The Scent of My Personal Brand

I preach to students all the time about the importance of establishing their own personal brand. It is crucial to build a digital footprint, establish consistent social media channels, and maintain a distinguishing in-person presence.

That is right, we can do more than hide behind our Twitter account to make others take note of us. When we have interactions with people, it is important to do what we can to reinforce who we are.

People use various “trademarks” or “calling cards” to make them stand out. It could be a watch, it could be a hair style, it could be constant gum chewing. Some folks have a toothpick dangling out of their mouths at all times. Some insist on wearing a cowboy hat. Some would never be caught dead not wearing a suit. These “accessories” all become part of that individual’s personal brand. Keep in mind I am saying all of this to try and justify one of my quirks…

There is something that I have worn every single day since I was 12. Each morning after I step out of the shower and get dressed I pull it out of my gym bag and give myself a quick spray. As it starts to dry on the front of my neck and the familiar scent reaches my nose, I know I am ready for the day.

I have worn the same cologne for almost 18 years. One Christmas, my grandma gave me a cologne kit from a department store that had four different scents in it. Made especially for teenage boys who wanted to feel cool by wearing cologne, you can probably guess the quality of the contents.

Mainly because of the name and the blue bottle, I started wearing a scent in the kit by Liz Claiborne called Candies. I wore it through the rest of middle school. A couple girls actually told me I smelled nice so I used it all the way through high school as well. Hey, the $20 price tag for a .5 fl oz bottle every six months wasn’t going to break my next to nothing budget.

This is the cologne I have worn practically my whole life.

This is the cologne I have worn practically my whole life.

By the time I reached college I didn’t want to stray from what I knew. After all, the occasional compliments kept rolling in. Those first couple years I would get new bottles in the summer and then at Christmas. Just as in high school, my college friends started to associate me with the citrus and spice scent. But then it happened. Candies was discontinued.

I didn’t want to believe it at first. I think I told my mom it was the only thing I wanted for Christmas. She helplessly looked at probably every store in Spokane (bless her heart). It was time for me to realize that I would never purchase Candies over a physical counter again.

Here I am holding a nearly empty bottle of my cologne while sitting behind one of the boxes that was shipped to me.

Here I am holding a nearly empty bottle of my cologne while sitting behind one of the boxes that contained my cologne and a random keychain.

I was introduced to the world of online shopping because of my need for my scent. At first it was easy to buy Candies. There was some large cologne/perfume online overseas company that I was able to buy bottles from that lasted me a couple years. But soon they went dry as well.

For the past couple years it has been an absolute struggle for me to find my prize. I have gone back and forth between Amazon and eBay to find the last few remaining bottles in the world. I am a little selective…I won’t buy anything except for the .5 fl oz bottles. This has caused me to purchase these weird packages. The past couple times the only way I could get my desired bottle was if I bought it in this combo box that came with a keychain. Last night I found a new grouping on eBay. For $50 I am getting my .5 fl oz bottle but it will also be coming with Candies skin cream and Candies deodorant! By looking at this package online, I am guessing it was probably produced 15 years ago.

This is the Candies cologne package I bought last night.

This is the Candies cologne package I bought last night.

Of course the comedy in this situation is that I am putting so much effort into buying a below average, discontinued cologne that was made for teens. It is like I have never heard the words Dolce & Gabbana before. But I want to hold on as long as possible. I feel the Candies scent could really be called Brent Reser Cologne. People associate the smell with me and it really has become a small part of my personal brand. Until the final bottle on this planet has been used, I have every intention of not letting go. Don’t Blink.