Episode 9: Commodity

Build Slow for the Long Haul, with Commodity’s Vicken Arslanian



About the Episode

The story begins with a text message. While sitting at the beach, Vicken hears that Commodity has shut down and is looking for a new owner. It’s 2019, and by then, the company had made its mark on the industry as the first direct-to-consumer fragrance brand. Launching with a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2013, it more than doubled its goal, became Sephora’s rising star, and just as quickly as it grew, Commodity found its future hanging in the balance. Vicken decides to buy the brand, and with decades of experience as a fragrance distributor, turns it around.

In this episode, he sits down with Benny Campa, who runs product design at Scentbird. He explores how the art of perfumery can be more intuitive – an innovative idea inspired by skin scents – and why he doesn’t believe in what he calls the “Oprah effect.”


• Leading Europerfumes and representing 20+ artisanal brands as a distributor
• First becoming aware of Commodity (and why Vicken felt a bit envious)
• The text message, while at the beach, that leads Vicken to buy Commodity
• A look into the world of a fragrance distributor
• The first thing Vicken did after taking over the brand
• The tipping point for fragrance brands and what led to Commodity’s decline
• Losing $1.5M and failing with his first fragrance brand in the late 90s
• Why selling a fragrance feels like a Las Vegas experience
• What Vicken cared about the most when rebooting Commodity
• The story behind Scent Space, a first in the fragrance industry
• Rethinking traditional terms like “Eau de Toilette” or “Eau de Parfum”
• Giving consumers choice in their scent projection: Personal, Expressive, Bold
• How Commodity formulates different versions of each fragrance
• Scent Spotlight: Paper, Milk, and Book
• All Commodity fragrances combine two or more opposing notes
• The fragrance that smells like toasted marshmallows
• Scent Connection: Life Moments Edition
• Why Vicken believes in building slowly vs. quickly

Featured Fragrances

Paper- Personal by Commodity
Paper+ Bold by Commodity
Milk- Personal by Commodity
Milk Expressive by Commodity
Milk+ Bold by Commodity
Book- Personal by Commodity
Book Expressive by Commodity
Book+ Bold by Commodity

Key Mentions

Ash Huzenlaub

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