Originally Posted by ZANY
What exactly does niche mean? Does it mean that they use all natural as opposed to synthetic ingrediants?
Not at all. They are less likely than mass-market companies to replace costly natural ingredients with cheaper synthetics, but that's not what defines them. The two most common ways of defining niche perfumeries are by their independence from other design markets (like fashion -- which rules out Chanel, Dior, YSL, and the like -- and jewelry -- which rules out Bulgari, Cartier, Tiffany, and so on) or by the exclusivity of their retail distribution (so fragrances you find at Macy's or The Body Shop don't count; that's the argument for ruling out Guerlain and others).
But I think we also handle these categories more impressionistically. Many around here are comfortable calling Creed a niche line, even though the Creed business got its start in fashion and is fairly widely distributed. Cost and quality are probably factors. (To be fair, Creed got out of menswear ages ago, and its distribution looks more narrow if you ignore all the internet discounters and just count its authorized retailers.) Many would not consider Caron a niche line, even though its distribution is (I'm guessing) relatively limited in the U.S.