Murcielago Makes A Splash in Western-Wear Markets & FFA
Names like Ralph Lauren and Estee Lauder may come to mind when considering popular fragrances for men and women.
But when a country man or woman leaves the farm for an appointment at the bank or a quick lunch, it’s often a fragrance from a Nebraska company that he or she splashes on.
Murcielago, a line of fragrances manufactured in two small Nebraska towns since 2004, is gaining popularity across the nation and has recently helped Nebraska FFA students launch two new fragrances and learn valuable business lessons.
Michelle Caspersen started Murcielago Inc. in her hometown of Alma in 2004 with her nephew. At the time, Michelle owned Kitchen and Bath Unlimited so she had some business knowledge and offered to help her young, motivated nephew.
They partnered with Professional Bull Riders (PBR) to create four fragrances: 8 Seconds, Black and Blue and PBR Gold men’s colognes and PBR Tenacious perfume for women. They worked with a chemist in Manhattan, NY, and bottled the cologne in Michelle’s hometown of Alma. After their contact ended with PBR, they kept the fragrances and renamed them to Nashville, Nashville Blue and DB Nashville men’s colognes and Starlet perfume.
Fifteen years later, Michelle continues to bottle fragrances in Alma and has a second location where she now lives in Boelus. She gave up the kitchen and bath business to focus full time on Murcielago (named after the Lamborghini) and has developed several other fragrances, including another women’s perfume Donna Jean, named after her mom. Her newest fragrance, Colt Ford, launched in the past 14 months in partnership with country music singer Colt Ford.
About two years ago, five girls from the FFA chapter in Ord approached Michelle about partnering on their supervised agricultural experience project. They wanted to make their own fragrances. At first, Michelle wasn’t confident that the girls would want to proceed once they knew how much effort it would take. She conducted a professional business meeting with them, and they didn’t back away.
The girls’ advisor agreed they could tackle the project, and they received permission from the national FFA after explaining how the fragrance business is ag-related (commercial growers produce the lavender, oak moss, sandalwood and other ingredients used to make fragrances).
Michelle worked closely with the girls teaching them everything about the fragrance business, and the girls followed through. They created two fragrances: the 1969 perfume for women, named after the first year girls were allowed in FFA, and the Nashville Blue cologne for men.
The girls displayed and sold the fragrances at the National FFA Convention, and the products are now available as a fund-raising project for any FFA chapter in the country. The fragrances are an ideal fund-raiser because they don’t have an expiration date.
The GROW Nebraska Difference
Besides Michelle, Murcielago employs two full-time sales reps and some part-time staff (friends and family) to keep production rolling at the Alma location.
Michelle said she joined GROW Nebraska about four years ago, and it was a great decision for her business.
“They really contribute a lot,” she said of the GROW staff. “It’s really good for someone who has a start-up and hasn’t gone through the growing pains. They just have access to a lot of information. How to market. How to produce. How to sell retail or wholesale. They help you find the answer to your questions.”
Michelle sells her Murcielago fragrances through GROW’s Buy Nebraska, eBay and Amazon sites.
“They (GROW) really work well with you to put you where you are a good fit,” Michelle said. “Fragrance sales were fantastic for us online.”
Michelle also had success selling her fragrances at the Nebraska State Fair GROW pop-up store.
“The state fair was fun because I think it surprises people to find a fragrance made in Nebraska,” Michelle said.
Quality Product, Great Customer Service
Besides GROW Nebraska, Michelle’s fragrances are sold in popular western stores like Cavender’s, and she makes it a priority to offer small “mom and pop stores” the chance to sell her fragrances by allowing small-batch sales.
“That has paid off because we have loyal customers,” Michelle said. “They know we are doing everything we can do to work them to help them offer a beauty and accessory line in their stores.”
Michelle said Murcielago fragrances are popular because of the quality oils that are used and the long-lasting scents.
“We use good products, something that will stay on longer,” Michelle said. “People feel like they get their money’s worth out of our fragrance.”
Murcielago fragrances are GROW Nebraska’s featured member this month. All Murcielago products (and other bath and body products) are 20 percent off at the Buy Nebraska store at 421 W. Talmadge in Kearney and online at BuyNebraska.com , Ebay and Amazon