How Chicago Grew Its Own Fragrance

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\"TruThe Second City has racked up something novel. For the first time, the city has come together to fulfill a mission of sustainability, urban beautification, and economic development through creating flower gardens specifically for use in a fine fragrance.

Tru Blooms is a fragrance initiative designed to transform Chicagoland’s green spaces into growing spaces, and cultivating flowers that are harvested and bottled into a limited edition perfume.

Capitalizing on the trends of urban farming, locally-grown produce, and the overall “farm-to-table” vibe, Tru Fragrance, based in Willowbrook (just west of Chicago), and with offices in New York and Denver, saw an opportunity to do something completely different in the perfume space.

The brand DNA was not only based on the flowers grown locally in the Windy City, but it was also infused with an artisanal touch, and defined by community and purpose. Over 60 people have been trained and employed to plant and maintain more than three acres of flowers located across the city, ranging from the high profile and highly trafficked Grant Park, to many of the small neighborhoods that Chicago is known for.

Tru Blooms is a brand based on community gardening with a perfume evoking an olfactive image of a fountain cascading with overgrown with roses. Our goal is to produce a scent that is as authentic as the spirit of the community of gardeners.

So what’s the backstory for this ongoing project?

We all know that consumers crave new, innovative and compelling brands. But often that is not enough. To be successful, brands need ever-deeper relationships, ever-deeper meanings, and need to be connected to a larger purpose. There are no shortcuts in the endeavor to create great brands –- purpose and compelling product must combine to resonate authentically with customers.

Interesting too is the concept of private risk capital invested in the hopes of creating a blockbuster product benefiting an entire community. So imagine the impact of creating colorful flower gardens, well tended by amateur gardeners, each of whom benefits individually from training and compensation for their efforts. So many public initiatives create infrastructure, such as parks and community spaces, with one-time grants or with only initial funding to build an infrastructure that ultimately falls into disrepair because there is no annual income to support it.

Tru Blooms has a different model. Think of it as the ultimate crowdsourcing. Tru Blooms produces an annual revenue stream from the work of our consumers. These proceeds are then invested back into future crops of flowers making good, efficient and sustainable use of public infrastructure. In its second harvest in 2013, and with an eye to many more harvests, Tru Blooms has expanded its number of gardens, hired more people, and has grown its distribution. Tru Blooms has been a commercial success that weaves a real sense of community spirit into the brand. But even better, the profits have had the power to create real sustainability in an urban beautification project that pleases local residents and has a unique, pleasing product. For more background on Tru Blooms, connect through:



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