|Scent Trunk founder William Yin|
Scent Trunk is a monthly subscription service where users receive a variety of fragrances, curated to their tastes. Delivered monthly to their doorstep. Think Birchbox, except exclusively for fragrances. The company was founded in 2014 by William Yin and Richard Smale. Here is an interview with CEO William Yin. There is a draw after the interview, for a chance to win a free 3 month subscription to Scent Trunk.
Carlos: What inspired you to create Scent Trunk
William: It wasn’t until a colleague at the oil company I worked at, told me I smelled like her dad… since then, I vowed never to wear designer fragrances again. Because, who wants to smell like someone else? I went on a journey to find something unique. I discovered this wonderful world of niche/indie fragrances, which were like nothing I’ve ever smelled before.
Then, I started to try more, and stocked up on samples. I love samples because you didn’t have to commit to a full bottle. I turned the whole “one signature scent” thing on its head. We don’t wear the same clothes every day, so why wear the same scent? All of a sudden, I started to convince others that this was a more enjoyable, no, better way of wearing fragrances. That’s when I realized, there were a lot of people out there who enjoyed variety and hated committing to just one large bottle (because who finishes those anyway?). And just like clothing, there were a lot of people who liked curation. That’s when I had my ‘aha’ moment.
I quit my engineering job. Then, I called Rich, and within 10 minutes I got him to quit his engineering job to start a business with me (yes, we’re pretty good friends). We set out to create a fragrance box because we believe, that scent is the ultimate accessory of fashion. A box that’s about quality, not quantity. To this day, I still curate every box, to ensure that you have the best possible, scent discovery experience.
Carlos: How long have you been into fragrance? What was your first fragrance?
William: I have been into fragrance for about two years now, I’m not as experienced as some of you who are reading right now in fact! But I have learned a lot over these two years building this business. My first fragrance was some Adidas Sport EDT, I don’t know if I’m aloud to even utter those words on this blog. Sorry everyone, forget reading that.
Carlos: At what rate are your subscriptions growing?
William: We are growing a fair amount every month, but not as fast as our goal. Right now we’re trying to find ways to get the product in front of more people who care. It’s been nice to see the Scent Trunk community grow pretty organically. I have to thank my passionate subscribers for that. Whenever they tell one of their friends about us, it’s a huge helping hand for us.
Carlos: Are perfume companies eager to work with Scent Trunk?
William: They are becoming more and more eager to work with us every day. I remember when I first started, no one wanted to work with us. I was cold-calling brands every day trying to get our first couple partners. Fun fact, Billy Jealousy was our very first brand partner. Now that we are more established we’ve actually cut our low quality brands from our offering. Quality and value for our customers are really important for us.
Carlos: How many perfume companies are currently affiliated with Scent Trunk?
William: Currently we have over 50 companies that are affiliated with us. It’s exciting. We’re trying to grow this every week, although we are being much more selective with what we send out.
Carlos: How accurate is your scent profile in terms of what has been sent to subscribers? Has customer feedback been positive?
William: The Scent Profile is getting more and more accurate every day. This is something I’m really passionate about, because I have an engineering background. When we first built this, it was not very accurate to be honest. But every time we sent stuff out and got feedback we made improvements. We used data to improve its accuracy. We made a big change in January 2015, and all of a sudden it started working…really well. Like literally overnight. All of a sudden, customers were getting really happy. Ratings were really good. Growth sped up. People were telling their friends. It was a huge win for the team!
Carlos: How large is the Scent Trunk team?
William: The Scent Trunk team has 4 people. I’m the fume-head. Scott’s the smelly programmer. Sometimes I wonder whether he joined the team because he liked the idea or whether his wife told him to get some new fragrances. Richard is our operations guy, so if you have a late package, don’t hesitate to hold him accountable! Jolisa handles marketing, she’s the reason more people are enjoying this amazing product!
Carlos: Has any perfume company declined being a part of Scent Trunk?
William: Yes, when we started I would say 95% of the companies declined being a part of Scent Trunk. To be honest, I totally understand why. But now that we’ve really shown proof of our credibility, fragrance companies are much more willing to work with us! I think the reason they really enjoy working with us is because we genuinely care about them. We genuinely try to get their stories in the consumer’s hands and we try to establish an intimate relationship. I think that’s something most of the business world is missing.
Carlos: What percentage of your subscribers are male, and female?
William: 80% male. 20% female. Although we launched our female line not too long ago.
Carlos: Are you marketing to a particular age range?
William: Right now we haven’t done too much “marketing”. But I believe fragrance has no age (sounds cliché, I know). It’s unbelievable the spread in age for our subscribers. I guess people can develop a passion for scent at any age!
Carlos: Are there different Scent Trunk packages, or is it just a set amount of samples each month? How many samples come in a monthly box?
William: Each month you get three 2 ml samples. Some of our subscribers have asked for more samples per box. But a lot of our subscribers have asked for different product variations. So, we’ve been looking into oils, roll-ons, gear, and soaps. We talk to our customers a lot! If anyone reading has some ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out!
I hope you enjoyed this interview. Thanks to the generosity of William, we are offering a draw for a FREE 3 month subscription to Scent Trunk. To be eligible, leave a comment down below with what you liked or learned from this interview. One winner will be chosen by random.org in a week. So sorry, but you must have a US or Canadian address only to enter this draw. Good Luck!