Diddy: Dollars & Scents

Regardless of what you think of Sean "Diddy" Combs artistically, as an entrepreneur he gets busy. His storied rise in the music business from intern to mogul laid the blueprint for countless imitators to build upon with their own record companies. Diddy’s clothing extension, Sean John, has grown by leaps and bounds from their original t-shirts, jeans and sweats beginnings. The line now offers formal wear, ladies wear and garments for the kids. Additionally, the men’s fragrance Unforgivable went number one and he hopes to do the same with the launch of his Unforgivable Women’s. Always speaking in superlatives, but never afraid to admit a misstep, peep game on what Diddy has in store for you on a lifestyle tip. AllHipHop.com: What’s good with the launch of your ladies fragrance?Diddy: Yeah, I came out with the number one men’s fragrance Unforgivable [and] we got an overwhelming response from the ladies. They wanted their fragrance, they wanted to feel what that Unforgivable women’s scent would be like. [We] made it up, kept it in the same realm of Unforgivable men’s but put the female twist on it. [It’s] very clean, very seductive, very sensual. It has a coco pina-colada mixed with some berry base. It’s something that’s addictive. It’s something a man wants to smell, when he smells it he thinks about his woman. It gets things where he needs to be. Also on this joint too, there a lot of competition out there. There’s a lot of female fragrances so it’s a big deal for a man to come out with a female fragrance and I see that’s as a positive. A man knows how a woman should smell. We don’t want our woman to smell like our grandmother; smelling like flowers and church on a Sunday. We don’t want that, we want it to smell like we want to eat you up. So that’s how it was designed. I put out a challenge to all of my female counterparts. I’m putting a challenge all the way out there. I got a video message I’m sending out to them too; to Jennifer [Lopez], to Gwen [Stefani], Sarah Jessica Parker that my fragrance is better than theirs. It is what it is.[Story continued below]AllHipHop.com: How did you navigate throughout the controversy of how you marketed the fragrance?Diddy: To be honest I always thought when you got into the fragrance business you were able to do things [that] were sensual and seductive and a little racy. It’s been a lot of hoopla about our ads and our campaigns, but I’m not actually doing nothing in the ad. I don’t want to raise people’s expectations, it’s being suggestive. People are letting their minds go real far. We kind of got banned from TV and we had to compromise and go back and forth with some of the edits but the beauty about the internet is that we can’t be held back. It’s on my Myspace page, it’s on Youtube. We are already close to half a million hits on just people peeping out alone. So it got out there.AllHipHop.com: What brands did you rock when you were coming up?Diddy: Oh man on the fragrance tip I loved the Calvin Klein Obsession stuff. To be honest in the beginning a lot of our inspiration on really doing things that were authentic and pushing the envelope were inspired from Calvin and growing up around then. These are the images they never seen in this game, they never seen like a man in bed with two women or like some shots taken in the stairwell. It’s all of that 9 And A Half Weeks and Rendezvous things that we all experienced. You can work in a post office and you can have your own little 9 And A Half Weeks experience. We all can relate to that.AllHipHop.com: Let’s switch to the physical side of your line. What do you have coming out for Sean John in the near future?Diddy: Right now we just launched the woman’s line and announced Cassie and Lauren London as our spokesmodels. Charlie had his angels, they [are] Diddy’s angels. We [are] going to be signing a new angel every year. We launching all this stuff now so we about to get into this women’s game real heavy. It’s something exciting because it ain’t no mystery I love the ladies. AllHipHop.com: Why do you think the Bad Boy sports line didn’t really pop to everybody’s expectations?Diddy: Yeah, I think that the Bad Boy sports line where we was selling it at it wasn’t really with the consumer we connect with. We were selling at like JC Penny trying to go for a customer at a lower price point. I think that it was [poor strategy] on my part and it was a learning lesson. I will go in that category of business [again] though. I think that category is important because there is a lot of people that can’t afford the price point of Sean John but they still my people and still deserve top quality designs. There is another brand under within the umbrella of my fashion empire that I’m looking to put out soon. AllHipHop.com: If you can turn back in time what would you change when you originally launched the Sean John line?Diddy: I wouldn’t change anything. We are approaching our tenth anniversary and look at us. We doing suits, fragrances, ties, underwear; we just had an underwear launch, that’s huge for us. Now we in the woman’s world; we started with the clothes, the fragrance, we going to handbags and shoes and also little girls clothes and that’s befitting to me right now having two little girls. AllHipHop.com: In the earlier days of your Sean John line, you used a baggier cut but now you are going with a slimmer fit. Why the change?Diddy: To be honest we were on that first. Before the whole rock and roll phase if ya’ll remember we were always more streamline. Sometimes we used to catch some knockings for it because people thought it was too sophisticated and underestimated the sophistication of the consumer thinking all they wanted to wear was pants sagging off their ass. Now I still let my joints sag but also I like my true fits sometimes too. The consumer is more versatile and Sean John is a brand that reflects that versatility. AllHipHop.com: Does it make you feel in a way that a lot of these indie lines are using images of Notorious B.I.G. heavy in their designs?Diddy: Nah, B.I.G. is such a phenomenon it’s something that you can’t really stop. It’s something they not really allowed to do to be honest and sometimes it’s taking some money out of the family’s pocket but at the same time it also keeps the legend alive. It gives back too. I wouldn’t over do it, but they getting a lot of passes for it but it’s all good though.AllHipHop.com: The “I Get Money” remix hit the streets recently, how did that go down in the studio?Diddy: I mean to be honest, the session was the way you can imagine it. It was a billion dollars in the building. It was a lot of power in there, you basically had the powerhouses of Hip-Hop all in one room and we had a ball. The beauty about it at the end of the day we all love to make music. It wasn’t no real egos involved, we were all one team. Like they both made sure that I was right. We all played our positions. If it came down to a video, I’d make sure the video is right. When it came down to them lyrics and making sure my legacy was put out there and the truth was told – a lot of people don’t realize I was on the cover of the Forbes ten years ago. This Forbes sh*t is just coming out now. I’m actually on the cover as a child. I was born into fly sh*t. People say that sh*t and they making it up, I was on the cover of Forbes with Jerry Seinfeld ten years ago. So the world is just catching up to the Forbes one-two. I’ve had my subscription since I’ve been nineteen years old with Forbes and Robb Report and Fortune Magazine. I stays on the lists. To have that articulated in the most craziest pop sh*t way and then to have two of your counterparts critique your verse and give it the thumbs up from two of the best of the game it wasn’t even fair.