When it comes to fragrances, we’re accustomed to the Diors, Chanels and Marc Jacobs of the world. Sadly, these scents—however great—don’t reflect much diversity in the industry. However, with the recent uptick in interest to buy from more BIack-owned businesses, we’re seeing more brands emerge or finally get the shine they deserve. While these brands currently make up a small percentage of the $3 billion fragrance industry, we hope this will change in years to come. So, whether you’re in the market for a new scent or ready to gift a snazzy eau de toilette to a friend, here are Nine Black-owned fragrance brands making strong flagrant statements in the perfume industry.
After experiencing a skin reaction from her favorite fragrance, self-taught perfumer Chavalia Dunlap-Mwamba founded Pink MahogHany, which focuses on gentle and light perfumes for sensitive skin. The mix of feminine, masculine and gender-neutral options leaves reviewers expressing their love for the scents themselves, but most importantly, their skin-friendly formulas are free from ingredients that can cause irritation (i.e. phthalates and alcohols).
Artist Chris Classic was working on a collaboration for his first fragrance line when it fell through the cracks. Despite the many obstacles he faced (and being ghosted by his work partner), he still launched Savoir Faire in 2017. Whether you’re grabbing “Sin Santo & Sage” or “The Whiskey Rose,” expect each unisex bottle to pack a memorable punch.
Perfumer Oswald Paré created Motif Olfactif in 2019 after immersing himself in the world of fragrances for years. Whether it was smelling fragrances at the mall or learning about the community through YouTube, Paré took careful note of everything before making some of his own scents. Inspired by his memories, family and experiences, each bottle features a unique story and is placed in a chic bottle that’ll catch your eye.
4Kimberly New York
With a background in luxury fragrance retail, owner Kimberly Walker never saw herself represented in the industry she worked in for ten years. She decided to learn about the science behind fragrance and eventually created a signature scent, Artsy, which is now the brand’s top seller. For six years, Kimberly New York has launched nine men’s and women’s eau de parfums. Whether its “Diaspora’s” sweet blend of Fuji apple and rosé champagne or “Ether’s” smoky mahogany embers and cloves, there’s a scent for everyone.
While working at the front desk of a luxury condo, founder Darryl X. Simpson II noticed how fragrance boosted the confidence of the residents he interacted with. Soon after, he began developing a business plan for his own luxury brand. Inspired by his mother’s nickname for him (she was also responsible for introducing him to fragrance), Zavies was born. The brand offers both feminine and masculine picks that include a blend of citrus and musk notes. The bold and colorful bottles make it a staple (and statement piece) on our dressers.
At a young age, CEO Marilyn Jones lost her mother and the only memory she had left was her scent. This led Jones to create fragrances that hold special meanings for people and elevate one’s personal scent through light, sweet and soft notes (like jasmine, honeysuckle and amber). Bfragranced encourages your scent and accessories to “be the epitome of who you are, without saying much at all.”
Inspired by his travels, Chris Collins combined his love of luxury and fragrance to launch his own brand in 2018. His collections are designed to provoke feelings of attraction, adventure and freedom, while nodding to his time spent in cities like New York and Paris. From exploring the dark side of seduction with the Dark Romance Collection (filled with rich notes of cinnamon, cacao and vanilla) or stepping back in time with the Renaissance Collection (filled with nostalgic notes of cognac, rose and cedarwood), Chris Collins evokes an emotional experience with every scent he creates.
8Ovation For Men
Ovation For Men’s motto is clear: to provide a fragrance that brings out “the confidence, style and attitude of today’s influential men of color.” Founders Shawn Crenshaw, FadeIf Jackson and Cecil Cross used their love of luxury fragrances to create a distinct scent that was previously not found. Their signature fragrance includes a blend of citrus and woodsy notes like bergamot, cashmere woods and cardamom.
9Maya Njie Perfumes
While still attending college, Maya Njie experimented with scent as a creative outlet. She soon became fascinated with connecting scents to past memories. Njie then sought to capture scents based on her family history, which included her Scandinavian roots and Gambian heritage. After years of testing and teaching herself about the perfume world, she launched Maya Njie Perfumes. Every scent in the line features an intricate blend of essential oils (like ylang ylang and patchouli) and synthetic substitutes (like musk and ambergris). Combined with the bottle’s designs and names, each fragrance holds a close connection to her background.