"We wanted to pick a fragrance that was more on the unisex side," she said. "I think we came up with a good choice out of the six."
Levine had a background in fragrances before he started his three-person company, just not the kind you dab behind your ear. His previous firm made cleaning products for stone, granite and other hard surfaces, which meant a familiarity with scents and how they work.
He sold Stone Care International to a private-equity firm eight years ago, stayed on for a few more years and did a two-year stint as executive director — on a volunteer basis — of the Baltimore Humane Society's Reisterstown shelter.
And then he decided to get into the fragrances that you do dab (or spray) on.
Levine's small team does the upfront work and contracts with manufacturers for production — a Southeast Baltimore company handled the Stan Lee line.
JADS branched out this spring with Sunscreen Bands, a wearable product that changes color to indicate when you need to reapply sunblock or get inside, but the company didn't abandon its niche. The band styles include the Hulk and Spider-Man.
So there's a definite Stan Lee theme at play. Perhaps it was inevitable that Levine and Lee would team up.
Levine met Kobayashi and Lee at the Philadelphia Comic Con a year ago, and the subject of scent naturally came up, what with Levine's big Avengers-fragrance banner and his exhibit space full of wares.
Kobayashi was intrigued. She's been to a lot of Comic Cons, and "it's the first time I've seen a cologne specifically targeted at this market." So why not a Stan Lee fragrance?
"We thought it was a cute fit for his sensibility because Stan has an excellent sense of humor," she said.
Lee joked by email that his initial reaction to the idea was, "A Stan Lee cologne??!! Who are they kidding?"
The box and bottle has his trademark aviator sunglasses and mustache, along with his signature. Also in the box: a "private message" for purchasers — and no, the companies aren't saying what's in it.
"You'll have to buy the cologne to find out," Kobayashi said.
Of course, this is a fandom we're talking about.
"I'm sure it'll be online at some point," she conceded.