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  1. #1

    Talking Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    In the spirit of the never-ending "You know you're a Basenoter when..." thread and my love of MAD magazine, here's a new thread dedicated to ranting (or raving) about the wit and wisdom of fragrances, fragrance companies, and fragrance retailing. Feel free to comment or add your own!

    What is it with...


    • the rapidly increasing volume of celebuscents on store shelves, despite rapidly declining category sales (-20% year-over-year)?
    • the 12 years and counting drought of non-flanker men's launches from Boucheron, when virtually every other major jewelry house has either launched or (in the case of David Yurman) is about to launch a men's fragrance?
    • the Creed PR machine and Reality Distortion Field being second only to Apple in sheer power? (And this is coming from a Mac geek, of all people.)
    • fragrance manufacturers delaying critical launches for the critical US market by up to a year, by which time the juice and concept might be dated?
    • the fact that virtually every fragrance brand website uses Adobe Flash for everything, making it unusable on most mobile phones?
    • airport duty-free at US airports allowing for fragrance purchases for US citizens, but not booze or cigarettes? (Good for Basenoters who just spritz on stink water after their shower, like me. Bad for Basenoters who also drink a lot of Wild Turkey and/or smoke Marlboros. Or Herb Kelleher.)
    • the fact when I go into any Sephora, I hear the song "Busy Child" by The Crystal Method at least once? (It's good that I love both the band and the song.)
    • the belief of Neiman Marcus that somehow, any credit card other than their own or American Express is "not exclusive enough"; even though Bank of America, Citibank, and HSBC offer American Express cards to just about anyone, plus anyone can buy American Express Gift Cards at a supermarket?
    Top 5 for Winter:
    1) Straight to Heaven - By Kilian
    2) Back to Black - By Kilian
    3) M7 (vintage or Oud Absolu) - YSL
    4) Aventus - Creed
    5) John Varvatos Vintage

    My mission statement: "I am not afraid to keep on living - I am not afraid to walk this world alone."

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    NM and their credit card policy is simply beyond me.

    I didn't know about this the first time I was in SF. I was making a few purchases and was absolutely stunned when they didn't accept my card. The SA tried to convince me I should jump through hoops to be able to use it, so I simply left my intended purchases on the counter and went to the dept store next-door. They had no problem swiping my card...

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    Quote Originally Posted by tott View Post
    NM and their credit card policy is simply beyond me.

    I didn't know about this the first time I was in SF. I was making a few purchases and was absolutely stunned when they didn't accept my card. The SA tried to convince me I should jump through hoops to be able to use it, so I simply left my intended purchases on the counter and went to the dept store next-door. They had no problem swiping my card...
    I second that. I made a purchase via cheque on some items and became so enchanted that I went back then next day to buy a companion item. The SA scowled at me, saying my cheque had not yet cleared and my current one was being refused, and that I could not make another purchase until the first cheque cleared. I, too, would also have walked out, but the items owned my heart (OK, perfume nuts--we can all relate) and to order the items online would take weeks. I returned with CASH that afternoon. The disappointed SA was so sad to see the customer she turned away actually buy the item she so coveted.

    Sad for a retailer to tolerate this attitude of exclusivity, esp. in these economic times and people *want* to buy luxe ittems.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    As we don't have a Neiman Marcus handy in these parts, I'm shocked to find out about their credit card issues. I've only dealt with NM website, and I believe it accepts all major CC. Doesn't make any sense to me. Seems like it would limit their clientele, especially if customers get pissed and just don't dome back, huh?
    Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.
    ~~James Oppenheimer~~

  5. #5

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    So, MC, VISA, etc. aren't exclusive enough, but NM will accept cash - which every Tom, Dick, and Jane has? Brilliant.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    I tired to use a VISA Gold when my cheque was refused, but they would only accept AmEx and the NM cards. That is when the SA smirked. When I returned with cash, again, I found it odd the SA actually seemed disappointed. When she turned me away, she gave me a sheepish, "So sorry."

    Consumers who buy luxe need to exercise their power and become patrons who value customers. Perfume is NOT a necessity and we don't need it to survive. (Did *I* just say that?)
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  7. #7
    kumquat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    So here's my beef with perfume cos. I don't get the deal w/samples. Why so stingy? Why do the commercial carded samps smell diff, worse than the juice in the bottle? What's with the mini's inferior juice? Oh, yes! I've found that most minis are bad compared to the real thing. Why is that? Aren't they supposed to sell the fumes with this small sample? if it's not the same stuff or if it's been mistreated (ex; cooked while having words printed on it) or diff storage & transport issues. I don't know, but you'd think with all the $ shelled out, they could at least come up with some accurate samples.

    Oh, and another thing, why don't they advertise the good stuff anymore? When was the last time you saw an add for Bois des Iles or Vol de Nuit? I'll tell you, NEVER! They only sell the junky stuff. Their good products are difficult to find out about & almost impossible to lay hands on.

    That's it. Rant over, for now! Whew!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    I've had my card refused my Neiman Marcus too. It's never been refused elsewhere. Embarrassing for me and I just got a snotty look and reply from the SA. Needless to say I don't shop there anymore ,online or otherwise.
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
    For sale. Carnal Flower and Vero Profumo Onda.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    Quote Originally Posted by MFfan310 View Post

    What is it with...

    the rapidly increasing volume of celebuscents on store shelves, despite rapidly declining category sales (-20% year-over-year)?
    I've wondered that too. Maybe it's because the contract was already signed, sealed & delivered before the quantifiable downturn? Sort of like housing & condo developments near us that are forging ahead with building, despite the fact that there is a lot of unsold inventory already on the market. The commitments have already been made so there's no choice but to go through with it.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    What I don't get about the whole celebuscent thing is with sales going downward you would think that one of the perfume companies would look to put out a kick ass celebuscent instead of another tired riff on something that already exists.
    I guess this is why I am not a businessperson.
    More writing on fragrance by me to be found at http://www.cafleurebon.com/

  11. #11

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Somerville Metro Man View Post
    What I don't get about the whole celebuscent thing is with sales going downward you would think that one of the perfume companies would look to put out a kick ass celebuscent instead of another tired riff on something that already exists.
    I guess this is why I am not a businessperson.
    With the notable exception of Sean John's Unforgivable, you're right. But I think perfume companies will continue to use celebuscents because (they think) it's the only guaranteed way of reeling in the holiday crowd. Of course, if you have a frag with a great reputation, strong marketing, and a good scent, you'll out sell the celebuscents by a ton.

    Polo has it best. Promote your scent with a celebrity (albeit a minor one) and keep up your good reputation. I just can't understand why perfume companies think it's a good idea to sell celebuscents attached to the likes of Paris Hilton when it's clear that their appeal will expire long before the bottles do.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    Quote Originally Posted by gekko View Post
    I just can't understand why perfume companies think it's a good idea to sell celebuscents attached to the likes of Paris Hilton when it's clear that their appeal will expire long before the bottles do.
    Exactly. Or why respectable companies start churning out airy-watery-fruity-candied scents targeted for teens. Of course it's fine to market towards younger demographics, but they are notoriously fickle. It's never a good idea to ignore classics with a loyal following, because when those customers disappear your customer base also evaporates.

    I think that companies believe that they can build customer loyalty by luring them in young, but I'm not so sure that this works today. You might have a hit, but there is so much stuff, so many launches and so many brands on the market today. Btw, all these flankers are also getting more than a little tired IMO. How many meaningful variations can you spawn from one (un)original idea? The idea that it's a cheap and effective practice to leech off an established product has been used to death in all kinds of businesses, and eventually it leads to a kind of oversaturation that makes customers give up and look elsewhere.

    Choosing a fragrance is also less of a commitment today, because most of them are fairly generic and interchangable. But maybe customers also need variety, because they never get satisfied by the current offerings and keep searching for that elusive holy grail?

    The best way to get customers, and to keep them coming, has to be to actually produce a quality fragrance with that special touch that customers will want to return for and to promote it consistently. Right...?


  13. #13

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    Sadly, this is why celebrity scents are not going to disappear anytime soon -

    "With even romance novelist Danielle Steel and shock rocker Marilyn Manson brewing their own concoctions, celebrity fragrances are the fastest-growing segment of the $2.9 billion perfume market, according to market researcher NPD Group."

    Taken from ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14289131/ )

    I'll add more later. I don't see anything changing for the better because customers are not informed and don't care to be informed. Well, I suppose the internet has started to change that - at least like minded individuals can come together now and the aficionados can band together and at least cause a mini-stir with their voices.
    ***For sale:

    Iris Pallida 50ml

    Ungaro I 75ml

    and more!
    - http://www.basenotes.net/threads/301...n-Man-and-more

  14. #14

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    Quote Originally Posted by tott View Post
    I think that companies believe that they can build customer loyalty by luring them in young, but I'm not so sure that this works today.
    The Information Age has been both a tremendous boon to marketers and a terrible curse. You can reach more people and target even smaller niches, but the internet makes so much information available to your consumers that they are more informed than ever.

    Unilever really nailed it with Axe. Tremendous variety, low price, strong brand image. You'll never see a celeb version of an Axe product. There's no need! Axe is a strong enough brand without Usher's endorsement.

    Remember RGX? Right Guard's attempt to make a body spray that copies Axe's model but positions itself as being more "mature"? Remember how quickly they turned to 50 cent to release "Pure 50" as a celeb body spray? And how it quickly was put on 50% off clearance at Targets and Walmarts the world over?

    Someone needs to wake up and smell the sandalwood. If you want great sales, build a strong brand image that merely needs a representative, not a sponsor.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    Sadly, this is why celebrity scents are not going to disappear anytime soon -

    "With even romance novelist Danielle Steel and shock rocker Marilyn Manson brewing their own concoctions, celebrity fragrances are the fastest-growing segment of the $2.9 billion perfume market, according to market researcher NPD Group."

    Taken from ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14289131/ )

    I'll add more later. I don't see anything changing for the better because customers are not informed and don't care to be informed. Well, I suppose the internet has started to change that - at least like minded individuals can come together now and the aficionados can band together and at least cause a mini-stir with their voices.
    Next time, check the date before posting: That article was from 2006(!).

    This article from the New York Times this month shows NPD, yet again, showing that while perfume sales so far this year are down 6%, celebuscents are down a whopping 20%. In other words, most of the negative sales in the industry is coming from the death of celebrity fragrances. Maybe the onslaught of celebuscents that's happening right now are a last-ditch attempt to restore category growth before the category dies off?
    Last edited by MFfan310; 27th June 2009 at 09:30 PM.
    Top 5 for Winter:
    1) Straight to Heaven - By Kilian
    2) Back to Black - By Kilian
    3) M7 (vintage or Oud Absolu) - YSL
    4) Aventus - Creed
    5) John Varvatos Vintage

    My mission statement: "I am not afraid to keep on living - I am not afraid to walk this world alone."

  16. #16

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    What really pi**es me of is; that a majority of the population at this point are older, yet everything is marketed towards...tweens, teens, twenty-somethings and occasionally thirty-somethings. What has happened to the rest of the populace, is the money just not worth it? are they just hoping all people over 40 will drop off soon.
    I do not want to smell like a teen-ager, I sure as hell didn't want to when I was one, so why would I start now.
    Last edited by Brielle87; 27th June 2009 at 10:04 PM.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser sa source

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    I asked a friend with a teenage son what he wears. She said, "whatever is the latest thing." At that age my tastes were unsophisticated in every area. I can't be surprised if they want to smell like their friends or if they want to say, "Oh this? Brad Pitt."

    The real problem is, teens spend money more easily than those who give it too them. When my brothers and I were teenagers, our parents sat us down and said, "We've written our wills. They begin, 'Being of sound mind, we spent it all.' " We all grew up to support ourselves. Basenoters of the world, be of sound mind!

  18. #18
    kumquat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    I am annoyed by this corporate behavior, too. This is an old, an I mean ancient, business model, whereby the corp. figures that brand selection starts practically as soon as we enter the delivery room. Then the choices we make (no Coke - Pepsi!) are permanently burned into our brains, never to be altered.

    So they think that by hooking into the adolescent market it's an automatic goldmine for life. They just don't give a rat's patoot about anyone who's getting close to death, you know like, in their 20's and beyond. The exception is probably timeshares and bogus mortgages, I would guess.
    Last edited by kumquat; 28th June 2009 at 09:27 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    Quote Originally Posted by kumquat View Post
    I am annoyed by this corporate behavior, too. This is an old, an I mean ancient, business model, whereby the corp. figures that brand selection starts practically as soon as we enter the delivery room. Then the choices we make (no Coke - Pepsi!) are permanently burned into our brains, never to be altered.

    So they think that by hooking into the adolescent market it's an automatic goldmine for life. They just don't give a rat's patoot about anyone who's getting close to death, you know like, in their 20's and beyond. The exception is probably timeshares and bogus mortgages, I would guess.
    I learned about this in my introductory marketing class. Throughout the whole thing I was consistently appalled by

    1. The $200 price tag

    2. The textbook's unacceptably high amount of grammatical and spelling errors, considering point 1

    3. The massive amount of credit marketers give themselves for generating sales, when in reality, the people who produced the product and the people who are doing the actual sales deserve the credit.

    This is not to say that marketing is ineffective and unnecessary, just that it is a very inexact science that needs to be governed by sensibility and strong product.
    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

  20. #20
    ECaruthers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    Is there a marketer in the BN family who could tell us how the Big Boys really plan what they will make and who they hope will buy it? I understand the reasons for targeting teens. But Chanel No. 5 remains a top selling perfume year after year. I suspect it's people more like us buying most of Chanel's line. I'm impressed by the more than 500,000 posts in the Men's Fragrance Discussion and the "How many full bottles do you have" thread in the Women's Fragrance Discussion. Is the total cash we spend really not worth bending over to pick up? Is seems like this and other similar sites would make it easy for the market researchers.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    I think that Chanel is profiting greatly from the fact that No 5 may be the only mass marketed "grown woman" fragrance that still exists. Of all the classics, it is the easiest to find, and the least shunted-off. So many houses have discontinued their cornerstone scents, or "reformulated" them in to nothingness, I'd say the success of Chanel demonstrates just how poorly other houses are serving the desires of the buying public. Most buyers don't seek out online sources of new niche scents, nor do they have access to a specialty brick-and-mortar location to try them out. Most women just buy what they can test and get at their local Sephora or department store. When the counters are clogged with celebuscents and 8000 versions of Angel and Hanae Morae, Chanel picks up the rest, even if deep down they might be better suited to something else.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Fragrance Industry Rant Thread: What is it with...?

    Quote Originally Posted by kumquat View Post
    So here's my beef with perfume cos. I don't get the deal w/samples. Why so stingy? Why do the commercial carded samps smell diff, worse than the juice in the bottle? What's with the mini's inferior juice? Oh, yes! I've found that most minis are bad compared to the real thing. Why is that? Aren't they supposed to sell the fumes with this small sample? if it's not the same stuff or if it's been mistreated (ex; cooked while having words printed on it) or diff storage & transport issues. I don't know, but you'd think with all the $ shelled out, they could at least come up with some accurate samples.
    having worked in the industry for years, i can say (in Canada anyways) the sample issue is simply a power play by SAs. it is 100% their discretion to hand out/not hand out samples. i never understood the hoarding, but perhaps after years of being abused by insane customers (and there are plenty of those) the SAs will take any kind of power they can.

    sadly, if you hoard samples they eventually turn, they are not meant to last as long as a bottle of perfume. so when they finally deem someone suitable for a sample, they get samples that have gone bad. ridiculous

    my favourite thing was to hand out as many samples as possible. since i worked for the distribution agency not the store, i could ignore the SAs & counter managers and would sample with abandon. customers were palpably shocked, which i find sad. the perfume companies give you samples to ENCOURAGE SALES. snap out of it people.

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