Bath & Body Works

Elevating a mall brand to a fragrance experience

My Role:

Retail and Experiential Design, 3D Rendering, Strategy

Overview

Opportunity

How could the perception be elevated to reach new audiences?

Problem

Bath & Body Works is a kitschy mall brand that seems cheap.

Solution

Own the experience of scent by curating in-store experiences that engage customers. 

Right now, Bath & Body Works is the epitome of a mall brand

Think about your last visit to this store. You went to the mall with a mission in mind: Williams-Sonoma, H&M, maybe even a warm pretzel. When you see Bath & Body you decide to stop in, because of course they’re always having a sale. It’s unattractive, with the cluttered bins for easy grab and go access. The products are Kitschy and cheap, mostly use for last minute gifts. Truly, over half of the products are novelty and unnecessary like the seasonal “Pumpkin Frost” and “Witch Please”. Malls are declining, so how do we elevate Bath & Body Works and save it from extinction?

Going from “Mall” to “Modern” by owning scent

Many brands sell fragrances, but none own the experience of scent. People are shopping with a scent in mind, not a product. So why does Bath & Body Works currently separate their products by type? Currently, guests must first find the type of scented product they’d like, whether it’s candles or lotion, then sift through the selection for their desired scent. 

Moving forward, we designed for the Emerging Smoodie. You’ve heard of a foodie, so what’s a smoodie? We’ve defined this as someone who is interested in being more apt at curating the scents that enhance their life. Emerging Smoodies are 21-35 year old young-professionals that desire wellness benefits in almost every purchase. They’re attracted to the mental and physical benefits of scents.

Founded on Fragrance

To elevate Bath & Body Works, first the name must change. Certainly not completely, but enough to dissociate the brand from its current state. Ultimately, we would like to change the name to “Works”, but for a small first step, we chose to keep the “Bath & Body” and emphasize the word Works. “Bath & Body” would be phased out in the years to come.

 

Next, we changed the brand guide. The color palette was changed to more natural and earthy colors. This way, when the packaging’s color is changed to highlight the scent, it won’t clash with Works’ colors. 

Upon entry, seasonal scents will greet you. We recognize that seasonal scents are popular among our customers so we wanted to keep them, but make them classier. Now instead of “Toasted Marshmallow Bark” in the winter you will find simple fragrances like “Peppermint” and “Christmas Tree”.

 

Excitingly, in the middle of the store, we now have the Build-It Bar. Here, guests can work with staff to make their own custom perfumes and lotions. Check-out is still at the back of the store, but on iPads.

In the store, we’ve condensed the merchandise to six Founding Fragrances along the walls. These fragrances were polled and rose to the top of the collection as fan favorites. Each scent has its own shelf section with its candles, lotions, diffusers, perfumes/colognes and soaps all in the same place. Also, instead of one big nasty sink in the center of the store, each section will have it own sink for testing. All scents not found in store will be housed in "The Vault" on the Works website. 

Staff are now considered masters in their field. Employees at Works are divided into “Aromachologists” that help at the Build-It Bar, or “Perfume Pros” that assist on the floor.

After a purchase is made, guests will leave with a scented Works bag. This way, scents are tested for a longer period of time and can fill up a customer’s car or bedroom to keep the memory of the store experience fresh. 

A Whole New Look

Packaging has matured. Instead of labels with crude drawings and glitter, Works now has clean monochromatic labels. Store signage also will be aids to customers with fun facts and tips for best practices in scent therapy.

To extend Bath & Body’s already successful Aromatherapy line, we’ve added a CBD collection. Just like the soothing benefits of the Stress Relief and Sleep lotions in the Aromatherapy line, the CBD collection offers anxiety and pain relief, acne reduction and even the alleviation of cancer-related symptoms. 

Fragrance Ads Don't Make Any Scents!

That’s why it’s hard to trust an ad for a fragrance. Works will advertise before the launch of its store redesign by putting scratch & sniff stickers in notable high traffic areas. Passersby will be able to breathe in the fragrances and follow #SomethingsInTheAir to receive more information about the Works rebrand. 

 

We all know that subways are not the best smelling places in the world by far. “(Ride to) Works” would be a subway campaign that fully brands a few subway cars with specific Works scents. The outside of the cars would have heavy branding so that pedestrians would know what they’re about to step into. Many people have asthma or other breathing issues, so we want people to have the option to not partake in this instead of being bombarded by fragrance. The inside of the car would have copy about the relaxation of scent and Works branding. 

 

These stunts would subsequently gain media attention and end up on social media/news channels.

Scratch & Sniff

(Ride to) Works

Moving on Up...

I've always been interested in retail design, it's one of the things that led me to experience design. As much as I've thought about creating storefronts, I've never considered designing the whole store. This case study gave me the opportunity to learn about sight lines and store traffic. I hope I get more opportunities like this in my future, I enjoyed creating something that had a functional and practical use. 

The Team

Chris Bates, Creative Brand Manager

Davis Rhodes, Strategist

Claire Baffoe, Art Director

Sophie Lichtman, Copywriter