The next time you get into a car, think about how long that air freshener tree has been hanging from the rearview mirror. While most of us would like our cars to smell pleasant with our busy lives, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about securing and replacing air fresheners. This is precisely why DollarScent was created. DollarScent is the first monthly car freshener subscription service that delivers premium air fresheners for your car without ever leaving your home.
AlleyWatch chatted with Ben Omesi about the service and what prompted its founding.
Tell us about the product or service.
DollarScent is the world’s first monthly subscription service for premium car air fresheners.
How is it different?
With DollarScent, you no longer need to worry about having a 2-month old dry air freshener hanging in your car. More importantly, you no longer need to be embarrassed about hanging that old-school tree freshener like in your Grandma’s car. We’ve made the air freshener “sleek and sexy”; just like Axe made deodorant sexy. All of our branding includes cars like Rolls Royces, Lamborghinis, BMWs and other awesome sports cars. We want people, like yourself, to feel proud when you wrap our air freshener around your mirror as it creates an ecstatic aroma.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Our market is literally anyone who drives a car. According to a Statista report from 2014, there are over 260 million cars in the United States. Grand View Research reports that the car air freshener market will reach close to $1B in the next 5 years. Our main target is people aged between 16 to 45 years old that drive, with a key focus on smokers, people with pets, athletes, and Uber/Lyft drivers.
What is the business model?
Our business model is two-sided. The first side of the business is our subscription model, which follows the standard process where you select a monthly plan, pick the scents you want, and provide your shipping/payment details for us to fill your mailbox with joy. If you want to change your plan or scents, it’s as simple as logging into your account on our website and making the switch in under a minute. The second side of the business is selling our product at wholesale to car washes, car dealerships, gas stations, brick-and-mortar retailers, and online retailers like Amazon.
What inspired the business?
There are people that take exceptional care of their cars, the way they would treat their child or pets. You know… weekly car washes, cleaning the interior, never allowing food or drinks in the car and wiping every smudge on the windows. Meet Alex.
Then, there’s the other type of people who just don’t have that kind of time or patience to worry about their car religiously. These are the people who won’t pay a visit to the car wash much in the winter because it will get dirty in the snow anyway. Meet Elis.
Alex and Elis, two friends since childhood were always brainstorming about what kind of business they could start together. After many nights sitting in the car together pondering, Alex started yelling about how he couldn’t stand the stench of Elis’ soccer shoes in the back seat any longer. He told Elis how gross his car smelled and told him he was going to bring an air freshener with him every time he got in the car, and that’s when the idea sparked in their minds. Shortly after, they began building the world’s first subscription business for car air fresheners.
Who do you see as strategic partners that you would like to meet in the community?
We’d love to meet people from other successful subscription-box businesses that have had tremendous growth such as DollarShaveClub, Travel the World, Birchbox, Scentbird, etc. We’d also love to connect with investors and advisors that have experience in the automotive and/or subscription-box industry.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Our 6-month milestone for the business is to get to 1,000 monthly subscribers and land several wholesale deals with retailers. We’d also like to have a dramatic increase in brand exposure by that time.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Sometimes taking the cheapest route available could cost you significantly more time and money in the long run.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
The Scentbird team because they have exploded to hundreds of thousands of subscribers in a short time. They are selling to a very similar market as us since they are also a scent based subscription business and could potentially be a huge opportunity for cross-selling.
Why did you launch in New York?
We all live in New York, but apart from that, it’s home to one of the world’s largest concentration of smelly taxi cabs that need DollarScent air fresheners. New York City also happens to have some of the best start-up mentorship, business leaders, and opportunities for great exposure.
What’s your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to unwind?
Le Bain at The Standard Hotel