Sunday, March 18, 2012

What Do Adam Levine and Selena Gomez Have in Common?

Pop singer and talent show coach Adam Levine hates the idea of celebrity fragrance.

[We already knew he was a hater.—Ed.]

He also thinks there’s a stigma attached to celebrity fragrance. So that means that when he does one it won’t be another celebrity cashing in, it will be a stigmatism-fighting act of courage.

[Like boycotting that fascist Mexican restaurant. Brave, brave, Adam Levine.—Ed.]

Levine explained to People his rationale for selling out:
“I kind of thought to myself, ‘Well I’m interested in fashion and there’s a lot of things about it that could be really cool if done properly,” he continues. “So I want to do a thing that’s never done properly [sic?]. That’s my goal.”
Such a modest young man. [Hear that sound? It’s Elizabeth Taylor turning over in her grave.—Ed.]

But back to our headline question. WWD’s Julie Naughton provides the quick answer:
Levine will launch his first fragrance project, a masterbrand called 222 by Adam Levine, in May 2013. He is working with ID Perfumes, a division of Adrenalina Inc., which also handles Selena Gomez’s fragrance license.
And what is Adrenalina? According to a July, 2011, press release on the Selena Gomez deal, the Florida-based company is “an extreme sports and adventure-themed lifestyle brand.”

That’s one way to put it. Another way is to call it a skateboard shop in La Jolla, California.
The Adrenalina retail store was established in 2004. It originated from an idea Zalman Lekach had (extreme sports athlete, creator, on-air host and producer of the Adrenalina TV show), which was to create an authentic extreme sports-based retail environment.
Wait. What’s that, Lassie? There’s a new Adrenalina SEC filing online? Go fetch!

Let’s take a look at the annual report filed by the company three days ago . . . for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2008!
We are required to file periodic quarterly and annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We have not filed any required reports since the quarter ended September 30, 2008. It is unlikely that we will become current with these filing requirements for at least one year or longer, if at all. Since we are not in compliance, the Securities and Exchange Commission may impose sanctions on both the Company and its management including the revocation of the Company’s registration statement. Should this happen, there will be no public market in the Company’s securities. Your ability to sell and/or transfer shares of our common stock will be extremely limited in which case you will lose the value of your entire investment.

But enough with these trivial report-filing technicalities. How is the extreme sports retail business going?
At December 31, 2008 we had three operating retail stores. After December 31, 2008, and as a result of the economic recession we had insufficient working capital for expansion. In addition, several of our prospective landlords/developers were unable to deliver the anticipated retail space and as of December 31, 2011 all of our retail expansion plans were curtailed and our retail stores were either closed or disposed of at various times through December 31, 2011.

So what does Adrenalina do now?
Our new business strategy is to manufacture, distribute, market, promote, and sell perfumes and related products licensed through celebrities, designers or lifestyle brands.

And who is heading this new business strategy? None other than Ilia Lekach, the guy crowned “Worst CEO of the Year” by the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, for his 2006 performance as CEO of Parlux Fragrances.

After his departure from Parlux not much was heard from Mr. Lekach until his Selena Gomez press release. OK, he made a ripple by finishing in the money at the 2011 WSOP. He ranked 312th in the tournament and took home $35,492. That’s more than his current salary at Adrenalina, according the company’s SEC report.

Assisting Ilia Lekach at Adrenalina is his son, company president Isaac Lekach. (Zalman Leakach, noted above, appears to be Isaac’s brother.)

What does the future hold for Adrenalina? Here is what the company says in its annual report:
We may be subject to shareholder lawsuits for failing to file required reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

. . . Even if we are successful in defending these actions, management will likely have to devote significant time and resources to these matters which in turn impact our ongoing operations.

We have a history of losses and losses are likely to continue in the future.

We have not generated sufficient revenues to cover our operating expenses. The launch of our new fragrances will involve significant start-up costs primarily attributable to marketing and advertising. Even if we successfully launch our fragrances, there can be no assurance that revenues will be sufficient to satisfy our ongoing operational requirements.

Our current financial condition has raised doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern.

If we are unable to obtain additional funding, we may have to reduce our business operations.
So to recap: What do Adam Levine and Selena Gomez have in common? They’ve licensed their celebuscents to an under-capitalized company with slim revenues that may not be able to stay in business long enough to market their products successfully.

It’s enough to make you feel sorry for Selena Gomez.

Adam Levine, not so much.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Back on the Radar with Marshall Heyman

Guess where this passage comes from:
When the piece of wood finally hit the ground, Ms. Teigen breathed a sigh of relief. “I’m truly exhausted,” she said. Then she hugged the lumberjacks.
Show of hands: how many guess 50 Shades of Grey?

Well you’re wrong!

Here’s a little more, to help with your second guess.
In fairness, Ms. Teigen had to saw the log in a tight black Herve Leger bandeau dress that accentuated her curves and a pair of 6-inch Prada heels. Not an easy feat, but the danger made it sexier.
Still puzzled? Don’t know what “saw the log” means?

That’s OK. In this context it actually means saw the log. And it’s the central image in an otherwise meandering account of an Old Spice Scent Event by someone we haven’t heard from in a long time—Rupert’s Sad Clown, a.k.a. Marshall Heyman, the WSJ’s resident fluffster and social diarist.

Mr. Heyman mingles with a NY Giants wide receiver, a pair of champion crosscutters, and a SI swimsuit model, but manages to make it sound boring. He also misspells the sponsor’s name as Proctor & Gamble.

This is no longer your father’s WSJ . . .

Monday, March 12, 2012

ISDP: Tales of the Southern Woods

We don’t usually do ISDP from abroad, but this episode in Australia was too strange and sad to ignore. Reports of a “foul smell” led to the remains of a 22-year-old woman from Redlands, California, which were found 30 feet up in an oak tree in a suburb of Sydney.
Danyane Bowing, 35, who lived next door to the tree, said she thought the woman may have walked through her garden around New Year’s Eve and climbed her fence into the tree.

‘I’m no expert on decomposing bodies in summer time,’ she told the
Sydney Morning Herald. ‘But when I went out around the start of the New Year I remember thinking something smelled dead.’
Always trust your nose, Ms. Bowing.

This reminds us of a story from graduate school told by a herpetologist who spent his summers at a field site near Big Bend National Park. One night a student from a nearby study site went missing. Everyone spent days searching for him, but with no luck. The following year, as the professor’s team was hiking along a canyon trail, an old boot dropped to the ground. Looking up into the tree from which it fell, they saw the remains of the missing student. He had evidently fallen from a switchback higher up on the trail.

From Florida, a state particularly rife with ISDP episodes, comes this report by Austin L. Miller, a staff writer for The body of what is believed to be a 41-year-old man missing since Christmas was found after a local doctor investigated a lingering foul odor.
Dr. John Williams, owner of Williams Chiropractic, whose business is next to the wooded area, told a Star-Banner reporter that he thought the stench was due to trash from a nearby dumpster. Williams said he asked city officials to clean the dumpster, which they did. But he continued smelling the odor.

On Thursday, Williams said he decided to walk over to the woods to investigate. Seeing the body, he said he called 911, at which point he stopped a police officer who he saw driving past the area.
The circumstances point to a suicide.

Always trust your nose, Dr. Williams.

The very next day, Austin L. Miller filed this report from Citra, Florida, a town about 17 miles north of Ocala:
Authorities said an employee at Oak Lane Farm at 3676 W. County Road 318 was repairing a fence on the property when he smelled a foul odor and walked toward the scent. The worker saw what appeared to be human remains. He retreated and called the Sheriff’s Office.
The remains are those of a male, and police are treating the death as suspicious.

If there were a First Nerve prize for investigative ISDP journalism, Austin L. Miller would be our first nominee. [The PeeEuuLitzer Prize?—Ed.] [He has a nose for news.]

The next story comes from Georgia, where the body of a missing 25-year-old man was discovered in a well. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
A bad odor led a man to discover the body in a well in Oglethorpe County, east of Athens, on Monday morning, GBI spokesman John Bankhead told the AJC.

“He looked in and saw what he thought was a boot or shoe,” Bankhead said. The man called sheriff’s deputies, who later informed the GBI of the discovery.
Autopsy results indicate the deceased man had been shot to death before being dropped into the well.

That telltale smell also led police to the body of a homeless man in Covington, Georgia:
A 60-year-old man was found dead in his tent in the woods behind the Checkers restaurant Wednesday morning after an anonymous caller reported a foul smell coming from a blue tent in the area.
Our last entry is also the only one from north of the Mason-Dixon Line. In Mount Vernon, Ohio, a man
was discovered deceased on the floor of his apartment at 10 Walnut St. after another resident had called authorities advising a foul odor in the duplex. Mount Vernon Police and Fire department personnel responded to the scene, and with the assistance of the property manager, entered the room and discovered the body.
We’ll have to comb the archives to be sure, but our impression is that apartment managers are right up there with police officers in bearing the brunt of ISDP discoveries.

Only Your True Friends . . .

. . . will tell you that you’ve got spinach stuck in your teeth.

FN reader Elizabeth tells me there have been connectivity issues with the blog the past couple of weeks.

I thought it was just my browser.

I’m tweaking Blogger and DNS settings and hope to have it fixed soon.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Preferred Fragrances Powers Up

We last wrote about Apra International LLC two years ago, when the unheralded outfit won a Beauty Biz Award from WWD for their budget-based launch of a fragrance by smellebrity wannabe Jordin Sparks. It amused us that the beauty industry applauded Ezriel Polatsek as CEO of Apra International, but repeatedly sued him for copyright infringement as owner of Preferred Fragrances Inc.

In November 2011, Ezriel Polatsek and his Beauty Biz Award popped up again in a press release about an investment in Preferred Fragrances, and its affiliate Apra International, by private equity firm Uni-World Capital. The deal installs former Liz Claiborne executive Glenn Palmer as CEO, and leaves company founder Polatsek as president with “a significant ownership stake,” and tasked to “drive sales and new product initiatives for the company.”

According to Uni-World Capital’s managing partner, “Preferred is at an inflection point in its growth trajectory where we believe with the proper capitalization and additions to the management team, we can help take the business to the next level of success.”

Excellent! More “designer-inspired” fragrances. Perhaps more lawsuits—and definitely more money to fight them.

Meanwhile, reporter Jessica Dinapoli with the Times Herald-Record in upstate New York files a story on Preferred Fragrances’s recent move to new, more spacious, digs in the town of Newburgh. We learn a bit more about Ezriel Polatsek.
He and his wife, Sara, started Preferred Fragrance in 2000 and grew it to about $38 million to $40 million in annual sales before the Uni-World Capital deal.
Polatsek is now aiming for $100 million in sales annually. Dinapoli ends with a pair of telling quotes:
Polatsek declined to share his “secret sauce” — the blend of oils, scents and alcohol that compose a fragrance — that helps keep production and retail costs low.

But, Palmer said, the formula has to do with getting the “top notes” — the first smell of perfume — correct.
In reality, it’s about getting the top notes and only the top notes correct. Most knock-off fragrances fall apart within minutes.

Let’s see if the Preferred Fragrances business model lasts beyond the financial top note stage.

It’s a Smellebrity Tweet-Off


Promotion for Adam Levine’s upcoming fragrance launch gets him a slap on the back of the head from Christina Aguilera (Christina Aguilera, By Night, Royal Desire, Secret Potion).

What do you suppose she will tweet if he advertises it on Fox?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Madonna: Truth or Royalties

“Madonna’s Fragrance Truth or Dare Sets a New Trend in Celebrity Scent.” That’s the grabber headline from the UK’s Grazia Daily. It’s anchored by this quote from Mark Tranter, the fragrance and beauty buyer at Selfridges:
“The new generation of celebrity fragrance seem to have very specific launch strategies, with strong marketing campaigns and a focus on the scent itself rather than just the celebrity.”
Yeah, if you say so, pal.

So what does it smell like?
innocent girly florals and heady, sexy vanilla and caramelized amber notes.
That sounds like the suburban tween to sixteen market. But according to Frangrantica, “the fragrance is for women from 25 to 45, with the group of 35-45 as the primary aim.”

Makes sense, since Madonna herself is 53. But why are the marketers gunning for the Aspirational Menopausal demographic using Just Hit Puberty fragrance notes?

[You’re sounding a little bitchy.—Ed.] [Hey, Jessica Misener at the HuffPo got there first.]

Guess we’ll just have to wait and sniff.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Does This Condom Make Me Smell Slutty?

Good grief. Canadian sex-advice columnist Sasha provides the . . . uh . . . low-down.

P.S. Just a thought, but another solution is for correspondent Pretty Pony to exercise some restraint in filling her social calendar.

P.P.S. Should Mr. Two actually detect the tell-tale scent, what are the odds he will be (a) surprised, or (b) offended?

P.P.P.S. If Mr. Two takes offense, doesn’t that make him a priggish, uptight jerk? In which case, why would Pretty Pony be interested in what he thinks?