Running point for one of today’s rapidly growing brands. Ben Gorham Is the Creative Director and Founder of Byredo, a fragrance company founded in 2006.
Ben Gorham’s path to success is both intresting and unlikely. A native Swede with an Indian mother and a Canadian father. Gorham attended high school in New York and then went to business school in Toronto, before leaving to play basketball professionally in Europe.
What makes Ben story so interesting is that fact he was able to re-identify as someone other than a basketball player. Ben say,
“That was it, that was like my passion and my ambition, what I imagined myself doing for the rest of my life”.
Gorham loved basketball as a child, but never thought he would be a natural for the game.
“I was dead serious about it,” he says. Although he was a Swedish native, Gorham was unable to obtain a European passport. After a legal battle that lasted several years, he gave up the sport. “I thought, How long can I do this? It became about money and not the sport.”
Furthermore, after basketball was no longer in the picture. Ben stated:
“I was a pro athlete, and when that fell apart, I was forced to completely rethink and reinvent. A lot of my drive and entrepreneurship comes from that: having the only thing you know taken away from you.”
Side note – this is one of the best benefits of becoming an athlete…the mindset. It will be one of the guiding lights when you are fasted with adversity during your entrepreneurship endeavors.
After hoop dreams were no longer dreams, Ben attended art school. By chance and a little bit of luck, Ben met a fragrance director who introduced him to his next love. He was then connected with two perfumers Jerome and Olivia who help create Ben’s first fragrance Green.
Over the next two and a half years, Gorham created four more scents, and in 2006 he launched the Byredo collection—Green, Chembur, Pulp, Rose Noir, and Gypsy Water—in Paris. In 2008, he brought it to Barneys New York, and by the end of last year, it had become that store’s second-best-selling fragrance collection.
Most importantly, he added the brand name, Byredo, which stems from the Old English word redolence, meaning sweet smelling perfume. The packaging is minimal and tasteful— Capitalizing on story telling, Byredo was fresh, artistic coupled with personal curations. Focusing on specifies events, locations, and travel destinations today consumers can relate too. As result this brand stood out and is a dominate player in a. 39 million dollar market.
It’s a Marathon, not a Race.
Gorham credits Byredo’s early and prolonged success on pacing himself, with an eye on quality and meticulous brand-building.
“One of the best conscious decisions I made in the beginning was to grow the business slowly, to always consider the long game,” he says.
“Possibilities will always present themselves and most of the mistakes I observe in the market are based on short-term decisions. I aspire to brands like Hermès and a world of timeless luxury; that was a big part of the DNA I was trying to create. I was scared that if it peaked too fast it would become a moment — that was the opposite of what I was trying to create.”