An entrepreneurial "concierge for fragrance" says bespoke beauty is the future
Tempus discovers how Sniph is shaking up the fragrance world with a ‘matchmaking’ subscription service
As the demand for bespoke beauty grows, it’s clear that personalisation is the future. No surprise then, that emerging brands are taking note. One scent-sational example is Sniph, a fragrance discovery service set up by beauty entrepreneurs Tara Derakshan and Lisa Kjellqvist. Together, they have pioneered the concept of a ‘scent wardrobe,’ a subscription that provides fragrances tailored to every occasion. The idea, they tell Tempus, was inspired by the outdated notion of having just one ‘signature’ scent – a sales tactic favoured by leading brands – which they say is outdated.
“People now want fragrances dependent on different occasions and moods, but finding the right types is time-consuming," Derakshan tells Tempus. "Finding a new fragrance can be an overwhelming experience, so we have made it our mission to do the all the nose-work for you, sampling hundreds of artisanal scents from the best boutique perfume studios around the world, then selecting the ones we think you’ll like best.”
A troupe of eight curated collections formulated by beauty insiders – including ‘Trending Now’ ‘Clean’ and ‘Avant-Garde’ – are available to choose from, or more adventurous customers can take a quiz to find the scents best suited to them. Subscribers are then sent a new premium parfum each month – a convenient and contemporary solution to the problematic ‘one size fits all’ approach. Tempus speaks exclusively to Derakshan to discover the inspiration behind this intuitive new business.
Tara, how did you come up with the concept behind Sniph?
We launched Sniph two years ago in Sweden after realising there was no convenient way of buying perfume. We were frustrated by how you can change your outfits and hair depending on mood and occasion but not necessarily your scent. We wanted to offer the possibility to experience a wider variety of scents, especially those that are hard to find. Consider Sniph your concierge for fragrance. Each month we send you an 8ml bottle of carefully selected fragrance from a sought aftersought-after perfume house each month, creating a convenient and exciting way for people to discover amazing new perfumes. If you love your fragrance, you can order the full-sized bottle via our website.
What makes the fragrance industry so right for this kind of service?
We are both extremely passionate about fragrance, and knew we wanted to bring innovation to this area of the beauty industry – there are very little few concepts launching within the fragrance space, so we knew we could make a difference. Perfumes need some time on the skin, making it difficult to gauge which scent is a right fit for you straightaway, so our goal is to make this process as simple as possible. There is so much room for improvement in the realm of fragrance.
How do you believe you are disrupting this industry with Sniph?
There’s been a huge shift in the way consumers purchase products which has become more experience based – they want to learn more about the products they’re consuming and become a connoisseur in their own right. We take our members on a scent journey where they can discover new perfumes, but also learn what about the ingredients and where they come from. We’ve taken a traditional product and turned it into a service.
Talk me through the 'three types of fragrance' business model. How do you believe we can portray our personality through scent?
Scents affect us more than we could ever imagine, and that’s why the notion of having one signature scent no longer makes sense. We step into different roles throughout the day, signalling different sides ofto ourselves. I mean, who wants to smell the same at work as they do on a first date? Everyone should have at least three different perfumes. One that gives you confidence and makes you feel sexy, one that soothes and makes you feel happy, and one that lets you step outside of yourself for a little while. Ask the people you meet what they think about a scent on you and what it signals to the world. Fragrances are not just indispensable accessories, they also enhance your emotions on multiple levels – smell is our strongest sense after all. If you feel stressed, a quick spritz of your favourite perfume on a scarf will instantly make you feel calmer and happier.
What were the challenges in setting up your business model?
The process from idea to launch took approximately three months. We launched an MVP to test the interest, then had 100 members sign up within the first month. The feedback was amazing so we decided to go for it. The only way to discover new perfumes before Sniph was to go into a store and ask for samples, but that’s problematic because many consumers tend to stay within their comfort zone of familiar brands. We wanted to introduce you to scents you didn’t even know existed, in a product you’d be proud to carry with you, so the design aspect was a main priority for us. Sniph sends the perfect amount of product to last the full month, giving you enough time to decide whether you love the perfume. As with any start-up, we’re faced with new challenges every day. With fast growth comes change and we’ve had to learn to adapt pretty quickly. When a supplier was delayed a few weeks ago, all of our deliveries got delayed as a result which caused a huge amount of extra work on our customer service department. We pride ourselves on having the most personal service on the market so had to take it up a few levels then – all while maintaining our regular business operations. It takes a strong team to be able to step up and overdeliver on our business promise each day.
It's been an important year for women in business, do you feel having two women at the helm has impacted your business at all?
We need more female role models to pave the way in business, because it’s not always easy. We’ve certainly seen a shift in who is making an impact and there are now more women entrepreneurs than ever before which is such a positive movement. The world is finally starting to understand that there is major business potential in products and ideas that cater to half of the world’s population. We are proud to be running our own business and hope to inspire others to follow their dreams as a result.
Finally, what has been your most memorable business moment?
We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of people who our product. We recently opened our first physical showroom in Stockholm and it is so beautiful! That was definitely a highlight. As the interest in niche fragrance continues to grow, we are working hard to gain the trust as the go-to destination to discover the latest scents that fill your life with joy and confidence.