Take me through the origin of Commodity.
AH Konstantin and I established Commodity as a lifestyle brand in late 2014, and then we had our first retail launch in March of 2015. It went very well, much better than we could have anticipated, which led us to a year of rushing and running very fast to try to meet orders. It’s just continued to grow legs as a brand.
Your brand story references the desire to get away from sensory overload, and it kind of seems like other fragrance and beauty companies have followed suit.
AH As the ‘80s and ‘90s went into the 2000s, it was all about celebrity, gloss, and glitter, especially in fragrance. So imagine being a master perfumer that has spent twenty years perfecting your trade and you’re approached by some new marketing director of a brand who says to you, “We've already designed the packaging. Here’s the celebrity that’s going to go on the side of the box... and the latest trend reports say that citrus is hot this season, so you need to come up with a citrus scent... and you need to do it in 6 weeks because it’s got to ship by August for holiday sales.” Imagine that pressure to be creative.
That’s why Commodity is minimalist. This is a brand that’s centered around our sensibilities [and] not distracted by celebrity or glitzy packaging. We want you to focus on the actual product, the quality, and the hard work that those artisans put into it. These fragrances are not developed in a week.
We wanted to create a platform, Konstantin and I, where artisans—not just in fragrance but in any category — could come and create what they want, throwing trend reports out the window. We now have 11 master perfumers around the world, and they come back to us with their submissions.
A lot of current brands have a very “we started in our kitchen,” story. Your brand doesn’t, you’re a serial entrepreneur.
AH I think that Konstantin and I are authentic about where we come from... the fact we never worked in or understood the lifestyle beauty space before late 2014 when we visualized in a London cafe what Commodity could someday become. You have to dig into a brand's story. Many are created in a PR office. My grandmother did not teach me about fragrance. Konstantin did not dream of mixing skincare ingredients. Through investment, we inherited an early crowd-sourced concept for online fragrance that did not gain traction. Rather than write it off, we rolled our sleeves up, re-named and re-established "Commodity" as a lifestyle brand around our own sensibilities. We know what we like, we know what our wives and team members like when it comes to lifestyle products. We can visualize what we want to use and most importantly, we know we don't like to be sold a fabricated marketing story. We just want to create the greatest products. We feel the best way to do that is through collaboration with the best artisans we can recruit in any category we choose to go into. Our celebrities are our artisans. Their life story is inside every box and on our site. That is authentic. That is Commodity.