Superb | Twenty-eight-year-old Blake Hare said his palms were sweating and his mind was racing as he paced back-and-forth inside his girlfriend’s house last June.
He was fretting over whether he should drop his cologne brand on the world, or whether he should wait because he didn’t know how it would be received, or whether it even would sell, especially during a pandemic.
Moments later, Hare said he took one look over at his newborn son and then began typing these words on his phone into an Instagram post: “The name matches the bottle and the smell compliments the luxury of the name, Superb.” He pressed share and before he knew it, the post had been re-shared over 100 times.
His inspiration, he said: Black men were in desperate need of something to rebuild their self-confidence. And he knew he had a jewel to help.
The next day was Father’s Day, and Hare said he sold bottles of Superb from noon until 3 a.m. Monday morning.
“My phone blew up all day” he said. “I was riding with one of my homeboys, pulling up on people that wanted to purchase a bottle. I even had to double back to some people because they wanted more.”
Superb is a Black-owned, luxury men’s fragrance made up of a top note of cinnamon, mixed with patchouli leaf, orange blossom, myrrh and a wooden oriental tone. Its main purpose, Hare said, is redefining luxury. And, for Hare, luxury equals confidence.
“When a man dresses good and smells good, it always makes us more confident,” he said.
Growing up, the Detroit native said he always loved smelling good. People always complimented him on how he smelled and he never forgot. In fact, that was one thing he said that built his confidence as a man.
After Hare graduated from Western Michigan University in 2016, he said he wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do. But he knew he wanted to be able to give back to his community, the youths and help build Black men up in any way that he could. So, in 2017, Hare said he begin, little by little, designing a fragrance that would not only radiate in a room, but help the man wearing it radiate too.
It took him three years to get the line exactly like he wanted. But when he was ready to launch, the world was in the middle of a pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement was at its peak in the U.S. He wondered how he would even be able to get people’s attention in the midst of all of that. And that scared him, he said. But it also strengthened his resolve to push harder.
“We were in the wake of a crisis among Black people,” Hare said. “George Floyd had just been killed by a police officer and the world saw it, not to mention the many other Black men being gunned down in the streets like animals by police. And I knew that was breaking our confidence … and that was when I realized, I now have a Black son of my own and the time to start building his confidence is right now. So, I just made the post and the rest is history.”
And today, just a little over a year after Superb’s release, Hare is a full-time entrepreneur. He has sold over 500 bottles of the cologne. And besides the fragrance being available to order online — along with its matching scented candle — Superb bottles also currently sit on the shelves at the Detroit is the New Black store, in downtown Detroit.
Celebrities, including actor Nate Parker, and rappers Fabolous and Rick Ross, have been spotted with the fragrance and promoting the brand through their social media accounts. In February, Ross even posted a video to his Instagram account giving Hare props about the brand and how great it smells.
The 12-milliliter bottle, designed in the shape of a prism, with a dropper at the top in place of where a spray top would be, retails for $100. But it is now just the first of its kind for the Superb line: Superb II currently is in the making, Hare says. First, though, the larger size of the original version will drop in September, along with its sister scent: Superb for Her.
“I’m going to help us rebuild our confidence one bottle at a time.”
Jasmin Barmore is born and raised in the city of Detroit. She covers the city’s neighborhoods and communities using her passion as her drive to give the voiceless a voice. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending her a message on Instagram or Twitter at @bjasminmare.