BEVERLY HILLS, California — Ah, there's nothing like the sweet smell of success. That's what this bastion of ostentatious wealth wants you to believe – quite literally.
The City of Beverly Hills is launching its own line of perfumes this week as the first products in a long-term quest to turn the city's trademarked shield logo into a brand. You could call it, ahem, 9021-Eau.
"This is a center of fashion, sophistication, energy," said Mayor Jimmy Delshad. "We decided this was the right product for us."
The three fragrance set, developed by Swiss perfumiers specifically for the city, will be the initial products in a Beverly Hills beauty line that will roll out over the next year.
Beverly Hills being all about living la vida luxurious, items won't come Costco cheap. The perfumes will retail in department stores for $120 each, starting in January. To be launched later next year, a men's cologne will go for $75, while the hydration skin treatments will be priced from $50 to $100. Other cosmetics will follow.
The city, the local Chamber of Commerce and marketing firm Bradford Licensing will split royalty proceeds. While sales are anyone's guess, the city hopes to reap $500,000 over five years, said Dan Walsh, chief executive of the Chamber. The cash will fund the city and chamber's marketing budgets.
Branding consultants said they couldn't recall another city with its own beauty products, but of course not every city is Beverly Hills.
"When I think of Beverly Hills, I think of ground zero in conspicuous consumption lifestyle," said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, which studies the affluent consumer. "Every city has souvenirs, so for Beverly Hills, why not some perfume? It makes sense."
Sandwiched in the middle of Los Angeles' tony westside, Beverly Hills has long enjoyed fabled status as home to movie stars and magnates.
With palm-lined drives, mansion dotted canyons and a shopping-chic business district that caters to the uber-rich, it has been prominently featured not only as the backdrop in countless TV shows and movies, but in the titles of several, from "Beverly Hillbillies" to "Beverly Hills Cops." The TV show "90210" made the city ZIP code probably the nation's most recognized.
The city's name has also been previously linked to a perfume, Giorgio by design house Giorgio Beverly Hills, a popular seller in the 80s.
Delshad said that's why he started pushing the idea of licensing the municipal logo, featuring the city name on a brown shield with flourishes, when he was elected to the City Council eight years ago.
"Other people have used the brand for themselves. Why not us?" he said.
Typical takehome trinkets like key chains and mousepads, however, would not do. The city turned down many offers including branded glassware and dishware, always mindful of not only the product, but where it would be sold. Retailers like Target would not carry the city's panache, Delshad said.
Several small, one-time uses have been granted for local businesses, such as a Beverly Hills charm sold by a jeweler and an edible shield decoration for a cupcake shop, but nothing on a scale more apropos to the city's international breadth.
Three years ago, the council contracted Bradford Licensing to field the calls, and when JT Brands of Long Beach pitched perfumes and skin care, it seemed a good fit with the local penchant for vanity.
"Beverly Hills people usually use a tremendous amount of beauty products," Delshad said.
Geoffrey Thompson, managing director of JT Brands, said he thinks Beverly Hills is a natural brand. "Very few cities could do this," he said. "People have reverence for Beverly Hills. It captures the imagination of visitors from overseas."
The project has been two years in the making, delayed slightly by the recession, which also caused the retail prices to be lowered somewhat, Thompson said.
The company went to pains to ensure the scents are authentically Beverly Hills. Perfumiers used flowers grown in the city, including California species of wild rose, sweet pea, honeysuckle, peony and red cedar.
The three fragrances are designed to "evoke what life is like for the Beverly Hills woman," Thompson said. "Must Have" will be for the spontaneous, energetic day in the sunshine, "Rodeo" for the red-carpet evening, and "Iconic" for the sexy, soft, playfulness of the night.
The bottles, which are being kept under top-secret wraps until the official unveiling Tuesday, were designed by the architect of the city's cultural center, Zoltan Pali.
Mayor Delshad, who reported Iconic is his wife's favorite scent, said he's delighted his vision of a product worthy of the Beverly Hills panache will finally make it to store shelves and help promote the city.
"Forget about size for a minute. This is a world capital: New York, Paris, London, Beverly Hills," he said. "We really want to make a splash."