Bond no. 9 was founded in 2003 by Laurice Rahme, and features perfumes inspired by various New York City neighborhoods. Ms. Rahme was born in Paris but has lived in New York for over 25 years. She was formerly the president of Creed USA, and has also worked for Annick Goutal and Lancome. Bond's next fragrance, Bleecker Street, is scheduled for release on November 1st.
Bond no. 9 has been on a mission to capture the essence of New York City’s neighborhoods in fragrance. While this has been done elsewhere on a much smaller scale (Yves Saint Laurent’s Rive Gauche, for instance), it is an unusual basis for an entire line. What inspired you to take this approach, and did people initially think you were crazy?
After September 11, I wanted to do something for New York, my adopted city. (My birthplace is Paris). Inspired by the French perfumery of the 20th century, who developed dozens of scents for different neighborhoods (Jardin de Bagatelle; Champs Elysees; 24, Faubourg; etc). People did not think we were crazy. On the contrary they gave us a list of neighborhoods they would like and we are trying to trademark many of them.
Bond no. 9 has released more than 20 scents since 2003. This strikes me as a rather bold strategy, especially given that many feel that the market for fragrance is already over-saturated. How you do you account for your success?
The market that's saturated is the one of the mega brands. The one of the niche brands to which we belong to is very small and is growing rapidly with less than 10 companies worldwide. I don't think we have too much competition. We have the unique story of being the only New York niche in fragrances and this is what accounts for our success. The success of New York City.
What is Bond no. 9’s biggest selling perfume, and which is your own personal favorite?
Bond has 10 best selling fragrances in the US, which are divided among the following: Eau de New York, Wall Street, Chinatown, Nuits de Noho, Chelsea Flowers, Park Avenue, Chez Bond, Little Italy, So New York, and Riverside Drive.
My personal favorite is the one we're working on right now which is West Side Stories. [Note: West Side Stories is currently slated to be released in fall 2006]
Of the neighborhoods you have covered so far, which was the hardest to conceptualize as a fragrance?
The most difficult one to conceptualize is Chinatown because of the new and the old, the traditional and the far forward customers, etc.
Your next fragrance, Bleecker Street, is due for launch in November, and has notes of violet leaf, cassis, thyme, jasmine, cedarwood, cinnamon, oakmoss, suede, patchouli, amber and vanilla. What aspects of the Bleecker Street experience were your inspiration for this fragrance, and can you describe the person you think the scent will appeal to?
Bleecker Street was easy. All we had to do was observe what happened to that street in the last 2 years. The fashion taking over the art was the inspiration for Bleecker Street for both the packaging and the scent. Bleecker Street will appeal to both men and women since it's a shared fragrance.
Tomorrow: Bond no. 9 Eau de New York