For the third year, Elements, the highly curated beauty show offering niche, luxury and artisan brands, has partnered with Capsule, the global fashion and lifestyle trade event specializing in the high-end, contemporary market. From February 21-23, the two easily filled Pier 92’s mammoth space with coats, clothing, handbags, shoes, jewelry, accessories, and of course, beauty and fragrance products.
In 2011, Elements hit the beauty/fragrance scene showcasing more than 100 vendors wanting the opportunity to connect with industry leaders and buyers from department stores to smaller venues such as museum shops, design and lifestyle stores and fashion boutiques. Frederick Bouchardy, a manufacturer and designer, who along with his co-creators, Ulrich Lang and Jeffrey Lawson, promised to make that possible.
This year their assurance came to fruition once again.
“When we work remotely we start very small,” Frederick said. “Last week we produced our first show in Vegas and had 14 brands. We did Dubai and showcased 22 brands. So New York is a very edited assortment of fragrance, beauty and home.”
Though the show was considerably smaller than in the past, with only 36 vendors, no one seemed to mind. Increased curating might have proved less competition for those showcasing their wares.
“Our shows are always a mix. Some prefer to be consistent, others take breaks,” he said. “We encourage both depending on the brand. If it’s a distributor that has more than one product, it’s great to be consistently here. Otherwise if you’re producing two shows a year we need to keep the interest going for the buyers and media. It’s good to mix it up while growing our presence here.”
Though their location and number of highlighted vendors may have changed, their standards have not. According to Frederick, the trio still look for the newest, best and most unusual products around. Much of their decision is based on instinct and design, and less about distribution.
Some standouts, Fredrick highlighted, were Fur; “which is care for the hair down there done in a sophisticated, unisex way; Amouroud, which is just launching, so we always want to be involved in newness; as is Forest For The Trees, who create craft candles.”
He went on to say that, “Escentric Molecules is amazing. Geza Schoen is here, a pioneer in this industry. Then there are more artisanal brands such as Hi Wildflower Botanica and Aromaflage,” he added. “We showcase brands that are streamlined and technical, and others that are more antique in feeling.”
Additional companies featured: 10 Corso Como, Aedes de Venustas, David Mallet, Eight and Bob, Etro, Floris, Gloss Moderne, Grown Alchemist, candles by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Lite & Cycle, Shiva Rose, Therapeutate Parfums, Verso, and ZIIP Beauty, among others.
“People have already realized this, but it’s been solidified that the independent shops are critical to growing your business if you’re working in beauty,” he said. “There are 2,000 fragrance launches per year. Department stores are crowded. Smaller brands can tell their story better sometimes in the independent shops.”
That was part of the allure for Katie Dickens, a beauty writer/editor who recently created Forest For The Trees, a small candle company who launched three tree-themed scented candles, Oak, Cedar and Magnolia, at her first Elements show.
“Through my profession I’d smelled many candles before, so I knew what I liked, and that gave me some insight into what was missing in the market place,” Katie said. “The tree scents came from the fact that I live in New York and I’m very nature oriented. The candles were a creative outlet, but it also allowed me to bring some nature into my apartment even though I’m living in this concrete jungle.”
Like many, her goal was to make connections with retailers.
“Otherwise you’re just sending emails in the dark,” she added. “To meet people face-to-face is really helpful. There are retailers and small shop owners from all over the country who I’d never have the opportunity to meet with if I wasn’t here.”
For first timers Melissa and Michael Fensterstock, a husband and wife team who come from a bio-tech and marketing/finance background, found the idea for their company, Aromaflage, a natural and fragrant scented bug repellent, while on their honeymoon three years ago.
“I was getting eaten alive and I discovered what locals were using as a natural bug spray that smelled like a fragrance,” she said. “That’s where the inspiration to create a new category, which we call ‘fragrance with function,’ came from.”
For the past two and a half years the pair have been playing in the bug repellent area, and now offer perfumes and candles. “In the spirit of building out the concept we also just launched a new sleep fragrance,” Melissa added. Though they’ve already infiltrated the high-end spa space—Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Rosewood and Aman— they wanted to “meet new buyers and have exposure to other retail channels that we haven’t been introduced to,” Melissa said. Here is where they got that opportunity.
For others it was a return.
Though the French company Payot Paris, which was created in 1920 thanks to Dr. Nadia Payot, has a large following and offers an array of products found in more than 60 countries, including Russia, Asia, Australia and of course France, it lost it’s footing with American women and seemed to disappear from the shelves for almost a decade. Wanting to reemerge into the US marketplace, the company decided to showcase their products here.
“This was all about exposure. To show others that Payot is back,” said Maria Torres, President of EDP Group, who distributes brands like Etro, Pink Sugar and High Tech to the States. “We want to launch in specialty markets like Barneys or Bergdorf. The brand is special and has great merit. We also wanted to let retailers know that we’re launching new products come May.”
Since Fredrick expects 6,000 plus buyers/retailers will attend the three-day event, that goal, among others, shouldn’t be hard to achieve. And if you missed this show fear not, another collaborative effort will take place in New York this September.