Cold Process Soap Recipes / August 5, 2019

My five best selling fragrances

These are my 5 best selling fragrances of all time. Fragrances are funny! You never know if a fragrance will be a hit with your customers and so it often seems like you’re doing a lot of guesswork when it comes to fragrance choices. They aren’t cheap either, so the guesswork may cost you!

Fragrance and Memory

The whole thing is made so much more complicated if you are buying fragrance oils online, like I am and have to rely on descriptions and imagination. Over the years I have noticed certain trends which I can share with you. There is no guarantee though that people in your space will respond in the same way.

Have you noticed that when it comes to fragrance, people judge them on their specific memories and reference points?  So something that smells very exotic and mysterious to you may evoke the worst childhood memories in another person.

The National Geographic Smell Survey

In 1986, The National Geographic Society did a smell survey, using their magazines. They provided scented samples on small square tabs. I remember taking part in this survey as a teenager. It was described as “the largest scratch and sniff test in the history of mankind”. There were some really interesting findings, some of them perhaps we knew already like: Women are more likely to have a more acute sense of smell than men (No surprise there). There were however, other interesting discoveries in the survey:

  1. Smokers are more sensitive to some odors.
  2. “Pregnant women are poorer at smelling than their non pregnant counterparts” (huh?)
  3. It was also interesting to note that “many Americans are odor the the smell of musk and the smell of sweat.”

The sense of smell is a much more complicated dimension of the human personality than we give it credit for. Here we are trying to gauge what people in our  neck of the woods would love when they take a whiff of our handmade soaps, lotions, scrubs etc.

So I present to you my five best sellers across time. I have also given the application (or the product) in which the fragrance was used. I have noticed that this is another important consideration. What customers love in a candle, they do not necessarily love in soaps or body butters.


My Top 5 Sellers

Fragrances are not listed in any particular order.

  1. Acai Berry and Mangosteen: Product: Lotion. This is by far my best selling fragrance. Caribbean customers generally love berry fragrances, so you can try other berries as well, but Acai Berries and Mangosteen, which I purchase from SweetCakes is a more multi-dimensional fragrance than just a regular strawberry or blackberry. Look at the complex fragrance notes as described by Sweet cakes:  Fruity top notes of strawberry, peach, orange, melon, and mandarin sit atop a fruity-floral middle of freesia, lily of the valley, raspberry, and papaya. Deep sweet balsamic vanilla. It is not as popular in a handmade soap. Try this one as a stay on application. AMAZING! Check out the Berry Delight Candle Project where this fragrance was used>
  2. Oatmeal, Milk and Honey. Product: Handmade Soaps, Lotions, Body Butters. This fragrance is a steady seller usually continues to sell after the popularity of other fragrances has waned. Versions of this fragrance are very different. I love the Sweetcakes version of this, but the Brambleberry fragrance oil is quite good as well. This is a comforting fragrance with creamy vanilla notes, but it is a lot more complex than that.
  3. Pumpkin Spice: Candles. This fragrance oil comes in too many versions to count, but a pumpkin spice with  creamy notes rather than VERY spicy notes is recommended. Customers love this one in candles, especially at Christmas time when it seems to be warming and brings memories of family and good times. For me, although this fragrance is wildly popular in candles, it is not liked in a handmade soap or stay ons like body butters and lotions.
  4. Heavenly Honeysuckle: Body butters, Lotions, Candles, Body Oils, Body Sprays. This is am amazing all application fragrance oil that customers simply adore. Only brambleberry has this one. I’m not sure if it is called by another name elsewhere. Even if you are a honeysuckle hater, like I am, you will love this one.  The notes are: tuberose, nectarine, cherry, honeysuckle, jasmine, rose, sandalwood, and musk. It is an interpretation of Kim Kadashian’s Purple perfume. This accelerates trace in Cold Process so I have never used it there. Despite Brambleberry’s advice that it does not discolour, it will turn lotions and body butters a slight yellow. Customers are impressed by this fragrance. It is a top seller in candles for me.
  5. Brown Sugar and Guava. Lotions This is a fragrance blend that I did myself. The response to this fragrance was unexpected and amazing. Customers do respond to complex fragrance blends, although they don’t necessarily know what that is. I encourage you to create  signature blends by mixing different notes. Do your research first and make detailed notes so you can replicate the fragrance another time. You never know when you’ll have a winner.

Some other things I noted: Customers respond well to fragrance notes that they can recognise and although they may not be able to name the exact note, they purchase these faster than unfamiliar notes. For this reason citrus type fragrances also do quite well whereas, Oceanic spa type fragrances with unfamilar water notes are not popular in my experience.

Coffee and chocolate have been very unpredictable for me, although these are fragrances that I love. Feel free to comment below, sharing your observations with fragrance in your market.

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