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  1. #1

    Default The Origins of the Term 'Niche' ?

    Although the word ‘niche’ was borrowed into English from French, I’ve never actually heard a native Frenchman/-woman use the term to describe perfumery (someone feel free to correct me though).

    Perhaps because in French, ‘niche’, as a noun, can mean ‘dog kennel’, and therefore carries associations which it doesn’t in English.

    Perhaps because the adjective 'niche', which is presumably secondary to the noun, arose earlier in English than in French, and is thus more commonly used (I don't actually know this to be the case - I'm just guessing).

    At any rate, for those who have been actively involved with fragrances for a long time, could you say when you first became aware of ‘niche’ being used as an adjective in connection with perfumes?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Origins of the Term 'Niche' ?

    I was just in Paris and all the SAs referred to "niche" perfumes as premium.
    I think niche is an American terminology. Partially to be politically correct by calling regular perfumes designer and "premium" perfumes niche. It makes everyone happy. The regular buyer's status is maintained or even elevated by saying designer rather than regular or commercial(my preferred description) and niche buyers enjoy the word niche as it gives them a sort of exclusivity status.
    I prefer commercial, designer and high end.
    Commercial for brands like lacoste, Hugo boss, celebrity brands, CK, Joop, davidoff ...because they really are commercial in nature.
    Designers such as Dior, Chanel, Creed, Tom Ford (kinda), Hermes(partially), Etro, Lalique...
    High end : serge Lutens, Le Labo , Parfumerie Generale, Lorenzo Villoresi ...

  3. #3
    Lorna_May's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Origins of the Term 'Niche' ?

    As far as I know it is not only used in Perfumes. 'Niche' or 'Nicho' is used to define an elitist segment of anything to be marketed to high-class customers, and it is supossed to be exclusive or not massive.
    'Niche' strictly means little 'honor' place to put something... In my country also applied to funeral tombs placed in levels on a wall, but this is not the case...

    When I think on 'niche' talking about perfumes I think in those small places on the wall at jewelleryshops where they put the most expensive and exclusive pieces to be admired through a thick glass...

    it is the same for the perfumes, such treasures to be put on display in little spaces well protected to be admired as an exclusive piece of art ...so far than that image of regular or mainstream perfumes on the shelves sharing space with more and more units ready to be picked up for anyone who can pay a current price....


    '

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Origins of the Term 'Niche' ?

    niche, as a term, doesn't necessarily have to be exclusive or luxury. what it means is targeting a very specific part of the consumer market and providing for special demands.

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Origins of the Term 'Niche' ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sarıpatates View Post
    niche, as a term, doesn't necessarily have to be exclusive or luxury. what it means is targeting a very specific part of the consumer market and providing for special demands.
    This is very true.
    I'm guessing the locus for 'niche' being used adjectivally was the expression 'niche market' (i.e. intended for a niche in the market), giving rise to 'niche perfume'. It strikes me as a little odd though, that one doesn't speak of, for example, 'niche watches', or 'niche shoes' or whatever.
    And I'm still wondering when (and by whom) the phrase was coined.
    Oh well, another mysterium magnum...

  6. #6

    Default Re: The Origins of the Term 'Niche' ?

    I agree that it is odd. Perfumery is the only instance where I have seen it used in an almost derogatory manner. For the most part, designer as an adjective is mostly used to exalt the object. Designer shoes, as opposed to crap shoes I guess. A level beyond can always be implied by luxury. But there are also terms like haute, as in couture and cuisine.

    I'm afraid I don't know when it was first coined to express an elated position in perfumery.

    I think at first it was used to define small independent producers. Like microbreweries, indie movies/games and so forth.




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