An aromatic proposition

SRAVANTHI CHALLAPALLI | Updated on November 09, 2017

RippleFragrances’Iris brand ofproducts   -  Business Line

KiranRanga,Founder &ManagingDirector   -  Business Line

Do you want your brand to smell of wet lemongrass or tranquil green? Custom fragrances are the next frontier, says a fragrance creator.

Giving moods, emotions, people, flowers attributes that are evanescent yet permanent - that's what perfumiers do. How then, does a brand go about owning a fragrance, and how can a fragrance creator capture its traits, especially when the brief is that it should smell like ‘a ray of sunlight on a satin sheet' (or something to that effect).

“It's exactly like a brief given for an advertising campaign,” says Kiran Ranga, Founder and Managing Director, Ripple Fragrances, who hopes to get his business in brand signature fragrances moving. Ranga is a creative perfumer or master fragrance creator who has a degree from the University of Plymouth in Business and Perfumery, and one of his family business' concerns, Nesso, supplies natural extracts to flavour and fragrance houses and firms that make cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals. (One of its customers is Christian Dior.) “We look at target consumer segments, the age, region, attitudes and other psychographics, do trials and then present options to the client.” Ripple is now experimenting with a custom fragrance for the stores of a prospective client in the branded denims business.

“What would you associate with denim? Adventurousness, ruggedness, the outdoors. You would look at a group that's young at heart, and an age group of 18-45. We also take cues from the brand and the stores – the textures used, the colours, the products. Then we do a quick dipstick and create a few options,” he says. It is a challenge, and often an abstract one at that – for how does one define a smell that suggests a colour, or a variant of rose – dry, old, silky, dusty, wet – or suggest a certain kind of music. About 40-45 hotels in India have done this so far, he says. Indian consumers, for instance, seek aromas that simulate the smell of the first monsoon rains on parched earth, the serenity of a temple and the myriad mixed odours emanating from a flower market.

In the initial phase, the company doesn't want to charge customers for creating a fragrance. The formulation is retained and supplied by Ripple. The process of coming up with a fragrance will take about 60 days which includes the consumer research, fragrance creation application and evaluation.

Ripple has done one such exercise for Indus League Clothing's fitness wear brand Urban Yoga. Rachna Aggarwal, CEO, says the fragrance used at the stores elevates the customers to a different level associated with yoga and the spiritual discovery it promotes. “If the fragrance used in a store is in sync with the brand, the customer will surely spend more time in the store,” she adds.

Customised brand fragrances are what Ranga calls the ‘next frontier'. His current preoccupation, though, is growing the market for feel-good home fragrances. Ripple's brand is called Iris, and runs the gamut of delivery systems from vapouriser to rediffuser to pillow mister, priced between Rs 50 and Rs 1,000.

The do-good home fragrance market is different – there, the use is largely functional and the smells are meant to mask unpleasant odours – but customer needs are evolving and for a complete sensory experience, these won't do, says Ranga. Ripple's own brand in this category is Lia, which itself sprung from the realisation that agarbattis were being used not just for prayer but also to perfume the house. Ripple is part of N. Ranga Rao and Sons, the Mysore-based agarbatti maker which markets the Cycle brand, which has a 30 per cent share of the organised market for incense in India.

In India, the home fragrances segment (do-good) is estimated at Rs 180-190 crore. Premium (a brand owned by J. K. Helene Curtis) and Odonil (Dabur) are the main players; Airwick (Reckitt Benckiser) and Ambipur also have a presence. Agarbattis are the original home fragrances, and various reports put that market size at Rs 1,400-1,600 crore, says Ranga, adding that as a group, they want to be pioneers in serving evolved needs for feel-good fragrances. In fact, he says they want to be global market leaders in the next 5-7 years.

Ripple, which also does custom branding for private labels of large format stores abroad, has a projected topline of around $4 million for the year ending 2010. It has been growing at a CAGR of 90 per cent over the last three years and expects to grow at a CAGR of 60 per cent in the next five years. By 2015, export contribution will be 70 per cent and domestic 30 per cent, says Ranga. The company is eyeing a turnover of around $40 million in the next five years. It has consolidated operations at its new Mysore facility of around 85,000 sq.ft. to make candles, liquid filling lines, packaging and integration processes to support its growth projections for the next three years. In fact, NRRS makes about 6 billion incense sticks a year and is the largest maker by volume globally, says Ranga, who adds that there is no published report of incense sticks' volume manufactured by different companies. The large global contenders in incense include companies such as Nippon Kodo of Japan and Gonesh Incense of the US, whose volume tends to be low while the average unit price is high.

Ripple aims to open its first exclusive retail outlet next year to showcase its Iris brand, of which the custom fragrance is a part. Iris is not just about aroma, it's also about making the house/office environment look good, says Ranga. Showing pictures of shapely rediffusers and vapourisers, he says the company has employed designers now, placing equal emphasis on the decorative value of these accessories.

Published on December 22, 2010

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