On Tuesday, Nest debuted a product collaboration with travel photographer Gray Malin. It’s made up of three candles with his artwork on the packaging. This latest DTC launch from the 13-year-old luxury home fragrance brand meant to underscore the company as a lifestyle and wellness brand. Items from the collection, including a reed diffuser and three-wick candle, sell for $48-$280.
In January, Nest launched its first collection of wellness-focused fragrances (with a wild mint and eucalyptus scent). It followed that up in April, with a second collection that included a Bellocq Tea Set, an exfoliating bar soap and a three-wick candle. Laura Slatkin, Nest founder, said the sales for the wellness launch outperformed Nest’s previous big launch, in March 2020, by approximately 800%. Wild mint and eucalyptus is currently a top-three best-selling fragrance for the company.
Also in April, Nest debuted five perfume oils at Sephora and on its own e-commerce website. They’re concentrated fragrances that act as an eau de parfum, but can also be added to moisturizers or used directly on the body. Slatkin anticipates that perfume oil sales will double Nest’s fine fragrance business over the next 12-18 months. Nest has long intended to expand its category offerings to transform into a lifestyle brand, but the crux of achieving that evolution came down to determining what wellness and lifestyle meant for its fine fragrance focus, said Slatkin.
“Perfume oils allowed us to nourish and moisturize the skin, which we never had [done] before. Fragrances were always about spraying it on and running out the door, but now we can luxuriate in the application of perfume oil,” she said. “Oils allow you to take care of yourself and spend time with yourself while enjoying the fragrance.”
As a Sephora-exclusive product, Nest is relying heavily on Sephora sales representatives to educate new customers on its perfume oils. Nest has also offered deluxe samplings through Sephora’s e-commerce site pre-launch to gain reviews. In addition, the brand was included in a perfume booklet direct mailing campaign from Sephora in April. Nest has posted video content on Instagram, TikTok and its own e-commerce site focused on how fragrances impact mood, wellbeing and memory. This approach will be similarly adopted for its Gray Malin collaboration.
According to Maria Dempsey, Nest CEO, Nest was well-prepared as the pandemic hit the U.S. On April 1, 2020, Nest relaunched its e-commerce website, which included improved photo assets, and added ratings, reviews and videos on product pages. The company also changed its tagline from “Welcome to wonderful” to “From our Nest to your nest.” In 2020, over 50% of the brand’s sales were direct-to-consumer, Dempsey said.
Nest’s sales performance is in line with other home fragrance players. In its first-quarter 2021 sales report, NPD Group noted that a major takeaway for prestige beauty from the previous year was the consumer’s shift to self-care at home. In the quarter, fragrance sales grew by 45% year-over-year to $953 million, with candles seeing triple-digit growth.
As Nest moves forward with its launches, the aim is to introduce itself to new customers. Dempsey said the Gray Malin collection would assist in introducing Nest to younger customers. Currently, Nest’s core customers are women who are 35-years-old and older. However, Sephora customers are 35-years-old and younger, she said. Malin, known for his joyous and colorful photos, has 443,000 Instagram followers and his own line of home decor objects and small accessories.
“When we decided to collaborate with Gray Malin, we wanted to help modernize the brand, reach a different audience and transport our customers differently,” Dempsey said. “[This] past year, consumers needed comfort and care; the home became a sanctuary, and we’ve been able to provide that to our consumers.”