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  1. #1

    Question The fragrance seen as a business

    Hello BN'ers

    I was wondering how would it be if you decide to release a brand of your own, to get in the fragrance business.

    Which are the things that block your entry on the fragrance industry ?

    - The money, the capital stock
    - The one that will make the fragrance. How much does it cost to employ a good nose thinking that, being at the start, it must be something good, special, outstanding?
    - Who will produce the liquid in large amounts? I think that they will put it in the bottle
    but they not make the bottles so another company will make them.
    - You will need a boutique or a site is enough for the moment?

    Of course there are a lot of obstacles on your path but that's all that came in my mind right now. If you know others feel free to write them.

    Do you think that entering the perfume market you will make profit or you would enter
    just for the love that you show to the fragrances ?


    Sorry if I opend it in the wrong section and I think that has been discussed before but I can not find anything at the search.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The fragrance seen as a business

    Branding and Marketing.

    Not having a recognizable brand via an already well-known name (i.e. clothing designer or celebrity) will cause your fragrance to become lost in a sea of choices for the consumer.

    It may be a better strategy to go to some minor celebrity and influence them to let you use their name/endorse. I mean, even tracking down the actor who portrayed ole "Cooter" from Dukes of Hazzard, convincing him, slapping his image on the bottle and calling it "Coots" is better than putting out your own brand "Aqua di Dukes" -- even if you have to add a little "roadkill note" the the product.

    "Be creative", is my point. You could have the best smelling thing in the world and no one will buy it without some motivation.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The fragrance seen as a business

    Quote Originally Posted by Sensual View Post
    You could have the best smelling thing in the world and no one will buy it without some motivation.
    Totally agree.
    I think the money and production issues are almost less important than the way your fragrance will be promoted. You have to know WHOSE you want to sell your fragrances, and build your own "code" depending on that target.
    Hire a celebrity to put his name on your fragrance is certainly a good way to attract the non-perfumista crowd.
    To have a few nice boutiques with qualified SA's who really care about their customer is a good start to attract the more connoisseur people.
    It all depends on your target IMO.

    PS: this thread could be in the "fragrance industry" section as well, but I guess you won't be whipped for that

  4. #4

    Default Re: The fragrance seen as a business

    While money is the biggest concern for people, and rightly so, it's all about marketing and finding a crowd interested in your products. Hiring a celebrity is a little cheesy to me, you could always begin advertising through youtube and youtube reviewers (as in send them free samples), and start by selling on etsy and ebay. Though if you have the money and open an attractive looking boutique in a hot spot where you live also helps.

    Personally I have gone through quite a few humble perfume makers through etsy and my own research(Lemon-Lollipop, Lunableu, doctorsweettooth, and various small shops in the middle east), and many of them make great perfumes, sure many are cheap and synthetic, but I found a few jewels. Here are some of the most common mistake and why some of these shops will never go big:


    -No professional bottle designer/website designer:
    It is not as hard as it seems, here are two scenarios:

    A. A store with a flash intro, a professional classy looking logo, golden drop down menu with black text, decorated with victorian/middle eastern with a contemporary touch. Against a black background, and in each page that background has a faded picture of vintage pictures or old unlabeled essential oils bottles. Offering fragrances in heavy glass bottles, metal atomizers with a magnetic cap, that come in a plain white or black box that has the logo on it. The site also has notes breakdowns of their fragrances, and a page on their perfumers/inspiration/objectives as a company/source of material.

    B. The second store has no intro page, a few broken links on their "help" page. Their logo is simply their name in a cheesy font from MS word, their menues are pink, decorated with drawings done by a 5 years old, or dessert pictures from flickr. Their bottles are cheap glass, silver cans or even plastic, with a plastic atomizer that most likely leaks. They have a labels made with Microsoft word, that are not sticked straight or parallel to the edges of their bottle, even the ugly pictures and bad fonts printed on them are not printed in the right resolution.


    The first store sells a 30ml bottle for $34.95, the second sells a 50ml bottle for $24.95. From which one will you buy if they offer the same type of fragrances? I thought so. While Lunableu is way ahead of store B, nowhere near store A though, when I made my family smell their fragrances they were amazed and $20 looked like nothing, once they saw the bottles, some of which had their plastic caps broken in shipping, they said I'd rather go to the body shop or bath and body works and get a bottle for half the price.

    -Too much products offered: Your establishing a new brand, last thing you need is to overwhelm the customer with 200 scents coming in 25 types of products, dry oil perfume, hair mist, edp, edt, pure oil, shea butter, body butter, lotion, coconut oil cream, goatmilk cream...etc. With 25% as many products the average customer would already be overwhelmed from an already established brand, why would you have to list every mixture you made in your life? some of which have minimal differences. Any professional brand would not release more than 1 to 5 fragrances a year.

    -Knockoffs of best sellers: Now that one is just straight up unprofessional. Sometimes I understand with more expensive fragrances, and I'm like sure, maybe the brand is not thinking big and want to create cheaper alternatives. But looking at some of those stores, selling a pink sugar duplicate for $15, in a cheaper bottle with additional shipping charges when the real thing can be easily found for $20? really? come on.

    Now I'd say these are the top three things that come to my mind, a long with no advertising on youtube, working hard on forums like BN and MUA, and so on, is what would slow you. When I say advertise I don't mean spam, I mean send samples to well established reviewers on those communities. Now if you're rich and can offer to have TV advertisements, hire minor celebrities and so on, go for it, I'm just saying there are easier ways.

    As I said, bad marketing is what makes those shops fail, I know not all of them are aiming big, but some definitely can. Lunableu is awesome. One of my favorite perfumes is made by a local shop in Kuwait which makes cheap knock-offs of major perfumes for $10. It comes in a terrible bottle that leaks, and is labeled as a Tom Ford Extreme duplicate. It smells nothing like Extreme, but it's just as complex and magical. If put in a better bottle with slightly better marketing, it could easily sell for 5 times as much.

    Personally, I've been thinking about start my own brand for about 2 years now. I could a few friends who study market, as well as my dad having some experience in that field. I never made perfume but I'm somewhat knowledgeable, just need someones experience, though finding someone in Kuwait shouldn't be hard. I'm an artist and have done quite some graphic design, so bottles and website are no problem. No bottles don't have to be fancy or expensive, just nice generic bottles and professional labels (look at fredric malle's for christ sake! his perfumes sell for as much as Amouage's while Amouage bottles cost 10 times as much). Of course, the only problem being money.

    That said, if you've got the money for the capital, all you need is to think smart and really really good marketing, marketing will either require you to have even more money, or just acquire the right skills, know the right people and work hard. You could always start small and do your juice making and bottle making (e.g. buy generic quality bottles and have a professional label) in a small workshop.

    Sorry for the long post, this is not all I have to share, I don't want to make a post too long that nobody would read, but this idea has been haunting me for a while. Especially that I travel a lot, know different markets, and I'm from the middle east so it's sort of in my blood hope I was helpful

  5. #5

    Default Re: The fragrance seen as a business

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekove View Post


    -No professional bottle designer/website designer:
    It is not as hard as it seems, here are two scenarios:
    THIS! It's a huge pet peeve of mine that there are still businesses out there without functioning websites. It's an absolute must, first and foremost (perhaps even before the products themselves) to have an attractive, fully functioning and useful website.

    Personally, I would stay away from the image of being "homemade" or "natural" because it sometimes (often times) comes off as a bit amateur. Classy, streamline and modern, I'd seek to create a distinct niche within the industry. Pricing is another huge issue, as as a start-up company I want to make sure that I am both targeting a specific demographic while not pigeonholing myself into such a small group of potential customers as to make my investments trivial. I think I would price them at a slightly higher price point than most designer scents, somewhere in the 85$-120$ range. I'd also make sure as to not spread myself too thin upon introduction, no one needs 15 mediocre scents right away, the range should expand at a natural and comfortable pace.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: The fragrance seen as a business

    To me, distribution is key. There are many of us in here who constantly scan and scour for unique and unorthodox choices in scent. But we are a pretty select group. Trying to make a dent without some sort of mainstream distribution is going to make it tough. I know little about the "business" but I bet it's hard as hell to crack into the big department store chains until you're very, very established. You could create a scent with the appeal of the cologne used by the guy in PERFUME the "art" of it won't sway anyone in this business.

    I don't profess to be an expert on this, but can anyone site a well selling fragrance that is almost entirely dependent on web sales only? Maybe Sanoma Studios?

    And as mtg said, a professional, well designed site is critical. A cheap, cut rate looking web site would scare people away from Creed, Chanel or Amouage. Unless you have a real design bent, if you design it yourself, it will look like you designed it yourself. Not going inspire people to take a flyer that the products any good no matter how good it may be.

    To me, the potential is there to establish your self using many of the tools becoming more available to all of us; youtube, forums, reviewers. But it's still an undertaking that will require patience in droves. And you better really be good at what you're doing with the scent(s). Not just you think you're good. Lots of people think you're good. Lots.

    And even with all that, look how competitive the field is. How many new scents were released this year from well established houses. And how many "average" consumers can you draw to your product. The most you can hope for out of a forum like this is to build some word of mouth that may bleed outside of here.
    Last edited by StylinLA; 4th September 2010 at 10:44 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The fragrance seen as a business

    You could try the Bond No.9 cheesy style of snazzy marketing the hell outta popular rip offs. I still wouldn't buy it from you but I know many would. Heh.

    Or you could go the indie route and build up a cult following. Sonoma Scent Studio is a pretty good example.

    Two things that will keep any self-starter going though: 'passion' and 'belief'.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The fragrance seen as a business

    There are many ways, I guess, especially since luck, hype and responses of the very first customers play one helluva role.

    I E

    Andy Tauer. I dont even know how he managed to get his foot into the market but he stays there due to creativity, I daresay, and not the least due to his incredible customer service, that many of us have already experienced. But I think this only works as long as you're happy to be that extra-special Niche guy, supplying people like BNs.
    Smellin good

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