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Beyoncé Knowles is aiming to light a much-needed fire under the beleaguered fragrance business this February with her first scent, Beyoncé Heat. Industry sources estimate it could do $100 million at retail globally in its first year on counter. At least half of that figure is expected to come from U.S. sales.
And the entertainer — who is up for 10 Grammys on Jan. 31 — is more than up for the challenge. She can’t wait to get her scent into the hands of her fans.
“I’m so happy with it,” she said during an exclusive interview with WWD. “I’ve been working on it for a while now. I was on tour for a year, and I have meet-and-greets with fans. I’ve never in my life gotten so many compliments. Coty has their own testing, but that was my testing! The fans loved it. They were like, ‘I love that, I’m getting that, why isn’t it out right now? I need it!” said Knowles with a laugh.
Her fans’ passion helped spark the development process. “What inspires me [both in music and product creation] is love, passion — something that makes me want to be better, to do more,” she said. “Knowing that I have people who look to me — because thank God I’ve had so many great opportunities — I don’t take it for granted. Young girls can see me, and think, ‘Wow. Maybe if I work hard and I’m focused, I can do the same thing.’ And they absolutely can. It’s not just about me being a singer. It’s about knowing that I have people who look at my life, and to know I can inspire them inspires me.”
For the fragrance’s name, Knowles drew from her past tours. “A lot of my performances have had fire involved, so we thought ‘Heat.’ Also, red is one of my favorite colors, as is gold,” she noted; both colors frame the bottle. “So then we thought of making the bottle look like it’s on fire. I love antique bottles — my mother had a collection of them when I was growing up. I wanted something with an antique yet modern feeling. Even with my wardrobe, I always try to find things that have a little bit of something vintage, yet still timeless and classic. The bottle, I felt, was a great mixture of the two.”
The juice, which Knowles concocted with Givaudan’s Claude Dir and Olivier Gillotin, has top notes of red vanilla orchid, magnolia, neroli and blush peach; a heart of honeysuckle nectar, almond macaroon and crème de musk, and a drydown of giant sequoia milkwood, tonka bean and amber.
“This was my first time starting from scratch, although I’ve worked with a few other fragrance projects,” said Knowles, who has also been the face of Tommy Hilfiger’s True Star and Giorgio Armani’s Diamonds. “Everything, from the bottle design to the name and the ideas for the commercials — that’s me. When I commit to something, I do it 100 percent, and I’ve never had [creative control over a fragrance] until this project. I learned a lot of great things from the past — but I always asked myself, ‘If I could have my own scent, what would it be?’ I wasn’t worried about deadlines. It could have taken me three, four, however many years — this was my first fragrance, and I wanted to make sure that it was something I would love forever.”
And there will definitely be more fragrances, said Stephen Mormoris, senior vice president, global marketing, at Coty Beauty, a division of Coty Inc., which holds Knowles’ scent license.
“We will explore all of the different sides of Beyoncé with future fragrances, but Beyoncé Heat is meant to be the enduring classic,” said Mormoris. “We think this scent will re-energize the celebrity category.” Mormoris declined to discuss how large a house of Beyoncé fragrances could be, although industry sources estimated a Knowles-branded fragrance collection could represent a $300 million market opportunity within a few years.
The Beyoncé Heat lineup includes eaux de parfum in three sizes — 1 oz. for $39; 1.7 oz. for $49, and 3.4 oz. for $59 — as well as a 6.8-oz. Gold Sparkling Body Lotion for $24.