- August 28, 2012 |
“It may not be a man’s world, but it can smell like one.” That’s the ad line being tossed around by Berk Wasserman, Todd Durston, and John Bleeden, the three guys behind this high-end line of men’s “air care” now at Haberdash. One look at the highly designed packaging for Archer (combined with witty one-liners like the one above), and it’s not hard to guess that all three Chicago natives work in advertising/marketing.
As men and self-proclaimed “hyper-aware consumers,” they noticed a glaring hole in the home fragrance market – a market that is saturated with super-feminine scents and man-repelling packaging. And while there is a small segment of products geared toward man caves, the majority of these products tend to come across as a bit jokey. (If you wanted your apartment to smell like stale beer, a gym bag, or an ashtray, you could probably pull that off without the help of a scented candle.) Enter Archer: The first premium air freshener designed for men. “We want our line to represent a more epic and premium take on masculinity. Think 1970s Maserati.”
For their starting lineup, they landed on European Sports Car, Distillery, and Hunting Lodge. They decided that three would give the collection enough variety, and throughout development, they held onto a few simple principles. Good design is important. The scents must be clean. And the concepts should be rooted in masculinity. With that, most guys like whiskey. Most guys appreciate the outdoors. And, finally, most guys wouldn’t mind if a high-priced European sports car magically appeared in their garage.
european sports car. worn leather, excessive horsepower and a hint of after shave. bold, handsome and perhaps a little over confident at 140 mph.
hunting lodge. hearth stone, gun powder and damp timber. it smells just like it did 120 years ago, because it hasn’t changed in 120 years. other than the flat screen and microwave.
distillery. charred oak, sour mash, and enough bourbon to kill an elephant. warm and inviting, but what isn’t at 80 proof.
About the Products
They went through dozens of different scents during their search: coffee, cedar, oil, bourbon, tobacco… while simultaneously working towards overall concepts, e.g. hunting lodge. Sometimes the scents would inform the concept, and sometimes the concept would dictate the scents. For example, they always knew they wanted something leather-based, perhaps something like a saddle or a baseball glove… “Then we started smelling the leather with fuel, gasoline, and aftershave, and we realized that it smelled like the inside of an expensive, Italian sports car. We had the same sort of reaction to the combination for hunting lodge,” says Bleeden. “Damp timber and stones — this really clean, fresh smell… and it just felt like a hunting lodge.”
Perhaps the most notable aspect of Archer’s air care philosophy, however, is the method (a stark contrast from the candles and diffusers). “There’s something very visceral and masculine about the act of spraying a bottle,” says Wasserman. “It’s kind of a throwback.” And, of course, there’s a level of efficiency and manliness that you just can’t get out of lighting a scented candle.
“We wanted to go with something simple, modern and bold—but still masculine and tough,” says Durston, the designer of the group. “We ended up with a WD-40 style can that really goes in the face of the current category.” Over-designed, pastel-laden packaging are replaced with crisp white, black, and red cans and a sharp little archer as their logo.
They also wanted to create a product that would be functional and aesthetically pleasing as a home accessory: “If you had this out on a counter or on a shelf, it would look interesting. It adds to the atmosphere.”
On Being Green
So, the product looks cool and smells great. Anything else? “We’ve also made a very conscious effort to make sure the product is environmentally friendly. We worked with our manufacturer up in Wisconsin, and ended up with a product that is water-based and propelled by nitrogen.” Also, the steel WD-40 cans they use are highly recyclable, and feature a little Chicago pride right there on the can (see below).
They’re currently thinking about what their next two home sprays will be, in addition to another home product geared towards men. “Dish soap is something that still skews very feminine,” says Durston. “So, we’re in development on a new dish soap.” It’s all still in the works, but right now it looks like it’ll be called Dish Whiskey. Whiskey will inspire the scent, the bottle shape (a glass flask of sorts), and will probably give the consumer a sense of its efficacy, something pointed out by one of the guys’ neighbors. “It harkens back to the days of pouring whiskey on a gunshot wound,” they joke, “It’s going to burn everything off your dishes.”
Until then, we’d recommend coming in to give these home sprays a whiff. Haberdash is the first store to receive Archer home sprays. Stop by Haberdash and Haberdash EDC to pick up your favorite.