Sam Cheow, who spent about 15 years with L'Oréal, the world's biggest beauty company, is going small.
Cheow is launching Necessary Luxury, a "micro brand" that produces small batches of high-end aromatherapy products, available online only. Right now, the brand has three blends — Feel Good, a multisensory body oil, $111, as well as So F-cking Lit and So F-cking High, which are both $88 "mind-set mists."
The idea is to create something that's in demand, but also to offer wellness benefits through fragrance, Cheow said.
"When you go the aromatherapy route for fragrances, you can still get a very complex, very luxurious fragrance, but you're also getting the well-being benefits from the essential oils that are blended into that formula," he said.
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If the weather gets to you… tap into aromatherapy to shift your mood and wellbeing. I take my #FeelGood multi sensory blend with me wherever and whenever I need a pick me up! Tried and tested over a year. This is the most lightest, weightless, rapid absorbing, skin oil infused with the most precious and powerful, skin and mood loving essential oils. A drop of this amazing feeling oil can simply mind shift your mood. Made with: 1. Lavender Highland from France ?? 2. Vetiver from Madagascar ?? 3. Frankincense from Somalia ??4. Rose Geranium from South Africa ?? 5. Chamomile Roman from England ??????? 6. Cannabis Sativa from the USA ?? 7. Jojoba from the USA 8. MCT (medium chain triglyceride) Coconut Oil from Singapore ?? Zero synthetic fragrance. 100% natural. #essentialoil #essentialoils #aromatherapy #aromatics #wellbeing #journaling #necessaryluxury #selfcare #selflove #inhaleexhale #skin #body #face #skincare #balancing #beautyoil #lightweight #weightless #hydration #nourish #spiritual #love #scent #perfume #perfumes #likeforlikes
Feel Good, for example, contains lavender, vetiver, frankincense, rose geranium, chamomile roman, cannabis sativa and jojoba oils. The product is multipurpose — users are encouraged to warm in between palms and inhale the fragrance before distributing it as a face oil, body oil, pre-shave treatment, beard oil or hair oil.
The mind-set mists have specific purposes as well. So F-cking Lit, for example, is meant to provide users with a feeling of cheer, warmth and focus, while So F-cking High is meant to make users "feel good," Cheow said.
"I know it's a little bit in-your-face to use the words 'F-cking High,'" Cheow said. "The reason why I am quite forceful with some of the names is because I wanted to encourage authenticity and interaction with my customers."
Necessary Luxury launches at a time when consumers are increasingly looking for personalized products, and as the lines between beauty and wellness are disintegrating. CBD, one of the ingredients Cheow focuses on, is gaining mainstream acceptance in the beauty and wellness communities. In addition to running Necessary Luxury, Cheow has started a position as chief innovation and product officer at Global Cannabinoids Inc., which produces and wholesales hemp-derived cannabinoids.
Cheow, formerly L'Oréal USA's chief product accelerator, vice president of trends, reverse innovation and incubation for skin, hair, makeup, men's and alternative retail métier, and senior vice president of product development for L'Oréal-owned NYX, is a licensed aromatherapist who has been making small batches of blends for years.
That small-batch mentality will be carried through Necessary Luxury, which he is planning to be an artisanal line.
"People's taste develops very quickly, and people do move on from one season to another like fashion," Cheow said. "I want to ensure that whatever I'm creating uses the best and most precious ingredients that are highly sought-after that will be really relevant at that particular point in time. The reason why they are smaller in quantity is because from a financial perspective, this is manageable, but I also wanted to ensure that not everyone else can have the same fragrance."
In his New York apartment building, for example, he frequently finds numerous neighbors wearing Chanel No.5 or Marc Jacobs Daisy.
"In the world we're living in, we're talking about diversity, we're talking about individuality. Fragrance and scent is something you can really own and stand out. That's why I wanted to launch a micro brand that focuses on small-batch quantities… will come and go — it's not about scalability."
Cheow's product lineup will include a range of fragrances, skin-care, body-care and ingestible products like CBD gummy bears, as well as potentially a CBD tincture, he said. "Emo-dotes" — emotional antidotes — are also in the works, he said.
The emo-dote blends are meant to help people who are looking for an alternative to self medicating. "I want someone to be able to reach out to an emo-dote if feeling unsettled or have travel anxiety. I want them to reach out to one particular blend to offset the anxiety they're having, as opposed to taking a pill," Cheow said.
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