Marietta-based Arylessence has been creating sensory experiences for more than 40 years.
Our sense of smell is arguably our most powerful sense. Fragrances — both pleasant and unpleasant — can evoke memories or experiences long forgotten. For many, even just the thought of a certain scent can conjure remembrances of days past. In anatomical terms, upon detecting a smell, the olfactory neurons in the upper part of the nose generate an impulse that is passed to the brain along the olfactory nerve. The part of the brain this arrives at first is called the olfactory bulb, which processes the signal and then passes information about the smell to other areas closely connected to it, collectively known as the limbic system*.
For instance, you may smell some gardenias at a shop and remember running through a field of wildflowers as a child; or the aroma of fresh-baked cookies may bring up thoughts of making them with your mother or grandmother and arguing with your siblings about who got to lick the spoon. We may not realize we are doing it, but we often seek out these sensory experiences in our daily lives. That’s why we all have our preferred scented soaps and candles; it’s even why we have our favorite foods and beverages. Our senses of smell and taste are directly related.
“Sensory ingredients, particularly beautiful fragrances, attract and entice people to purchase products; strategically created fragrances move products from the shelf to the shopping cart,” says Cynthia Tanner Reichard, executive VP and director of client services, for Marietta-based Arylessence. “More importantly, these fragrances become part of a brand’s essential identity and turn customers into passionate, loyal fans. This loyalty is what creates leaders in a consumer product category. Arylessence has a successful history of helping our clients strategically capture market share with winning fragrances and flavors we design especially for their brands.”
Maybe you’ve never heard of Arylessence, but you’re more than likely a regular buyer of the products that the company helps to create. As one of the world’s leading fragrance and flavor companies, Arylessence manufactures custom fragrances and flavors for more than 1,500 products in the personal care, home fragrance, household, pharmaceutical, food & beverage, and industrial and institutional markets; serving clients daily across the globe.
Did the hand soap you used this morning have an invigorating fragrance? Arylessence may have created it. Did the cleaner you sprayed on your countertop to clean and refresh your kitchen have a fantastic ocean scent? Arylessence may have designed it. How about your mocha-flavored coffee or coconut bottled water? Arylessence may have developed the taste in it. And your favorite island breeze laundry detergent? Arylessence may have created its refreshing scent.
The private, family-owned company’s client list is a closely guarded secret, but everything from your favorite lip balm, body wash, lotion, scented household cleanser, packaged seasonings, flavored coffee, and pet shampoo could include a fragrance or flavor created by Arylessence. The firm’s motto is “We create amazing experiences.” Therefore, if the sensory ingredients Arylessence develops connect with today’s customer, then the company is helping their clients achieve success.
“By focusing all we do on creating amazing experiences, we act in partnership with our clients to drive their success,” says Cynthia. “We are laser-focused on how to help each client grow their brands and businesses by engaging and delighting people through strategic fragrance and flavor development. Our team of experts has in-depth knowledge of each client’s business, and we support their growth through industry-leading service, creativity, and technical innovation. It is this collaborative, client-centered approach that establishes our leadership in creating value for our partners.”
The worldwide market for this industry is valued at more than $27 billion, about $7 billion of which is generated in the United States. As a private company, Arylessence’s share of this market is not public information, but the firm appears to be doing quite well. Simply calling the company a leader in the fragrance and flavors industry may be under-selling it a bit. Arylessence has been in business for more than 40 years. It is the largest privately held fragrance and flavor company based solely in the United States. It has seen sales growth for 20 years straight, and has doubled its growth over the last six-year period.
Moreover, Arylessence recently spent more than $12 million to construct its new fragrance research and development center. According to Lori Miller Burns, director of marketing relations and communications, the center is a one-of-a-kind facility in Cobb County complete with state-of-the-art technical innovation laboratories; a multi-million-dollar, custom-designed air handling system; world-class sensory evaluation labs; unique energy efficiencies; and human health & wellness features. Overall, the company occupies 13.2 acres on Lake Drive, featuring 119,000 square feet of manufacturing, office, and R&D facilities.
Lee Tanner founded Arylessence in 1977 after working for an Atlanta-based cleaning product manufacturer. He even managed to snag his former employer as a customer — and they still are. Today, Cynthia and her brother, Bret Tanner, share leadership responsibilities with their father, Steve Tanner, who is the brother of the company’s founder and current chairman, president, and CEO. As executive VP, Cynthia heads perfumery, evaluation, marketing, client relations, and customer service. As VP of operations, Bret manages finance and administration, systems and infrastructure, production, human resources, and regulatory affairs. Both have worked for Arylessence for more than 20 years.
“Our mission at Arylessence is to understand our clients’ brands [and the people who use them] to create opportunities with winning fragrances and flavors to help those brands achieve success — ultimately creating amazing experiences for consumers,” said Bret.
“Our perfumers and scent design team create custom fragrances for each client’s product type, brand category, target market, and brand growth objectives,” added Steve. “With a partnership approach to success, Arylessence works closely with our clients’ product development teams to strategically and thoughtfully establish successful products with a unique sensory point of difference.”
The firm credits its sustained success to its employees, calling them the heartbeat of the company. “We are proud to employ a diverse team dedicated to contributing to a collaborative culture that promotes professional growth, job satisfaction, camaraderie, fulfilling work, and shared success,” Bret said.
“I could not be prouder of our people,” added Steve. “What excites me is that everyone in our company is involved in our success. We achieve business growth because we help everyone work together — collaboration and teamwork are central to our culture.”
Community involvement is another key ingredient to Arylessence’s continued success. For example, the company has established a foundation to support children and families dealing with autism and other chronic health conditions. The firm has been a participant in Cobb County Partners in Education for nearly 20 years. It is a member of the Northeast Cobb Business Association and the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. In fact, Steve served on the Cobb Chamber Board of Directors from 2013 to 2017 and was chair of government relations in 2015. Similarly, Cynthia is a current member of the Cobb Chamber Board of Directors, a member of the Strategic Planning Task Force, and recipient of The Cobb Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Award (January 2018).
Perhaps the final key ingredient to the company’s success is its ability to help its clients stay on trend. For many reasons, the popularity of certain fragrances and flavors ebbs and flows. Arylessence has a knack for identifying key trend opportunities in multiple product categories. “A fragrance is a trend-driven ingredient and, at the same time, there are classic fragrances and fragrance categories that consumers have come to love and expect in certain products,” says Steve. “For example, fragrance types everyone associates with the smell of a fresh and clean kitchen are herbals and citrus blends. … Arylessence perfumers and scent designers thoughtfully craft new and exciting fragrance formulas, combining fresh and creative ingredients that help to establish our clients as trend leaders in their product categories. [Our] creative teams also are masters at developing the perfect ‘classics with a twist’ that every brand needs in a product offering.”
*fifthsense.org.uk. Fifth Sense is a charity for people affected by smell and taste disorders.