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  1. #1

    Smile In praise of the local fragrance shop

    Santa Cruz (on the California coast, 75 minutes south of San Francisco) has a few department stores, notably Macy's, and a few boutiques carrying this or that niche line, notably DSH at Sky Meadow Apothecary. But best of all, it has the Perfume Gallery, in the Capitola Mall. I guess it's part of a small California chain -- either that, or it shares its name with a few unrelated stores in the area. At any rate, for this novice perfume enthusiast, it's a blessing.

    What makes it great? They stock a wide range of designer/mainstream/fine fragrances, including lots of discontinued scents (such as Acteur, Havana, and the original formulation of Carven's Vetiver). A few higher-end or niche products, too (half a dozen Creeds, Demeter's Dirt). There must be several hundred scents in stock. But that's not the real answer.

    What really makes it great is the woman who runs the place. She's knowledgeable, unintimidating, and has become a friend. Products are kept behind the counter, but each time I visit, I've been free to sample maybe twenty fragrances. Nothing in the shop is off-limits. The owner offers recommendations but never pressures me to buy them or even like them. On my next visit -- I go maybe once every two weeks -- she remembers the ones I liked, the ones I disliked, the ones about which I couldn't make up my mind.

    Her prices are typically a few dollars under the going rate at department stores. Of course, I could do even better price-wise if I made all my purchases online. But that doesn't seem "right" -- I try to support the best local place by giving it my business. Besides, I'm not just paying for perfume when I shop there, I'm paying for KNOWLEDGE -- I'm paying to support the place where I discovered how much I love Terre d'Hermes (which I bought), how much I hate Yatagan (no offense to its fans), and how disappointing the drydowns of Azzaro Onyx and Live Jazz are on my skin (I suspect in both cases it's the combination of cedar with lingering coriander that is to blame).

    So, do you have a favorite local shop? Someplace where you'll spend a few more dollars because it's a more rewarding experience than shopping online?
    Spray it, don’t say it…
    WARDROBE

  2. #2

    Default Re: In praise of the local fragrance shop

    Paul thank you for this post. I wish more people could think like you .
    Vijay"Maisonstinky"

  3. #3

    Default Re: In praise of the local fragrance shop

    There is fragrance shop here in Memphis that is pretty much the same as you described in your story. It is where I went to discover alot of what is discussed on this board. They carry Havana and Patou Pour Homme, Leonard Pour Homme....lots of finds. I have developed a relationship with these fine people, just as I did with Amy at Barney's in Dallas. It is about the experience much of the time and this little gem of a store is my haven when I want to just go get lost for an hour or two. I can look at my bottles and remember where I bought it and the experience that led me to it. Great thread..oh and thanks to Vijay. Had my first buying experience with him this week and he is a gentleman and my Black Aoud will always be associated with buying from Vijay for the first time.

  4. #4

    Default Re: In praise of the local fragrance shop

    I'm just getting started, haven't pursued anything too rare or exclusive, and haven't been a customer of Vijay's (yet!). But J_W_S makes a good point, I shouldn't equate "online shopping" with nothing but those faceless discount operations. (And to be fair, I've had my share of dealings with the discounters, too.)
    Spray it, don’t say it…
    WARDROBE

  5. #5

    Thumbs up Re: In praise of the local fragrance shop

    To Paul: what you described is the way any shopping experience should be, especially for the more dedicated niche type buyers of things like art, musical instruments, or any other thing that we become vitally interested in. To make a friend at a business of one's favorite hobby is something to cherish.

  6. #6

    Default Re: In praise of the local fragrance shop

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulSC View Post
    Santa Cruz (on the California coast, 75 minutes south of San Francisco) has a few department stores, notably Macy's, and a few boutiques carrying this or that niche line, notably DSH at Sky Meadow Apothecary. But best of all, it has the Perfume Gallery, in the Capitola Mall. I guess it's part of a small California chain -- either that, or it shares its name with a few unrelated stores in the area. At any rate, for this novice perfume enthusiast, it's a blessing.

    What makes it great? They stock a wide range of designer/mainstream/fine fragrances, including lots of discontinued scents (such as Acteur, Havana, and the original formulation of Carven's Vetiver). A few higher-end or niche products, too (half a dozen Creeds, Demeter's Dirt). There must be several hundred scents in stock. But that's not the real answer.

    What really makes it great is the woman who runs the place. She's knowledgeable, unintimidating, and has become a friend. Products are kept behind the counter, but each time I visit, I've been free to sample maybe twenty fragrances. Nothing in the shop is off-limits. The owner offers recommendations but never pressures me to buy them or even like them. On my next visit -- I go maybe once every two weeks -- she remembers the ones I liked, the ones I disliked, the ones about which I couldn't make up my mind.

    Her prices are typically a few dollars under the going rate at department stores. Of course, I could do even better price-wise if I made all my purchases online. But that doesn't seem "right" -- I try to support the best local place by giving it my business. Besides, I'm not just paying for perfume when I shop there, I'm paying for KNOWLEDGE -- I'm paying to support the place where I discovered how much I love Terre d'Hermes (which I bought), how much I hate Yatagan (no offense to its fans), and how disappointing the drydowns of Azzaro Onyx and Live Jazz are on my skin (I suspect in both cases it's the combination of cedar with lingering coriander that is to blame).

    So, do you have a favorite local shop? Someplace where you'll spend a few more dollars because it's a more rewarding experience than shopping online?
    hey thank you for this info, i live within 25 miles of capitola! ill have to check it out!

  7. #7

    Default Re: In praise of the local fragrance shop

    Perfume Gallery is notorious for selling old stock...just fyi

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