A Sweet Startup: Sweetbuds

Sweet Buds, or scented earring backs, came to Allan Nicholas in China. “The idea came about in a study abroad class in China through the QUEST program this past winter break. My team members and I were very excited about the project and we decided to pursue it outside of the classroom and make an actual company around the idea,” said Nicholas in an August 2013 interview with the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.

Sweet Buds is an earring back that releases perfume throughout the day to solve the problem of the perfume becoming weaker as time goes on. “Sweet Buds work when the user puts their earring on. The earring post punctures the back and ‘pops’ sealed fragrance inside of it,” says Nicholas. Users no longer have to re-scent themselves to keep smelling fresh throughout the day.

In 2013 Nicholas and Sweet Buds won a $1000 dollar grant from the Dingman Center and have used to file a provisional patent and to help finalize their design. Right now their biggest challenges have more to do with the actual perfume than the Sweet Buds design. “We are having problems with increasing the shelf life of the sealed fragrance within the Sweet Buds,” says Nicholas. Despite this they still are still confident that Sweet Buds will strike a chord with consumers.

Sweet Buds largest competitors are other companies that sell fragrance jewelry. These companies, however, make their jewelry with fragrance beads. Fragrance beads are permanent, but also more expensive. A niche for Sweet Buds exists in the current fragrance jewelry market. Sweet Buds hopes to appeal to consumers because of the existing nature of earring backs. Earring backs are easy to lose, so Sweet Buds can fill the need for a cheap replacement while offering some additional utility. “[The current] plan is to sell Sweet Buds direct to customers through an e-commerce platform but also hope to have a retail presence in department stores and boutiques,” says Nicholas.

Nicholas is very excited to continue working with Sweet Buds in the
future, “I love working with Sweet Buds and start-ups in general because the amount of effort you put into the project is directly correlated with the results you will see.”

Matt Henricks


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