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  1. #1

    Default FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    I just read the press release announcing the 2013 FiFi Indie Award Nominees, and I am floored. First of all, how is there no Slumberhouse on this list? Even though Pear+Olive topped countless Best of 2012 lists (Cafleurebon had it second only to Musc Tonkin and EauMG gave it the top honor), it is not even in the running. And no offense to some of the nice perfumers who are represented below, but I've worn many of those fragrances, and they do not come close to the originality, artistry, beauty, and even engineering behind Pear+Olive. And where is Vero Profumo's Mito? Isabelle Doyen's daring Turtle Vetiver Front? Any of Christopher Brosius' great 2012 releases? These were all scents whose novelty and craftsmanship would have made them tops in any category--indie or otherwise. How does a list like this happen? How are such great pieces of art overlooked? Is the Fragrance Foundation really so out of touch that they snub the entire blogosphere when they compile these nominees?

    I cannot take this seriously. What a joke.

    Full Press Release: https://www.fragrance.org/press-release.php?id=123

    Nominees:

    Amber Oud by Kilian By Kilian, Inc.
    Boutonnière No. 7 - ARQUISTE Parfumeur ARQUISTE Parfumeur
    Bowmakers by D.S. & Durga D.S. & Durga
    Broderie by Hayari - Paris Hayari - Paris
    "Calling All Angels" April Aromatics April Aromatics
    CUIRELLE - Ramon Monegal Barcelona Ramon Monegal Perfumes Barcelona
    Eau de Flog, Opus Oils Opus Oils
    EAU MONUMENTALE by THIRDMAN Third Man Inc.
    Edward Bess "Eau La La" Edward Bess
    Glam Monster Donato Style LLC
    INEKE HOTHOUSE FLOWER INEKE LLC
    Intimacy eau de parfum JoAnne Bassett
    LADY DAY by Maria Candida GENTILE Maria Candida GENTILE
    LE CHERCHE MIDI NO. 30 EAU D’HIVER LE CHERCHE MIDI
    "Le Smoking" for Denver Art Museum DSH Perfumes
    Lightscape Ulrich Lang New York Ulrich Lang New York
    Meadow & Fir - Phoenix Botanicals Phoenix Botanicals
    Moss Gown - Providence Perfume Co. Providence Perfume Co.
    Purusa Root by Sebastian Signs Sebastian Signs Fragrances Company (LLC)
    Qajar Rose - Lalun Naturals, Inc. Parfums Lalun, Lalun Naturals, Inc.
    RAW SPIRIT "Firetree" Fragrance Oil World Senses Pty Ltd.
    Rima XI - Carner Barcelona Carner Barcelona
    Rodin , L. Rodin, LLC Rodin Olio Lusso
    SPEAKEASY by P. Frapin & Cie P. Frapin & Cie
    Strawberry Passion by Skye Botanicals Skye Botanicals
    TERRASSE A ST-GERMAIN, JUL ET MAD JUL ET MAD
    TRAYEE, NEELA VERMEIRE CREATION NEELA VERMEIRE CREATIONS
    Treazon by Ayala Moriel Parfums Ayala Moriel Parfums
    WILD ROSES BY AFTELIER PERFUMES AFTELIER PERFUMES
    WOODY by smell bent smell bent

    - - - Updated - - -

    And don't get me wrong: there are some very good perfumes on that list (also a few not-so-good ones). But if I were someone up for this prize, frankly, I would be embarrassed to know that the real showstoppers of the year weren't even in the competition. It would be like winning something on a technicality and not for merit.

    Sorry, I am just in total shock and disbelief that Pear+Olive is not on that list. This is a scent that not only has depth and intricacy, but honestly, if you had told me it was engineered by Jean-Claude Ellena himself for all its diaphanous tenacity (an oxymoron to be sure, but isn't that the true hallmark of a master?), I would have believed it. It gave me a whole new hope for American perfumery. How does this happen?!
    Last edited by Beranium Chotato; 15th January 2013 at 07:29 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    I suspect it has to do with who sets forth the nominations, and who those people happen to mingle with.

    Maybe , as a perfume maker, if you don't have a booth at the frag shows, you never make the connections you need in order to be noticed by "the right people".

    It's also possible that Slumberhouse is not an IFRA member, and that his ( and some other indies) things don't conform the the EU regs, and thus can't be sold there.
    Last edited by Birdboy48; 15th January 2013 at 08:02 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Quote Originally Posted by Birdboy48 View Post
    I suspect it has to do with who sets forth the nominations, and who those people happen to mingle with.

    Maybe , as a perfume maker, if you don't have a booth at the frag shows, you never make the connections you need in order to be noticed by "the right people".
    I'm sure that does figure into it--in particular maybe whether the perfumer is willing to play the game. But I spent some time at fragrance shows this year, and even though there was no booth, everyone was talking about Pear+Olive and Mito. There really was no escaping the buzz surrounding some of those releases, and the end-of-year wrap-ups all reflected it.

    Even though this is a total rant, it comes from the optimist in me (or idealist perhaps) who thinks that an award should be given on merit and not based on....I don't even know what this is. It would be pretty funny if the nominees overlapped substantially with people active in the Fragrance Foundation. Which I suppose is fine, but let's not pretend this an industry award.

  4. #4

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Politics bro.

  5. #5

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Quote Originally Posted by sjg3839 View Post
    Politics bro.
    Yes, I'm sure you're right. I think it will be the FF that loses in the end though because, short of producing this list, the only thing they could do to look worse would be to plaster a 50' foot banner outside their office that says WE'RE IRRELEVANT.

    No, actually, this list is worse.

    - - - Updated - - -

    It is definitely time for the bloggers to band together and create their own award. Something with integrity and credibility. You've got my attention, bloggers. Do it!

  6. #6
    Dependent Birdboy48's Avatar
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    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Bloggers could do the nominating, one of the decanting services could put together sample sets, and "actual consumers" could do the voting.

  7. #7

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Quote Originally Posted by Birdboy48 View Post
    Bloggers could do the nominating, one of the decanting services could put together sample sets, and "actual consumers" could do the voting.
    I also like the idea of professionals voting. It would be nice to see both sides.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Yep, it would seem that the nominating process is where the issue is.

    And perhaps the thing about some indie frags not being EU compliant.

    Too much "outsiderisum" might be seen as disqualifying certain houses.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Amen!
    "You are here to enable the Divine purpose of the Universe to unfold. That is how important you are."

    -- Eckhart Tolle

  10. #10

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    you mean bloggers or indie bloggers?


    Discover my Guest Reviewer Of The Day here

  11. #11

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    The following conversation with a person from the world of fragrance journalism whom I respect. I removed his name since this was had in a private Facebook group.

    Name Removed OK, time out - here's the big secret - first of all, The Fragrance Foundation considers ANYONE who submits their fragrance for consideration to be a "Nominee." And it is up to the fragrance company to submit their own fragrances for consideration. If you don't submit, then you cannot be considered. Then, from the list of "nominees," there are 5 fragrances chosen, and these are called "Finalists." And it is the "Finalists" who are the true nominees, in the sense of the word. But the Fragrance Foundation's classification of nominee and finalist is not heavily defined. So - don't be appalled. Because if your favorite 2012 release isn't on the list, it's because the company couldn't be bothered to submit it. And don't get too congratulatory yet if someone tells you they are a nominee - it's not that hard. It just means they filled out their paperwork and wrote out a check before the deadline.
    28 minutes ago · Like · 1

    Brian Chambers You mean submit with a $400 check and a one day deadline?
    27 minutes ago · Like

    Name Removed They had more than a day. I know companies that were working on it for months.
    26 minutes ago · Like

    Brian Chambers If you are going to recognize artistry in fragrance, you have to consider perfumers as artists. They are not necessarily people who will nominate themselves. If you expect big check and self-nominations, you should make the award for most ambitious perfumer with deep pockets.
    26 minutes ago · Like

    Name Removed But yes, submitting the check, and submitting samples/bottles for distribution amongst the judges is the key."
    26 minutes ago · Like

    Brian Chambers Slumberhouse received an entry form on 12/12 for a due date of 12/14.
    26 minutes ago · Like

    Name Removed You're assuming the Fragrance Foundation functions like a big, well-oiled machine. In fact, they've scaled down to the point where it's amazing that they're still in existence.
    25 minutes ago · Like

    Brian Chambers I doubt Vero Kern or Christopher Brosius would ever nominate themselves either. This type of nomination process is self-selecting.
    24 minutes ago · Like

    Brian Chambers It doesn't matter how big or small they are. That is a terrible nomination process. It short-changes the artists who are not self-submitters and it discredits the ones who are because they don't get to compete against the fragrances that everyone knows should be on that list.
    23 minutes ago · Like

    Name Removed Yes, but it's no different than many awards. If you as a television actor want to win an Emmy, you first have to select an episode of yours to submit to be considered.
    22 minutes ago · Like

    Brian Chambers $400 per fragrance is a ridiculous entry fee, too. I understand the importance of entry fees as my partner is a writer. I don't think even the Pulitzer has a $400 fee. That's absurd. Comparing television actors (whose episodes are submitted by studios) to artisanal perfumers who in some cases may not be good business people btw is not valid.
    20 minutes ago · Like

    Brian Chambers I'm not saying the FF is bad or not well-intentioned. I actually believe that they are trying to do something good. But this is a wreck. That list should not be so completely, utterly, massively disconnected from the criticism in the blogosphere.
    17 minutes ago · Like

    Brian Chambers That gap is too big.
    17 minutes ago · Like

  12. #12

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Oh c'mon, it breaks the heart of My Little Pony to see how obvious Strawberry Passion deserves to be in held in a much higher regard above the likes of Vero Kern and Slumberhouse. It's obvious to anyone who has a nose, that Strawberry Passion is way more creative than Vero Kern's Mito. It takes the cajones of a 4000 pound giant chipmonk to be so bold as to even consider naming a fragrance Strawberry Passion, now that's avant guarde! And have you tried the Noir Extreme Intense extract of Strawberry Passion??? And who god's pink earth wants to smell like a smouldering stinky vetiver when you can smell like: Strawberry Passion!

  13. #13

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Strawberry Passion rocks!

    I imagine a bottle of your nominated perfume sent to the judges would help get it some attention. Slumberhouse needs to employ a good Public Relations team. Lobbyists - that's how the world goes round these days, right? Hidden persuader men

    Music and advertising awards have been part of my life here for a couple of decades - essentially a joke. Everyone knows it but most people play the game . . .

  14. #14

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    In all seriousness, I'm still in shock over this. FiFi sounds like a pitiful pathetic organization with zero integrity. So let me get this straight: the way you win is to nominate yourself, and the way you decide who wins is to nominate yourself onto the voting selection committee. Is that how it works?

    Who is FiFi, it sounds like its run by a couple of broke losers trying to cash in, kind of like the crack pot conmen that start fake charities after a disaster.

    They sound so rinky dink, and corrupt. Like its the fragrance equivelent of pay to play, corrupt as payola. Which means that any artist who has enough class to not vote for themselves is not even in the system. Which then means middling fragrances at best make it into their categories, or those who just feel like throwing money to the losers who run FiFi.

  15. #15

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Victoria over on EauMG makes the excellent point that many of those listed releases don't even have a perfumer's name attached to them.

    I think there is a fundamental flaw in a system that lumps together in one category Givaudan and Smell Bent. If that's not a giant WTF I don't know what is. I think many of the issues about the category, the nomination process, and the list of nominees can be traced back to the category not having any coherence. E.g., $400 probably seems like a perfectly good entry fee for Givaudan. But to many other worthy scentmakers, that is nothing more than a red flag that this whole thing is bunk.

  16. #16

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    The whole thing sounds cracky. "Emerging" perfumers should not be lumped in with big corporations. Self nomination is as bad as the Koch brothers or the NRA buying off congress. And Pay to Play sounds like its set up for for the conmen running FiFi than for the industry, the perfumers, or the consumers.


    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    Victoria over on EauMG makes the excellent point that many of those listed releases don't even have a perfumer's name attached to them.

    I think there is a fundamental flaw in a system that lumps together in one category Givaudan and Smell Bent. If that's not a giant WTF I don't know what is. I think many of the issues about the category, the nomination process, and the list of nominees can be traced back to the category not having any coherence. E.g., $400 probably seems like a perfectly good entry fee for Givaudan. But to many other worthy scentmakers, that is nothing more than a red flag that this whole thing is bunk.

  17. #17

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Quote Originally Posted by firehorse View Post
    In all seriousness, I'm still in shock over this. FiFi sounds like a pitiful pathetic organization with zero integrity. So let me get this straight: the way you win is to nominate yourself, and the way you decide who wins is to nominate yourself onto the voting selection committee. Is that how it works?.
    You do have to nominate yourself, and that's a complicated subject. Many prestigious literary awards are given via a process of self-submission. So why do those awards attract (mostly) an appropriately broad range of writers and the Fifi Indie has failed? I think they should be asking themselves that.

    I would begin with:

    1. Sending out a submission form requiring a one day turnaround time and $400 per fragrance (plus two bottles of each fragrance) gives the impression that the award does not have integrity.
    2. Perfumers with integrity do not want to be associated with an award that does not have integrity. It's goes against much of what they believe and represent.
    3. This is a relatively new category from an award that is known historically for recognizing achievement in large-scale corporate offerings. There is a very bad fundamental assumption that indie perfumers would even WANT to self-nominate until the award and category have some credibility in their world. The Fifi Indie hasn't earned that yet, and it can't unless it designs a process that caters somewhat to the other model.
    4. The ill-defined category has got to be off-putting. They created two groups, indie and artisanal, but it appears that those are getting judged together. Thus the ridiculously overbroad nominee list.

    Self-nomination is part of the problem but not all of it. I think if the more fundamental problems were addressed, self-nomination might eventually work. The issue is that this award has basically totally discredited itself before it will ever be given that chance.

  18. #18

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    I think the problem then is in "nominating" verses "submitting" or "applying." The process needs to broken down, and the integrity needs to step way up.

    In the world where I work, emerging artists/designer "apply" to jury and peer reviewed shows. The application fee to apply is around $35. So the $ risk is low and to get accepted is a prestige.

    Then once you are in the show, you are judged in different categories and the awards are given out.

    Also, emerging artists are given a one time discounted amount to participate.

    FiFi's process seems to have no credibility or standards. It's a joke.
    Last edited by firehorse; 15th January 2013 at 10:56 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    the funny part is when you search fifi on urban dictionary

  20. #20

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    There used to be a time when an organization like the FF could grant awards like this, and I'm sure everyone just went along. If it appeared to make no sense, people's insecurity has a funny way of making them think that perhaps they have poor taste and not the award granters. But an interesting thing is possible in 2013. Even though perfume blogging is far from perfect, it is quite simple to do a bit of back-of-the-napkin aggregation and get a real sense of what is resonating with critics and what's not. The absolutely perplexing thing is the number of scents that are repeated over and over in the "best of" lists that don't even qualify for a nomination in the FiFi world.

    Have a look for yourself...

    [Blough/CFB]
    1. Chypre Palatin
    2. Seven Veils

    [Reasinger/CFB]
    1. Myrrhe et Delires
    2. I Love NY Marriage Equality
    3. Interlude Man
    4. Forbidden
    5. Casbah
    Ares EDP
    Pear + Olive
    Far Away Exotic
    Volutes EDP
    Aqua Rush

    [Vitale/CFB]
    1. Aedes de Venustas EDP

    [Devine/CFB]
    1. Pear + Olive
    2. Black Saffron
    Fields of Rubus
    Aedes de Venustas
    Mamluk

    [Sternberg/CFB]
    1. Spicebomb
    Shanghai
    L'Heure de Nuit
    Pear + Olive
    Whips and Roses

    [Nero Profumo]
    Songe d'Un Bois d'Eté
    Encens mythique D'Orient
    La Petite Robe Noire
    Mito
    Zafar
    Ramon Monegal (various)
    Trayee
    Mohur
    Anima Dulcis
    TAWAF
    Laurhum
    JMT
    Linfedele Haiku

    [EauMG]
    Pear + Olive
    Eau Sauvage Parfum
    Ramon Monegal (various)
    Neela Vermeire (various)
    Hint of Honeysuckle
    Scent of Departure (line)
    Von Euserdorff (line)

    [Victoria/Bois de Jasmin]
    Boutonnière No. 7
    Fils de Dieu
    Lumieère Blanche
    Jour d'Hermès
    Séville à l'Aube
    Une Voix Noire
    Tom Ford Noir
    Spicebomb
    Mito

    [Suzanna/Bois de Jasmin]
    La Vie en Rose
    Mon Patchouly
    Sepia
    Aedes de Venustas

    [Grain de Musc]
    L'Eau de Chloë
    Mito
    Boutonnière No. 7
    Perle de Mousse
    Lumière Blanche
    Blanc de Courrèges
    Infusion d'Iris AbsoluteMusc Tonkin

    [PP/Portia]
    Mohur
    Un Jour d'Eté
    Pear + Olive

    [PP/Tom]
    Mito

    [PP/Patty]
    Musc Tonkin
    Seville à l'Aube
    Naomi Goodsir, Neela Vermeire, Ann Gerard (new lines)
    Orangers en Fleurs
    Les Deserts d'Orient
    7 Billion Hearts
    Amouage (line)

    [PP/Musette]
    Interlude Woman
    Luberon
    L'Ambre de Merveilles
    Seville à l'Aube
    Ences Mythique d'Orient

    [Behnke/CFB]
    1. Musc Tonkin
    2. Pear + Olive
    3. Interlude Woman
    4. Lumière Blanche
    5. Fils de Dieu
    Liquidnight
    What we Do In Paris Is Secret
    Aedes de Venustas EDP
    Opus VI, Beloved, Interlude Man
    Boutonnière No. 7
    Ambre Nue, Rose Anonyme, Vetiver Fatal
    Bullion
    Rima XI
    7 Billion Hearts
    YSL Retrospective Collection
    Hothouse Flower
    Stilettos on Lex
    Turtle Vetiver Front
    MFK Oud
    Memo Luxor Oud
    Ylang in Gold
    Chypre Palatin
    Moss Gown
    Passerelle
    Lightscape

    Mito and Aedes de Venustas EDP appear 4 times in those lists. Pear+Olive appears 5 times! Either something has gone terribly wrong with the noses of our most respected bloggers or something is very, very broken about that nominee list.
    Last edited by Beranium Chotato; 16th January 2013 at 01:00 AM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    For me, some on the list are quite surprising, others are not.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Thanks for keeping the good stuff on the radar, Brian. As usual a very thought provoking post. And thanks to all the contributors!

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    I'm not trying to be sarcastic, but it seems to me to be misrepresentation when the FIFI awards are called "Best of the Year", when really they are only the best of the things which happened to be submitted.

    I know when I first heard of these awards, I assumed that they were an "industry wide" sort of thing, when really they are not that at all.

  24. #24

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    To understand the FiFi Awards it might be helpful to read a bit more about who is behind it: The Fragrance Foundation:
    http://www.fragrance.org/about-us.php and their timeline http://www.fragrance.org/timeline.php

    This is a non-profit foundation, sponsored by the industry that also created the Sense of Smell Institute, also non-profit but sponsored. They used to have much more money and 'power' but now they are merely supporting a website and pay a few people that are trying to keep it alive or people that do this as a favor. The appliance fee probably just barely pays for the man hours of the few involved in actually processing the applications.

    Also this is an US Foundation so it has nothing to do with the EU. Most artisans listed are US based and don't have to comply with EU regs unless they are selling to the EU (and even then, they mostly don't comply).

    It's actually pretty random and unorganized these days.

    But I think it's cool that some artisan perfumers can afford the $400, means that business is going well for them, right?
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    The facts on IFRA restrictions & EU regulations

  25. #25

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Sounds like they have no business model to work from, no employees, and they can't even afford interns. What's their next plan? Bake sales and car washes?

    It's really starting to seem that people in the know wouldn't self nominate because they wouldn't want their own brand tainted by being associated with such a rinky dink organization that gives out meaningless paid for awards.
    Last edited by firehorse; 16th January 2013 at 04:25 PM.

  26. #26

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Quote Originally Posted by firehorse View Post
    Sounds like they have no business model to work from, no employees, and they can't even afford interns. What's their next plan? Bake sales and car washes?

    It's really starting to seem that people in the know wouldn't self nominate because they wouldn't want their own brand tainted by being associated with such a rinky dink organization that gives out meaningless paid for awards.
    I wouldn't put is as bluntly as that. They are one of the first non-profit foundations of the fragrance industry (established in the 50's) and had a much bigger task and more money. They used to give out scholarships and other prestigious awards.
    But times have changed and money are tight.
    I think for most small artisan indie perfumers $400 is still a huge gamble fee for advertising.

    The award event itself is quite posh and tickets begin at $3000 a plate. It has the 'air' of one of those exclusive celebrities charity events.

    You can google images on 'fifi awards 2012' and see for yourself.
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Brian, to tell you the truth I think this award are fake...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Brian, to tell you the truth I think this award are fake...

  28. #28
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    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Quote Originally Posted by firehorse View Post
    I think the problem then is in "nominating", verses "submitting" or "applying." .
    I agree.

    It would seem that the makers of these frags "applied" and paid a cash entry fee to get into the running.

    This is much different than being "nominated" by a group of knowedgable experts.

    As a lay person, when I see a list of "nominees" I automatically assume that they were chosen by parties without a vested interest, who selected them from the full range of possible winners, as based upon their own personal knowledge of their worthiness.

    Whereas this process is much more like a contest, wherein the winners are chosen from a limited group of "artist's paid submissions" instead.

    Basically the list needs to be labeled as "submissions'. Calling them "nominees" seems to be purposely misleading.

  29. #29

    Default Re: FiFi Indie Nominations - What a Joke

    Quote Originally Posted by Birdboy48 View Post

    Basically the list needs to be labeled as "submissions'. Calling them "nominees" seems to be purposely misleading.
    Absolutely

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