This month NEST Fragrances, founded by Laura Slatkin, celebrates their 10-year anniversary. Specializing in luxury home and fine fragrances, the elegant brand has established far more than a scented footprint. After creating candle brand, Slatkin & Co., with her husband and business partner, Harry, the pair sold out in 2005 to Limited Brands Inc. “But they didn’t want to buy the private label business,” said Laura, “and I wasn’t ready to retire. I had a three-year non-compete so I made candles for other people.” That list was long – 100 brands – and included: Jonathan Adler, Calvin Klein, NARS, Tory Burch, Laura Mercier and Ralph Lauren, among others. According to Laura, they didn’t take off. “The consumer didn’t want a fashion brand candle or a department store candle, they wanted one from a fragrance company,” she said. “People want to buy something that has integrity, authority, and is from an expert in the space.” And so NEST was founded in 2008. Today the brand offers over 200 skus focusing on fine-fragranced products for the home, body and bath. Beauty Insider chatted with Laura at her Upper East Side home over truffle grilled cheese and caviar dip. Here are highlights from the interview.
Beauty Insider: What separates you from the flood of other brands out there?
Laura Slatkin: We’re geared towards the home fragrance aficionado who wants an important brand that touches all the different fragrance categories. Our wax formula has been perfected over the past 25 years. And we have more perfume in our candles than any other brand, percentage wise. The quality of our candles is paired with extraordinary packaging to make it giftable. We’re also an iconic holiday brand for those with olfactive-sensibility.
BI: Where do you spend your advertising dollars?
LS: We don’t advertise in print, just online. We do a lot of social media, Instagram and Facebook. We invest in our site and in others, like Sephora and Neiman Marcus. It’s predominantly in the digital space, which is an affordable way to advertise and get your name out. There’s a direct response to it. It’s been a productive way to grow the business. It’s clearly the way people are shopping. Recently we have been investing in influencers.
BI: Where do you find inspiration?
Really, anywhere. Photography, art, trips I take. I could be taking a college tour in Charleston and I come across a home covered in wisteria and that inspires me to create a wisteria fragrance. Or I’ll be at an airport and pick up a book covered with beautiful ferns and the book is about an 18th century botanist, and that will inspire me to create something with ferns, moss and ivy.
BI: What recent release are you most proud of?
LS: We just launched a new fragrance called Cocoa Woods. It’s an empowering scent in the fine fragrance category. It’s warm on the inside, with essence of bitter-sweet chocolate wrapped in sequoia wood and sandalwood. It embodies the values and principles I hold important; good on the inside and strong on the outside. It’s an important milestone for the company. I was looking at my life and the challenges I’ve been faced with when I created this, so this release is more of an emotional experience.It’s about reaching goals, persistence, determination, and self-esteem.
BI: What’s next for the company?
LS: The goal over the next several years is to present the brand holistically under one roof. Home fragrance, fine fragrance and a new category launching soon will all live together in department stores and specialty stores nationwide. Also on the horizon is our very own retail store, which I am tremendously excited about!