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  1. #1

    Default Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    It's occurred to me lately the concept of niche perfumery as a distinct entity is a very nebulous one, not easy to define, and when defined, is largely based upon availability more than any other factor.

    It seems to me that the majority of fragrance is produced by two similar types of businesses.

    Perfume Houses - companies dedicated just to manufacture of perfumes and related products ( soaps; toiletries, etc. )

    Fashion Houses - companies that specialize in a broader range of products, specifically clothing or makeup, but often having a wide range of fragrances in addition.

    There are a number of notable exceptions to this, Czech & Speake's interesting combo of toiletries and plumbing fixtures coming to mind, but I feel safe in the saying that the majority of the fragrance on the market comes from the aforementioned types of businesses ( or "houses", or "brands" as you wish ).

    These can be both niche and non-niche. For example, Malle, considered niche, and Guerlain, generally considered non-niche, yet both are fragrance specialists. Similarly, Armani makes suits and fragrance and is designer; Knize makes suits and fragrance and is niche. Where is the difference? Is it a matter of scale? It would seem to me that Guerlain and, for example, Creed or L'Artisan, have more similarities to each other than they do to a one man show like Tauer.

    There seem to a number of different types of operation that come under the "niche" umbrella:

    Mainstream fashion houses that have limited-availability "exclusive" lines, usually at a higher price than their mainstream offerings ( Hermes, Tom Ford, Estee Lauder, Chanel ). These are either limited to high-end department stores of the boutiques of the line itself.

    Small to medium-scale perfume companies with varying levels of distribution ( Creed, Bond, Malle, L'Artisan, Serge Lutens ). As with the above, these are generally found in high-end department stores and boutiques of the lines themselves, but also often in specialty perfume stores and the like.

    Small scale fashion houses without much international distribution. There are far fewer of these, but both Knize and Domenico Caraceni come to mind. These I have only seen on offer online, but if others have information on their distribution I'd be curious to hear about it. Perhaps they're more widely distributed in their respective home countries...?

    Lastly, the category that brings me to write this post, individuals who create, produce, and market their own creations themselves. It seems to me that this category is a fairly recent phenomena in the West ( I've read about analogous family-based perfume production in India ), whose distribution is heavily reliant on the internet and occasionally the boutiques of the perfumers themselves. Some names that come to mind are Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel, Liz Zorn of Soivohle, Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio, Andy Tauer of Tauer, and Neil Morris ( eponymous ).

    It's interesting to contrast this last category with some of the larger niche and designer brands. In the larger companies, all fragrances are a compromise between the vision of the perfumer and various others involved in the marketing, distribution, and production of the fragrance. For the consumer, a one-person perfume line offers a very direct experience of a perfumer's vision, comparatively untampered with by the demands of the perfume industry at large or the often conflicting interests within any company where a fragrance launch is a team effort. Conversely, all aspects of a fragrance line being connected to one person's life means there is inherently limited production, and problems within that person's life can lead to problems with shipping, release dates, and even the very existence of the line itself ( take the vanishing act of Ava Luxe's entire line of parfums and EdP's ). Even if all the perfumers at Chanel shuffled off this mortal coil simultaneously, there would still be a Chanel line, and Chanel fragrances would still be available, where as the same can not be said of smaller lines like these, whose existence is tied solely to their creator.

    It seems to me, both for this category and others, we need a new ways of describing the changing world of fragrance. "Niche" and "designer" are inaccurate and inadequate divisions for the wide variety of operations making the world smell good.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Lately, I have also a clear "blurring" of these delimitations, because, speaking from a strictly fragrance-related viewpoint, I have experienced several well known "designer classics" from Guerlain, Chanel, Dior, Armani, to name only a few, coming much closer to "niche", in terms of quality, sophistication, exclusiveness (including quite limited and elitist marketing/distribution) and other tiny details which would make them qualify for the "niche" segment

  3. #3

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Great post, Galamb. I do agree with Ken in that the lines seems blurred if one goes simply for a house that makes scent and toiletries. I associate "niche" with recent perfume enterprises (last 30 years or so) that wish to go outside the ordinary offerings of the mainstream, mass-market or designer scents. This may be in concept: natural materials only, one floral note (Rosine), a philosophy (Parfums d'Empire), or the tongue-in-cheek (Etat Libre d'Orange).

    I do not consider Guerlain or Caron niche, even though they produce scent and toiletries, and I certain do not consider Hermes niche because of their association with horse tack and silk scarves.
    Last edited by Primrose; 23rd February 2010 at 06:54 PM.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Primrose View Post
    and I certain do not consider Hermes niche because of their association with horse tack and silk scarves.
    It is certainly difficult to come up with any clear definition or distinction between niche and designer. One further blurring of the lines that I thought of when reading Galamb's post is that of the large fashion house with a single, dedicated in-house perfumer. I can only think of a couple instances (Polge at Chanel, Ellena at Hermes). I was surprised when I read some of the news for the new Hermes fragrance that they say Ellena has been given "extended free rein" during his time with the company and that the only direction they gave him for the new fragrance was the name "Voyage." I have also heard and read Ellena talk about how he does not have to worry about constraining his creativity regarding the cost of materials he uses. I also just read a quote from him where he insists that Hermes does not market test its fragrances in any way before a launch. To me this comes as close to a one-man show that Galamb mentioned as you could find in a large company.

    I think some of my personal conception of niche incorporates more of a focus on the creator and less hiding behind a big name like Armani. This is certainly not a fool-proof defition of course, but it's true for the majority of what I like and label as "niche." If Ellena truly has the creative freedom that they claim, then Hermes is at least niche-ish for me.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    Even if all the perfumers at Chanel shuffled off this mortal coil simultaneously, there would still be a Chanel line, and Chanel fragrances would still be available, where as the same can not be said of smaller lines like these, whose existence is tied solely to their creator.

    It seems to me, both for this category and others, we need a new ways of describing the changing world of fragrance. "Niche" and "designer" are inaccurate and inadequate divisions for the wide variety of operations making the world smell good.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
    I've never really understood the distinction between niche and designer, nor their real value in perfume criticism. Are the criteria for differentiation based on who designs the perfume's original composition? Or even who owns the rights to the formula? Or is it a matter of where and how the perfume itself is manufactured? As I understand it, most perfume houses aren't like regular corporations but are akin to an independent advertising department that handles the press and presentation while the work of composing the formula is left to an independent contractor or employee of the company (Givaudan etc.) that owns the final formula and puts the juice together. Can we actually call Guerlain etc. perfume manufacturers, since they don't (as far as I know) actually make perfumes nor own the formulas? =) LVMH owns both Guerlain and Dior; should we really be lumping both of those houses under their parent company's heading when we discuss their releases?

    Perhaps the answer would be something along the lines of 'niche is a small company that creates and owns their own formulas and produces the perfumes themselves'. But that makes it very tricky to know who is niche since these aren't facts most companies advertise and 'small' is still relative.

    It might be simpler and cleaner to either drop the niche/designer dichotomy all together or retain the current ambiguous usage with niche meaning whatever vague sense of exclusiveness the user desires. We could use 'super niche', 'uber niche', or other awkward phrases to describe the works of Andy Tauer and other one man perfume lines.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    The niche - designer dualism was a flawed concept from the outset and certainly no longer makes any sense in today's market, as the various organizational forms of fragrance production enumerated by Galamb show. It really only makes use in a pared down form: denoting any brand sold through a certain limited number of doors. How many Ask an MBA . I believe that was the original sense of the term. "Niche" as it is applied by companies to themselves these days is supposed to suggest quality, creativity, exclusivity and thus justify high prices, but we all know that's just a lot of marketing talk. It has all become so confusing I'll settle for "good" and "bad" .
    Seriously, a more useful category may be "artisanal." What that implies is discussed by Andy Tauer and company on perfumism.com. After all, we, I suppose, are more inerested in the ultimate quality and character of a fragrance than its modes of distribution. It may (have) be(en) feasible for Lutens/Sheldrake to produce artisanal fragrances within the shiseido empire as it is for a one man show like Tauer. Just as a one-(wo)man show can produce some mismarketed, crappy "gay" perfume (looking at you, Eau Mo) and L'Oréal can have Symrise or whoever churn out sausage meat for them. The market rules in the big-time beauty biz may make great perfumes less likely than rugged entrepenurial individualism, but con games come in all sizes.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Interesting thoughts and I've often pondered over the same.

    Further to the "individuals making frags" thing, and the_good_life's suggestion of using "artisanal", I've recently wondered where the really small individuals making their own stuff sit. I mean those who basically have a home-made toiletries and cosmetics business running from their home, frequently on the 'Bay and sometimes with a website they maintain themselves. And, in rarer instances if they're lucky, those that might sell through an independent shop.

    Just for the record, I'm not including those (and there are a lot of them) that basically just churn out "smells like" frags. I'm on about the ones who come up with their own original pyramids and note/accord combos (there is a particularly good web-based one here in the UK which I'm loathe to promote too much because A) it's literally one woman running a business from her kitchen and garage, B) her prices are very good, C) she asks her customers not to promote her as she partly does it for a hobby and does not want it to turn into a stressful full-time business).

    But, arguably, these folk are the only truly niche outfits out there, even if their prices and packaging would suggest otherwise. They answer only to themselves, they have no targets to meet, there are no suits counting the folding green (I don't care how exclusive or independent the likes of Liz Zorn and Andy Tauer are - if there's a boutique or third party point of sale, someone else is holding reigns).

    After all that, I have no answer...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    I'm a very infrequent poster here (all of three comments) but I've been following this discussion. The term niche, which as The Good Life points out is a marketing term related to the distribution of products, has come to be emptied of its meaning: there was a time when the fragrances put out by the pioneers, Diptyque, L'Artisan Parfumeur, Annick Goutal, Serge Lutens, Frédéric Malle really did mean that niche offerings were distinctive. Now, with niche brands popping up all over the place, the term has reverted to its initial meaning as a type of distribution. Things put out by niche houses can just as well be compositions pulled off the shelf by a lab, and not reflect any type of creative vision.

    A term I prefer is author perfumery, which means that even though the perfumers may work to certain specifications for their clients (a theme, house codes, cost), they are free to express their individual style and take most of the creative decisions.
    By that standard, Jean-Claude Ellena, Bertrand Duchaufour, Isabelle Doyen or Mathilde Laurent are authors, just as much as the perfumers who run their one-man or woman operation like Vero Kern, or their own company like Pierre Guillaume of Parfumerie Générale. When Frédéric Malle commissions Dominique Ropion or Maurice Roucel to come up with a composition, they act as authors, which they don't necessarily when they work for, say, Armani or Guerlain where they are part of a team effort. In certain cases, such as Serge Lutens or Comme des Garçons, the authorship is that of the creative director (in CdG's case, Christian Astuguevieille) at least as much, if not more so than that of the actual perfumer.
    Of course, using this standard would imply knowing how the perfumer works. And it's easier to tell when an entire line is composed by the same person, as is the case for the Hermessence or for Cartier Les Heures de Parfum. But it's the only criterion that really allows to distinguish between fragrances that are the product of a team work (as as most mainstream fragrances) and more individual compositions, without judging the quality of the fragrance (some one-person operations turn out bilge, some mainstream scents are outstanding)...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Very interesting post Galamb. I have nothing to add that hasn't already been discussed, but now that I think about it I rarely even use the word niche, in my day-to-day posts and conversations regarding perfumery.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by carmencanada View Post
    By that standard, Jean-Claude Ellena, ...
    In my perception JC Ellena is a selfmade star, what has been unusual until then for perfumers. Now les nez think of themselves as artist rather than artisans. Ellenas case shows archetypicaly how inappropiate the term "niche" is. Do You think his creations are more valuable as for instance "Mitsouko", "Ma Griffe"/"Bandit", "Grey Flannel", "Cool Water", "Tommy Girl"? By the way, who made "Vetyver" for Givenchy? Oliver Creed the 2nd, maybe ...

    Last edited by merry.waters; 24th February 2010 at 03:40 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Let's not forget: JC Ellena wears two hats, one is his own, The Different Company, the other he wears for Hermès. His "star" career has a lot to do with Hermés who didn't want to rely on their own press only, but hired a known journalist and author to write about the launch of Un Jardin sur le Nil as if it was about unearthing a long lost Pharao. This seems to have worked, if not for the new fragrance then obviously for its 'creator'.
    Last edited by narcus; 26th February 2010 at 04:42 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    ---
    Last edited by merry.waters; 24th February 2010 at 06:35 AM. Reason: see previous post of mine

  13. #13

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by merry.waters View Post
    In my perception JC Ellena is a selfmade star, what has been unusual until then for perfumers. Now les nez think of themselves as artist rather than artisans. Ellenas case shows archetypicaly how inappropiate the term "niche" is. Do You think his creations are more valuable as for instance "Mitsouko", "Ma Griffe"/"Bandit", "Grey Flannel", "Cool Water", "Tommy Girl"? By the way, who made "Vetyver" for Givenchy? Oliver Creed the 2nd, maybe ...

    I'm not saying Ellena's compositions are better than the classics you quote (though I would take them any day over Cool Water or Tommy Girl, but that's a matter of taste). In fact, there's practically nothing I would rate above Mitsouko or Bandit.
    What I'm saying is that for the Hermessence collection, he does have the licence to work exactly as he wants and as such, to be the author of his scents, just as he did for The Different Company (for which he no longer works since he was hired by Hermès).

    He *is* an excellent communicator, the best in the business, which has of course enhanced his star status but it's not just a matter of communication: he's perfected a style, and created templates, which have been very influential in the industry.

    Anyway, my point wasn't that he was a star, or a better perfumer than Jacques Guerlain or Germaine Cellier: I was just saying that instead of trying to define "niche" as a label for originality and quality, I tend to look for the creative independence given to a number of perfumers.

    @Narcus: I'm not sure you could say Hermès hired Chandler Burr. He did the paper for the New Yorker before developing it for a publisher. Hermès gave him access, knowing that it would be beneficial to them, but he wasn't working for them.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by carmencanada View Post

    @Narcus: I'm not sure you could say Hermès hired Chandler Burr. He did the paper for the New Yorker before developing it for a publisher. Hermès gave him access, knowing that it would be beneficial to them, but he wasn't working for them.
    Within a certain sector of the public press, borders between advertising and information can be rather obscure.
    Last edited by narcus; 26th February 2010 at 04:43 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    I think of Tauer, Sonoma Scent Studios, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz etc. as "Indie" perfumers. "Artisan" for some reason makes me think of someone more in the aromatherapy realm selling their perfumes at a farmer's market.
    I really can't explain why I feel that way, though...

  16. #16

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    The first term that sprung to mind for me was also 'artisanal' for the one man/woman owner / operator approach.

    But the whole thing does get a bit blurred - it's not easy to delineate and actually name segments in 'niche' (or 'non-designer'). I do see a couple of things happening, though, which strike me as part of the evolution of this industry.

    Firstly, in the spate of 'artisanal' lines which seemed to emerge circa 70s / 80s (please correct me if I'm off here). We see Villoresi, LaPorte (first L'Artisan then MPG), Nicolai, Goutal, Lutens - off the top of my head - who have taken different courses.

    Villoresi is still essentially Mr. Villoresi making perfume.
    L'Artisan was taken up by a new owner and another perfumer, attracted capital backing and the in-house team has been able to invite Ellena, Duchaufor to contribute to the line.
    MPG was taken up by a new owner who is essentially the keeper of the flame and beginning to introduce new works.
    Parfum de Nicolai has kept it pretty much a solo operation but Ms. Nicolai guests creating for other lines (MDCI).
    Annick Goutal has a second generation family successor and an in-house perfumer team and Ms. Doyens also guests for Le Nez form time to time.
    Lutens has stayed pretty much Lutens . . . but with Shiseido standing firmly behind him.

    So I would consider these all the next step, if you will, after artisanal - variations on a theme, really. Bring in some fresh talent (and/or capital), or stay 'solo' and collaborate with outside companies from time to time.

    Niche v.02 ?

    The other thing that I see more of is what in fashion terms I would call diffusion lines. Certainly Chanel & Hermes are not fragrance houses first and foremost but these two companies have 'backed into niche', if you will, just like many fashion lines start with a fairly single minded design ethic and later on are able to introduce a higher priced exclusive line a la Ralph Lauren going from preppy Polo to 'Purple Label' over the course of a couple of decades. Comme de Garcons might fit that profile as well (both in the way their fashion lines have diversified and how they have gone from launching a couple of obligatory scents into a 'niche' style perfume line) along with Armani, certainly - AdG vs the Prive line. Tom Ford is jumping straight in at the top end . . . the list goes on.

    Basically these are diffusion lines - trading up to a 'Black Label' or going commercial with a 'Sport' line. It works both way in fashion but with perfumery it seems to be trading up once you have the popular base covered and want a bit of cachet.

    I think Guerlain are the best example of evolution we have in front of us - from one guy to second generation to a family owned business to a company inviting in guest perfumers to a big company owned by a conglomerate with several diffusion lines from the major commercial releases you see everywhere to the Paris only exclusives and everything in between.

    It's a work in progress, it's fascinating to watch . . .
    Last edited by mr. reasonable; 25th February 2010 at 12:49 AM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by merry.waters View Post
    In my perception JC Ellena is a selfmade star, what has been unusual until then for perfumers. Now les nez think of themselves as artist rather than artisans. Ellenas case shows archetypicaly how inappropiate the term "niche" is. Do You think his creations are more valuable as for instance "Mitsouko", "Ma Griffe"/"Bandit", "Grey Flannel", "Cool Water", "Tommy Girl"? By the way, who made "Vetyver" for Givenchy? Oliver Creed the 2nd, maybe ...
    I like your differentiation of artist versus artisan and as much as I would like to agree with those who see perfumers as being olfactory authors it just doesn't fit well. Fragrance is an opaque industry; we don't know always know who made what (who composed Azzaro PH? four people claim credit for it) or who put the ingredients together (Bandit is made by Givaudan but you won't find the distributors mentioning that on their website) or even if it's the same product that won it such praise. Literature has a legal framework in place that protects the integrity of the work while giving full and public credit to the author. You can be relatively certain that the copy of Moby Dick you buy today is the same artistic unit that was sold 50 years ago. The masterpieces of perfumery are regularly disfigured into unrecognizable products (think Emeraude, Cabochard, Tabac Blond, Vent Vert etc. etc.) and many that remain recognizable are still dimmed by reformulation (new Mitsuoko, new Chanel No. 5, etc).

    Until the fragrance industry adopts standards of openness and artistic integrity perfume criticism will never flourish like literary or music criticism. There are too many unknowns and too many pieces of history that disappear. Creating categories of niche/artisinal/designer will always be stifled by the dearth of real information and the flood of advertising pseudo-histories and misdirections.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    I agree with Matthew. "Indie" is the abbreviation for "independent" is it not?
    Last edited by Diamondflame; 24th February 2010 at 05:11 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zizanioides View Post
    I like your differentiation of artist versus artisan and as much as I would like to agree with those who see perfumers as being olfactory authors it just doesn't fit well. Fragrance is an opaque industry; we don't know always know who made what (who composed Azzaro PH? four people claim credit for it) or who put the ingredients together (Bandit is made by Givaudan but you won't find the distributors mentioning that on their website) or even if it's the same product that won it such praise. Literature has a legal framework in place that protects the integrity of the work while giving full and public credit to the author. You can be relatively certain that the copy of Moby Dick you buy today is the same artistic unit that was sold 50 years ago. The masterpieces of perfumery are regularly disfigured into unrecognizable products (think Emeraude, Cabochard, Tabac Blond, Vent Vert etc. etc.) and many that remain recognizable are still dimmed by reformulation (new Mitsuoko, new Chanel No. 5, etc).

    Until the fragrance industry adopts standards of openness and artistic integrity perfume criticism will never flourish like literary or music criticism. There are too many unknowns and too many pieces of history that disappear. Creating categories of niche/artisinal/designer will always be stifled by the dearth of real information and the flood of advertising pseudo-histories and misdirections.
    I have a real problem with "creating" histories for niche houses to the point of manufacturing "biographies" of real historical persons and would-be noble and royals patrons.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Thanks for all the interesting commentary, everyone, keep it coming.

    I particularly appreciate Mr. R's post about diffusion lines, and Carmen's point about the degree of artistic control varying considerably even in more mainstream lines ( I'm sure I'm not wrong in saying we'd be happy to see you post more often here! )

  21. #21

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    I know this may not help things but to me niche is an idea, which I know doesn't really help define it and certainly doesn't adhere to any definition of the term. But for discussion's sake, let's take Guerlain for example. I don't think of many of their mainstream fragrances as feeling particularly "niche" (and I think the idea of defining the term is valid but we also sort of know what we mean when we say it around here) but for instance, Spiritueuse Double Vanille, Iris Ganache, and even the completely non-"niche" Winter Delice do. I realize that may make me seem like a fragrance Philistine but it's the way my brain processes the accords and interesting note combinations I experience. Many Comme des Garcons fragrances smell "niche" to me though they are part of a design house dedicated, at least equally, to clothing. And again, a few of the Armani Prive line smell very "niche" as in unusual, different, unexpected but this is the same company which produces some of the most ubiquitous fragrances in the history of scent. I think that's really the thing in a nutshell. We've taken a word and sort of reworked it to fit an aesthetic.

    I basically think of almost anything I find at Aedes or Luckyscent to fit into the category of niche. I imagine niche perfumers setting out from the beginning to construct unusual accords and finished products. That is the intent, the goal: different and unusual yet satisfying and wearable (for the most part) at the same time. Though this gaping definition lets slide many "niche" Bond No.9 and Creed fragrances which seem to adhere to a completely opposite ideal, that being mass appeal. And there again, I look at what I'm writing and think, "well, does something that aims toward mass appeal instantly remove it from the category of niche perfumery?" It's a complicated question and I could go on and on as most of us could but I'll leave it there for now... hmm...

    As far as the one woman/man show, to me they still fit into the category of niche, if not most convincingly, but as someone mentioned before, the simple addition of "independent" to the title "niche perfumer" could suffice.
    Last edited by nthny; 25th February 2010 at 01:28 AM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    Before I started in this current hobby of perfumes, I spend many years consumed by the brewing industry both as a connoisseur and a brewer. I found it easier to understand perfume ingredients, notes construction, and the various designers if I translated it into brewing terms. It was easier to understand how perfume X with ingredients a, b, c and d could smell entirely different from perfume Y with the same ingredients. The types, qualities, amountes, sources, even years of cultivation have an influence. The same is true for these design houses, regardless of whether they sell plumbing supplies, tailored suits and scarves, saddles and crops, or candles. In my mind, I have been employing the term "micro-niche" to differentiate Andy Tauer from Creed. Another term often used is craft-brewer (in this case craft-niche). In the brewery circuit, even these smaller brew-houses (similar to a small design house) increase the number of beer types, build their distribution range, and increase brewing capacity - that's no different from some of these fragrance design houses that have also increased the number of fragrances available, the distribution and amount as well. But in the middle, between the designer fragrances and the niche something has grown and become more prevalent - as has been stated - and a differentiation between the niche and the micro-niche or the craft-niche. Whew, I need another beer.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Dissecting niche: do we need a new term for the one-man, one-woman "houses" out there?

    How about the "Scent Auteur" designation for the niche singular perfumer?

    The vision and the scent in this designation are inseparable.
    [URL="http://www.basenotes.net/fragrancereviews/38140"][B]Actias luna's fragrance reviews[/B][/URL] | Now blogging with [i]AromiErotici, Carrie Meredith, Mimi Gardenia, Sugandaraja, Asha, bluesoul, shamu1, Redneck Perfumisto and Daly Beauty[/i] at [URL="http://aromierotici.blogspot.com/"][B]Il Mondo di Odore[/B][/URL] [URL="http://www.ebsqart.com/Artist/Kathleen-Harper/3794/Art-Portfolio/1/"]
    [B]Art[/B]: Actias luna's other hobby[/URL] - along with some impromptu [URL="http://www.basenotes.net/threads/268480-Why-Mouchoir-de-Monsieur-Act-III-Resumed"]"performance writing"[/URL] here on Basenotes!

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