Niki Taylor, L&T 'Begin' Fragrance Launch
NEW YORK Even with Manhattan experiencing the eighth straight day of flooding rains, the weather outside didn't wash out supermodel Niki Taylor's fragrance debut inside Lord & Taylor Friday. She appeared at the retailer's flagship to promote her first fragrance, Begin by Niki Taylor, which is being produced by Victory International.

Taylor signed fragrance bottles and photographs of herself for about 250 people, ranging from teenage girls to middle-aged men. While neither Taylor nor Lord & Taylor would comment on sales done at the appearance, industry sources estimated that the appearance had generated about $10,000 in retail sales.

"Two years ago, my management asked me, 'Do you want to retire, do you want to continue working, being the face for someone else, or own your own thing?' I had always wanted to own my own thing, be the businesswoman," Taylor said in an interview after the appearance. "I am a perfume junkie, so a fragrance was the logical next step."

Taylor and Victory worked on the fragrance for more than a year, eventually ending up with what Taylor describes as an "orange Creamsicle" of a fragrance, with citrus and vanilla notes. "We brought in a professional sniffer toward the end because I kept changing my mind," she said with a laugh.

Taylor's not stopping with one scent, either. She's currently working on a second women's fragrance and a men's scent, both of which are expected to be released in 2006. She's especially excited about the latter. "I love men's fragrances for women," said Taylor, naming Carolina Herrera's men's scent and Dior's Fahrenheit, among others, as her favorites.

Taylor recently became a retailer herself, opening a boutique, Abbie & Jesse's, in Nashville this past July. The name comes from two Maltese dogs hers, and her manager's. "We were going to name it Lou and Niki's, but it just didn't sound right," she said with a laugh.

"We've brought L.A. fashion to Nashville," continued Taylor, adding that the store is very denim-heavy "I'm a jeans girl," she said with brands including Joe's Jeans, True Religion and Yanuk. "I love going to market every three months and writing up our purchase orders, and seeing what's in and up and coming. We carry a lot of hip designers from L.A. nothing high-end or anything [as well as] accessories and bags." She also stocks plenty of T-shirts and tank tops, as well as flip-flops in fact, Taylor said she wouldn't have minded wearing flip-flops to her Lord & Taylor appearance. "My feet are killing me," she explained with a smile, pointing to her Saks Fifth Avenue stilettos. "Although they are the most comfortable heels I own."

Eventually, Taylor said, she hopes to expand the Abbie & Jessie's concept to other U.S. cities. "I want to open a store in Florida, and I am opening a men's location in Nashville next year," she said.

Speaking of the rest of the U.S., while some find whistle-stops trying, Taylor isn't one of them. "It's so great to get out and meet people," said Taylor, whose cross-country travels promoting her fragrance are taking her everywhere from Los Angeles to "towns so small you need three planes to get to them," 60 cities in all.

But she doesn't mind.

"This [fragrance] is my baby," she said. "I'm not coming out with an album, or a movie. I've got to sell it this is all me."
Julie Naughton

Click here to see the bottle: