How diverse are your products? Have you ever considered tinkering just a bit with them in order to produce a product that serves a much wider range of clients for an array of needs that it fulfills?
Consider these firms that are growing rapidly:
The media loves to scare us about the Zika virus. Even without malaria and other vicious diseases, mosquitoes swarm in the summertime. It is their prime time. They are non-discriminatory, raiding the blue bloods at their tony mansions just as much as the denizens of the inner city. However, the looming threat of Zika makes this mosquito season underlined with uncharacteristic anxiety. Cue the mad scramble for mosquito repellents.
As people slather and douse themselves with all manner of product, some more sophisticated types rely on perfumes that double as bug repellent. Yes, there are a number of such individuals who are enjoying the moment. And they’re considerably more sophisticated than the classic Avon Skin So Soft.
One of them, Coqui Coqui, the fragrance line of a group of Mexican boutique hotels of the same name, offers a citrusy mosquito repellent packaged in the same manner as its fancy perfumes ($12 for two ounces). It is sold out nearly everywhere.
At Aromaflage, a perfume-repellent hybrid line, Michael and Melissa Fensterstock, its husband-and-wife founders, have been fielding daily questions about the Zika virus through their customer service channels. “Our sales have doubled since last summer,” Mr. Fensterstock said.
The couple started the company in New Jersey in 2013 after traveling in Southeast Asia for their honeymoon. There they discovered that locals used essential-oil blends as repellents and thought to create a lab-refined version.
They now offer two scents at $65 for 1.7 ounces: the original, a zesty, active blend of orange peel oil, cedarwood oil and vanillin; and the Wild fragrance, which is more woodsy and features geranium oil, geraniol, lemongrass oil, cedarwood oil, citronellol and thyme.
The line has been largely marketed through luxury hotel chains. (At Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons properties in the Caribbean, orders were up 50 percent during the peak travel season earlier this year.) “The thought was, ‘Why can’t we launch something that was beautiful and efficacious?’” Ms. Fensterstock said.
But when it comes to efficacy, most essential oils can do only so much, said Dr. Dendy Engelman, a dermatologist in Manhattan. She pointed to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommend only four mosquito-repelling ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus.
“I always tell my patients these are the ones that have the studies to back them up, with DEET generally thought as being the most effective,” Dr. Engelman said. Still, she said, a lot of her patients “bristle the second you mention anything chemical.”
For those who dislike a chemical odor, Jessica Richards, the founder of Shen Beauty in Brooklyn, has a savvy solution. She imports Mrs. White’s Unstung Hero Anti-Mosquito Eau de Cologne from London ($38 for 8.5 ounces), which contains IR3535 but smells like lemon tea. She has nearly doubled her usual order this season.
“We usually sell a ton of it anyway,” Ms. Richards said. “It smells great, it’s in pretty packaging, it works and people love that it’s British. But Zika is freaking everybody out. I have moms come in asking all sorts of questions and buying cases of 12.” That has made the Unstung Hero quite the hostess gift in the neighborhood, Ms. Richards said.
For die-hard anti-chemical clients, Dr. Engelman points to a natural option: a repellent with oil of lemon eucalyptus as its base. Some studies support the effectiveness of rosemary and peppermint as well. (Intelligent Nutrients Smart Armor Perfume Spray bug repellent contains both: $31 for 3.5 ounces.) And burning citronella candles can help clear an area, she said.
Should you travel to mosquito-rife territory, Dr. Engelman suggested a multilayered plan of attack. “If someone doesn’t want to put chemicals directly on their skin, I recommend insect-repellent clothing, which is infused with permethrin,” she said.
In general, mosquitoes are drawn to pulse points — the neck, wrists, ankles and behind the knees, she said. “Keep those areas covered with clothing or even a bandanna as much as you can.”
So, after reading all that, can you come up with new uses for your old products?