Expert's Opinion

Reed Diffusers: Past Present and Future

By Mareike Finck, Chesapeake Bay Candle | March 23, 2010

Innovation must come first and foremost through fragrance, says Mareike Finck of Chesapeake Bay Candle..

One of my favorite responsibilities at Chesapeake Bay Candle is our monthly, co-authored newsletter reaching a broad audience of buyers, business partners and vendors. Among our most popular articles in recent months was a mini-series on reed diffusers highlighting opportunities for retailers to grow their home fragrance business and the importance of regulatory compliance in the diffuser category. (Email me for back copies of these articles.)

Reed diffusers today are one of the best-selling and most popular fragrance options available to consumers. Offering the same functional and decorative benefits as candles, every diffuser set consists of a vessel filled with scented oil and reeds that are placed inside the vessel. The scented oil travels through the reeds and is diffused into the environment. Avoiding the potential dangers of a burning candle, reed diffusers can safely be used in more restricted places like office buildings, apartments or college dorms. Plus, they make for a perfect gift for any occasion.

According to an article published by the Diffuser Store, Mediterranean Europeans have used reed diffusers for centuries to fragrance their homes. Starting in the late 1990s, reed diffusers were brought to the U.S. They first became available through high-end department stores, where new innovative products are typically introduced to the most sophisticated and educated consumers. After quickly gaining sales-momentum in the high-end channels, reed diffusers were also introduced at other outlets such as lower-end department stores and specialty stores.

For several years now, reed diffusers have also been available in the FDM channel. (Chesapeake Bay Candle was one of the first companies to bring reed diffusers to lower-end department stores and the most renowned mass-retailers).

To continue to grow their joined reed diffuser business, it is not only crucial for manufacturers and retailers to meet consumer demand for value and affordable prices, but to also entice consumers through product innovation. 

As with all home fragrance products, innovation has to come first and foremost through fragrance.
At Chesapeake Bay Candle, our in-house fragrance department identifies fragrance trends that address current consumer attitudes. Working closely with our global vendor partners, fragrances are often custom-designed for our branded programs.

Reed diffusers also offer additional opportunities for innovation. The vessel itself offers opportunity for design innovation. While most of the first reed diffuser vessels were made from clear glass, consumers today can select from a range of exciting materials, colors, and shapes. Also, the first generation reeds were purely functional without any design elements. Now there is great opportunity to excite consumers with novelty wicks or wicking ceramics.

At the boutique level, these types of innovative reed diffusers have already become bestselling items as Chesapeake Bay Candle’s sister company Blissliving Home has experienced with the introduction of their first ceramic flower diffuser a few years ago. 

As the reed diffuser market has become more saturated over the years, there is, without a doubt, room to grow business through product innovation, promotional offers, and creative merchandising.

About the Author
Mareike Finck is a public relatoions and marketing professional with background in the home fragrance and home lifestyle industries. She currently works as the assistant manager PR & marketing for sister companies Chesapeake Bay Candle ( and Blissliving Home ( Based in the Washington, D.C. area, Chesapeake Bay Candle is one of the largest and most popular candle and home fragrance brands in the U.S. Owned by husband-and-wife-team Mei Xu and David Wang, the company was started in the basement of their home in Annapolis, MD in 1994. By partnering with the most renowned retailers such as Target, Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Chesapeake Bay Candle became an instant success in the 1990s and is today a multi-million-dollar global enterprise.

Blissliving Home, Chesapeake Bay Candle’s sister company, is the destination interior lifestyle brand for the stylish consumer seeking modern design with a global influence. Established in 2005, the brand carries bedding, sheets, decorative pillows, bathroom accessories, home accent pieces and home fragrances that combine stylish design and global inspirations.

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