claim that the company makes is that their products will never contain nitro musks, phenoxythanol, BHT, which is a potentially harmful preservative, phthalates or parabens. All of the ingredients commonly found in fragrances and cosmetics which represent potential health risks are not allowed in the making of Phlur products.
Forbes’ assessment of Phlur
Forbes’ magazine even commented about the phenomenal new perfume that caught the attention of nearly 100,000 consumers before they’d even caught a whiff of the scent. Phlur has continued to grow and evolve as a company and a competitor in the fragrance industry and they report that the Phlur marketing method along with non-toxic ingredients is taking the world by storm. Safety is one of the key concepts that serve in catching the attention of health minded consumers who prefer to avoid unnatural products which could pose a health risk. There are no regulations that require perfume manufacturers to list the ingredients which are in their fragrances and many of the ingredient lists of the top selling fragrances are kept hidden to prevent cloning of the fragrances by knock off companies. Phlur is no exception because they have a gold mine in their hot new commodity, but they do inform the public about some of the characteristics of the ingredients and what is not included in their formulations, and although they don’t give away the recipes used to obtain the fragrances, they list every ingredient that they use on the company’s website. The founder of Phlur has the firm understanding that the sale doesn’t take place when the customer smells the scent for the first time, but rather when they read the advertisements which appeal to them on some level. Around 200,000 of the samples were sold to consumers and out of these hundreds of thousands who gave it a try, a quarter of them went on to order the full size product after their trial periods expired. These are great conversion rates and it shows that the company is on its way upwards.
What product lines are produced by Phlur?
Phlur currently produces a total of six fragrances which are unisex and an only be purchased online. The company operates with a unique business model. Consumers are welcome to purchase samples to test the fragrances out for 30 days, then have the option of making the full purchase. The scents are named Siano, Hepcat, Greylocke, Moab, Olmsted & Vaux and Hanami which were developed and made available in 2016, and you won’t be able to find them at your local department store. It can take up to 6 or even 8 months to develop a single fragrance because of the necessity to use ingredients which are sustainable and will not cause an allergic reaction in most people. The scents are created then refined over this period of time which far exceeds the six weeks average that most fragrance companies take in developing their new scents. The company has plans to expand their perfume lines even further to include more exciting new scents. In 2018, two more scents were introduced by Phlur, including Sandara, a unisex scent and for the first time, a scent made specifically for women called Ameline.
In addition to the eight fragrances which are sold in perfume form, Phlur also produces candles in three scents which are also guaranteed to be responsibly sourced and human/environmentally friendly. The company has just recently launched a new line of body care products which feature the scents they’ve created. The body care products include body washes and lotions. The first scent to become available in these new launches was Hanami, followed by Olmsted & Vaux then Moab.
Description of the scents
You can find a complete and detailed list of the ingredients used for each scent on the Phlur website. These descriptions are also included in fragrance shipments sent out to customers. Moab contains clove, jasmine and long pepper, Hanami features sandalwood, vanilla and hazelnut notes and Olmstead & Vaux contains orange flower, cedar and white ginger. Upon trying each scent, customers are encouraged to go online and complete an experience survey with Phlur’s chatbot to let the company know how well you like the scent and a few details about the experience including how much you like or dislike the scent, how long the fragrance lasts on the skin before it begins to fade and other information which is useful for making improvements.
Is Phlur really environmentally responsible?
There was some question about an ingredient which Phlur uses which is on the list for being in danger of becoming scarce, and this is sandalwood. Although it’s a touchy issue among conservationists, sandalwood is a common scent and it is frequently used by a multitude of companies. Phlur does a good job of helping to make such ingredients sustainable by making donations of $5 for each $88 full sized bottle sold to either the Central Park Conservancy or to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The founders and leaders of the company do maintain a commitment to conservancy and sustainability and Phlur has earned its current status as a Certified B Corporation which means that the company has conformed to extremely high standards as set forth by B Lab which include social and environmental performance, transparency an accountability. The bottles are created from glass which is recycled as well as the packaging which is also made from reclaimed material. They do an excellent job of maintaining transparency and in many ways, Phlur surpasses most other fragrance companies in their efforts to maintain social and environmental responsibility.
The evolution of Phlur
Phlur hasn’t been in business that long, but it offers a business model that was percolating in the mind of its founder for decades. Korman was not only fascinated with fragrance from the time that he was just 13 years old, but when he led the global e-commerce division of the Ralph Lauren empire, his thoughts continually turned towards how he could innovate the e-commerce sector of retail and what he could do to create his own fragrance business through a digital environment. He spent time researching the basic concepts of the model which Phlur operates upon until it was time for him to strike out on his own. He possesses a high level of bravery, leaving a high paying job in New York to move to Austin, Texas and start his own company. Korman set the bar at an extremely high level and he knew which direction the company would take before the startup was ever launched. One of his many goals was to “re-imagine fragrance” and that is precisely what he has done. You’ll find that one the Phlur website, they welcome consumer feedback and come right out and ask their client base to let them know which product lines they would like to see the most. Korman is concerned with bringing the public the products that they desire, so long as those products conform to the high standards that Phlur has established in achieving their B certification.
Phlur is a startup e-commerce fragrance company that is still in its infancy, but it’s already made remarkable strides in becoming established with a new and innovative business model that fits in well with the current trends in online marketing. It’s the perfect business or the future and it’s one of the few within the industry that shows concern for human health and for conservation of the planet and they’re up to the challenge of being analyzed and critiqued for their efforts as well as for the quality of the products they produce. Phlur is a class act and the company is growing nicely with a customer base of more than 35,000, with more joining daily. We see a bright future for Phlur because of their social conscience.