Kate 'Hearts' Bloggers
Last Wednesday, I had the chance to speak to Private Practice star Kate Walsh about her new fragrance, Boyfriend. She was so sincere, funny and down-to-earth; a real "girl's" girl.
Here's what we talked about...
Hey, it’s Kate. Sorry to keep you waiting. I just got off of work.
Hi. No problem!
I don’t know what you have or haven’t heard, but I came up with this idea several years ago. I think about six years ago to be exact. My boyfriend and I had broken up and I was in New York shopping and I missed him. I missed his fragrance, to be exact. So I went to the perfume counter. I was in Jeffrey’s in New York and I was like, “You know what? I’m just going to get a guy’s scent. Who cares? I don’t have to have a boyfriend to have this.” For some reason I felt some weird trepidation. I don’t know why. But I was like I don’t have to have a boyfriend to have a boyfriend scent.
And then a little bell went off and I was like, “Oh, cool. Wouldn’t that be a great idea for a fragrance?” And then I thought, “I’m not going to do anything because who needs another celebrity fragrance out there?” No disrespect to other celebs. I just wasn’t interested in that, but then the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. I would try men’s fragrances – a lot of girls wear men’s fragrances -- but they were too strong or too much. And then the story of it wouldn’t let me alone. I kept thinking of all the different ways to tell a boyfriend’s story and how everywhere I go – lunch, dinner, drinks, out, shopping -- women are always talking about their boyfriends or husbands and that was what was really inspiring to me. So two things: I couldn’t really find that scent I was thinking about that would give me that olfactive memory, and there was this story everybody could relate to.
I decided two years ago to embark on, not doing a licensing deal or a royalty deal, but making the company myself so I could be really hands on by (a) creating the fragrance and (b) designing the packaging and really coming up with the marketing campaign. Also, after I had campaigned for Obama a few years ago, I was very, obviously, I think everyone was pretty inspired by this sort of grassroots effort and what was happening virally to support and influence and inform the campaign. And I thought it would be kind of a great experiment to try to launch a brand solely digitally in terms of marketing. The creative part was also interesting to me. I didn’t want to go with a regular licensing deal because once you do that you’re just collecting the checks really. You don’t have much creative input or control. That’s a really long, rambling way to say how I started Boyfriend, but that’s where it all came from. So I started this crazy company and here we are.
Why did you want a to start a perfume line and when do you suggest wearing the scent because it’s a men’s cologne and women tend to wear something a little bit heavier in the evening. Would you wear it during the day as well?
Let’s see. The idea of Boyfriend was already in the zeitgeist. Women wear men’s watches. Oversized watches. They wear their boyfriend’s shirts. Their boyfriend’s jeans. It’s out there in the culture and in the consciousness. So for me it was embodying that same spirit. That feeling. What do you feel like when you’re wearing your boyfriend’s shirt? You feel safe, protected, sexy, small. I’m 5’9’’. I feel like I was born 5’9’’. I’ve never felt petite in my life. But you put on your boyfriend’s shirt or jeans and you feel tiny and sexy and awesome. It’s the same spirit with the fragrance.
I remember very distinctly my first boyfriend’s cologne, which was Polo Ralph Lauren, and going on a double date with him and a friend and her boyfriend from high school and then coming home and having that smell on us and going, “Oh my God, my shirt smells like him!” and having that crazy, giddy feeling. But also just that sense memory and how powerful that is. You smell somebody’s chocolate chip cookies and all of a sudden you’re transported back to your grandmother’s kitchen when you were a kid. It’s powerful in terms of the feelings it brings up and the storytelling that could come around it. That’s what really intrigued me. I love men’s scents. But when we were developing the fragrance I realized I really didn’t want to wear one as a steady diet. It was too much, too heavy. So when we were developing the fragrance we had this idea of having woody amber notes but we realized that, at the top, we wanted a floral. We put in the night-blooming jasmine and this juicy plum so it has a little juiciness that’s very sensual. You want to take a bite out of it.
Is there vanilla in it too?
Yes. There’s vanilla as well. And then it dries down to a little bit of the wood, amber and vanilla. Each component, like the dry body oil and the pulse point oil, is a little different. So they all layer really well together. The nice thing about it is that it’s not a huge, oppressive fragrance. It’s not a big fragrance that announces itself when it comes into the room. You smell it and go, “Ooh, what’s that?” It’s sort of edible. And because it has these different notes and it’s a move-in fragrance, it can layer really well with other fragrances. What I wanted was a scent of a guy left on his shirt -- a very worn-in, masculine scent. It’s got that perfect balance of masculine and feminine and that’s what we were striving for.
I love the promotional videos. They’re flirtatious and sexy and they tell a story. What kind of woman is this scent made for? What do you think the scent will give a woman or make her feel like?
In the beginning it’s this kind of romance about a guy and a girl and as the webimmercials progress it’s more about the memory of him -- whether she’s stood up or not. It was like, “OK. You know what? I’ve got my boyfriend in a box. It’s totally cool.” I wanted that feeling, whether a guy is in the picture or not. It was this spirit of “Wear the red dress.” When you get the train case it has a little note that says, “Wear the red dress. Love, Your Boyfriend.”