Divya Gugnani Launches Perfume With ‘Self-Expression’ At Its Heart

Divya Gugnan, the veteran entrepreneur and investor has developed a fragrance brand with five products.

The investor and serial entrepreneur — she also cofounded Wander Beauty — has developed a new brand of fragrances called 5 Sens. Based on the idea of democratizing luxury fragrance collections, the eaux de parfums are priced at $65 for 30-ml. Each comes in a 10-ml travel size as well, priced at $29. It launches this month direct-to-consumer on the brand’s website.

From her purview across different sectors of the industry, Gugnani posited that fragrance was the last remaining category in beauty ripe for a shake-up. “The beauty market has been disrupted in hair, in skin, in color. Fragrance hasn’t been disrupted — it is dominated by luxury fashion houses and a few small indie brands,” she said. “I am self-expressing every moment, my mood is changing, my life is changing, and with the ultimate self expression in fashion and beauty, I wanted to progress to basically putting my mood in a bottle.”

The brand is also a reaction to post-pandemic consumer behaviors. As self-expression became a key driver of fragrance purchases, Gugnani hope to tap into that emotionality with 5 Sens’ brand ethos.

“The real power behind it is the self-expression — today, everyone is expressing themselves via fashion, via what they wear, their accessories, their beauty and makeup.”

To that end, the five fragrances feature names like Life of the Party, Catch Feelings, Burn for You, Lit and Twin Flame, and they’re meant to represent a full wardrobe for wearers to choose base on their mood and the occasion.

“There’s a very limited universe that’s clean, and most of the clean fragrances don’t have longevity. I was struggling to be able to use fragrance and have enough options for me,” she said.

According to recent data from the NPD Group, fragrance grew 11 percent to $1.3 billion in the third quarter. Though Gugnani didn’t comment on sales, industry sources expect the brand to reach between $3 million and $5 million in its first year on the market.

Gugnani started ideating the brand after she met a friend’s mother in Paris who changed her scents throughout the day. “She smelled amazing, and then later on, she smelled totally different, but still amazing. It was all a reflection of her mood, her appearance, and her identity in that moment. I want an entire generation of people to express themselves — [5 Sens] is all about capturing your ever-changing essence,” she said.

The brand is targeting consumers across millennial and Gen Z cohorts, Gugnani said, which also played into the brand’s purpose-driven initiatives. The products are vegan, Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free and follow a no-list of 10 ingredients. The packaging consists of glass, wood and post-consumer recycled plastic. 5 Sens will also donate a percentage of profits to Bring Change to Mind’s High School program, which focuses on eliminating stigmas around mental illness in high schools. The brand is also pledging $25,000 to the Oceanic Society’s global ocean cleanup efforts.

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