Phlur: The new fragrance brand with socially conscious appeal

Eric Korman believes the cologne industry should start taking ethical responsibility.

Phlur is spearheading a new approach to fragrance design and manufacturing. The burgeoning brand’s name is derived from the French word for flower, united with the chemistry scale of pH. Founded by former president of Ralph Lauren, Eric Korman, Phlur’s range of scents is made of synthetic and sustainable compositions as opposed to the widely overused Sandalwood tree (which is in danger of dying out at the hands of the cosmetics industries).

Breaking away from the traditional materials, Phlur fragrances are made up of the resin naturally produced by Styrax trees. The brand has also introduced Indian bunchgrass or vetiver to the repertoire of Madagascan shrub farmers, creating a totally new revenue stream for them.

Phlur products are packaged in minimalist white designs and light-resistant glass (which protects the fragrance from destructive rays, boosting longevity). The bottles are made of 20 percent recycled glass.

Phlur scents are gender-neutral as Korman aims to move away from the fragrance convention of sex-assignation. The collection consists of Hanami, Moab, Olmsted & Vaux, Greylocke, Hepcat and Siano. Some of these fragrances are naturally muskier or sweeter than others so the choice is left to the consumer’s preference.

The Texas-based brand has a give-back program as part of its sales strategy. For every bottle that is sold, $5 is donated to an ecological fund. If you buy Phlur’s Olmsted & Vaux fragrance, the donation goes to the Central Park Conservancy of New York. All other fragrances benefit the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Korman decries the fragrance industry’s over-reliance on sex appeal to sell products. He believes that social consciousness should play a larger role in this field and that consumers will respond positively to it. Speaking to Business Insider, Korman described this view.

"I think if you're ... a modern consumer, that message doesn't resonate," Korman said, "They don't want to be objectified, they want to be spoken to and connected with, and they want to be shown how fragrance can actually play a part of your entire existence and not just one part of it."

More on Design Thinking