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  1. #1
    Super Member Sicktrick's Avatar
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    Default why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Are designer's scents inferior? - I got this question in other thread and all joke aside, why is it so?

    Is it about the ingredients? is it about the formula? the hype?

    How can you explain to a newcomer why paying 150$ on 100ml is worth it when you can get something decent for 40$ at your local mall?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    There are reasons why niche are more expensive.

    1. They use more expensive higher quality ingredients
    2. They take greater risks in creativity than designers, and risks entail high payoff
    3. They take pride in exclusivity. People are paying more money to smell different from everyone else.
    4. Niche companies may be happy with serving a small base and if they lowered the price, they wouldn't have enough juice to serve everyone.

    Whether the higher price is worth it is up to you. Prices aren't universally directed to everyone, but just at the people who are able and willing to pay them.

    Think of a niche fragrance like an iphone. The new $500 iphone is great and worth the money if you have the money and want a great phone, but there are still plenty of cheaper smartphones $100-150 that work great and are a perfect terminal choice for anyone.

    Personally, I like both designer and niche. To me, both are worth it at their respective price lines.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Limited availability

  4. #4

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Higher quality + not all perfume buyers can sniff Invasion Barbare, Jicky extrait, Malle's POAL OR Carnal Flower or French Lover or Dior's Leather Oud and like them or be able to break down & appreciate the complex notes; these are like an acquired taste - like going from drinking beer to vintage single malt scotch. I would prefer a Lagavulin 16yr to beer any day, if I offered the same to my cousin bro in college, he'll go WTF?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    To specifically answer your question in a word, "No". They just are not limited to fragrances only.

    I think most of the discrepancies in niche fragrances' generally higher cost comes down to their relatively limited production efficiencies and limited distribution channels (though some niche brands cost less than some designer brands despite this). Many large designer brands gain the cost efficiencies of large production runs that most niche (or small limited distribution designer) houses can't match. I don't think one is "superior" to another, just different. I also completely disagree with the general statements by some that niche scents use more expensive and/or higher quality ingredients... Just like anything else, some do, some don't. The other thing to consider are the many vintage designer scents that often have ingredients (and/or ingredient levels) that can't be had with *nearly* any offerings today (designer or niche).

    The bottom line is that there are no general rules as to which is superior to the other, they just have different objectives and all fragrances need to be judged individually as there are excellent offerings available of both (and the opposite holds as well, of course). I am happy to have many examples of both offerings in my collection of all prices low and high and wouldn't have it any other way.
    Last edited by drseid; 15th February 2013 at 02:37 PM.
    Current Top Favorites:
    1) Portrait of a Lady (EdP Frédéric Malle)
    2) Giorgio for Men vintage (Giorgio Beverly Hills)
    3) Dia Man vintage edt (Amouage)
    4) Les Nombres d'Or Vetyver (Mona di Orio) - tie
    4) Lalfeorosa (O'driù) - tie

    6) Anat Fritz Original Formula and Classical (Anat Fritz)
    7) Captain vintage (Molyneux)
    8) Tzora (Anat Fritz)

  6. #6

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by noirdrakkar View Post
    There are reasons why niche are more expensive.

    1. They use more expensive higher quality ingredients
    2. They take greater risks in creativity than designers, and risks entail high payoff
    3. They take pride in exclusivity. People are paying more money to smell different from everyone else.
    4. Niche companies may be happy with serving a small base and if they lowered the price, they wouldn't have enough juice to serve everyone.

    Whether the higher price is worth it is up to you. Prices aren't universally directed to everyone, but just at the people who are able and willing to pay them.

    Think of a niche fragrance like an iphone. The new $500 iphone is great and worth the money if you have the money and want a great phone, but there are still plenty of cheaper smartphones $100-150 that work great and are a perfect terminal choice for anyone.

    Personally, I like both designer and niche. To me, both are worth it at their respective price lines.
    This...

    But I'll disagree on the phone analogy...an iPhone could be had for zero dollars. Thus not making exclusive like niche perfumery. In my opinion a better analogy would have been let's say...a high end supercar like a Bugatti Veyron...you wont see that everywhere on the road...so more like niche...it caters to whom can afford one. Unlike say a Ford Mustang which can easily be seen and had on the road!

  7. #7

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Name, hype, ingredients, exclusivness and limited accessability. And can't forget about price!

  8. #8

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    It is usually their sole income so try harder to make something interesting instead of ridiculous populist briefs on what we are supposed to like. Make 'em cheap and stack them high.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    They produce less and sell less.

  10. #10

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    It's a very fundamental nature of market appeal, branding, and f**king money. Lol.

    I'm trying to figure out why the same sort of thing doesn't happen in the film and music industries. Please weigh in with your thoughts, I'm pretty curious. Why is it that indie music or art house films that aim at a nicher demographic make less money? Why aren't the prices of indie films twice the price of the latest Christopher Nolan movie, for example?

  11. #11

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    It also boils down to the purchase price of the ingredients and pure number crunching.

    If I were to buy 500kg of Vetiver, then it would be a lot cheaper per ml than if I bought 2kg. If I were making 50,000 bottles then each would be cheaper than the 500 or less that a niche perfumer may make. All follows as such.

    Each to their own really.

  12. #12

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    I very much doubt it has to do anything with the price of ingredients and much more to do with the limited market they sell to.

    Designer fragrances can be bought anywhere. When you sell something in mass quantities the price required to produce the product goes down.

    I'm no expert, but I think people would be surprised how little of the cost of a bottle actually goes towards the ingredients.

    I do think there is a certain idea that niche can go for much higher prices just by being defined as "niche." It brings on the feeling of a premium, specialized, and high class product. People will pay more for that.

  13. #13

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    I think the first thing I want to say here is that niche isn't always more expensive.

    It also depends on just what you mean by niche - the unspoken assumption in the replies so far is that niche is produced on a small scale by independent producers with a level of artistic freedom unavailable to those making designer and other mass-market scents. It's certainly true that that is the case for many (though some apparently niche houses are really offshoots of a bigger house). It would also be difficult to argue that Jean Claude Ellena, for example, does not have artistic freedom in composing for Hermes, even though they are a design house (on the other hand they are hardly cheap either, which may be a clue as to the real difference).

    In my own work I tend to use a lot more naturals than mass-market fragrances generally have (about 10 times as much as the average) and that increases my costs. On the other hand because I'm buying on a small scale, the cost difference between using naturals and synthetics isn't as great as it would be if I was manufacturing by the tonne. Plus of course as others have said, buying everything from bottles to alcohol on a small scale makes things cost more per unit.

    What I think you are paying for, when and if you pay a premium for a niche fragrance, is artistic integrity: the difference between an artist producing something because they were inspired to do so, according to their own artistic standards and to their own concept of beauty. As distinct from an artist constrained to produce something to a pre-defined budget, to meet a pre-defined marketing brief and to go into a bottle designed before the fragrance it will contain.

    Another difference is that mass-market fragrance is generally tested to death by focus groups until anything that might offend anyone has been eliminated - where the niche house only needs to please those small numbers who buy from them.

    Not that this is something I feel strongly about or anything . . .
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oupavoc View Post
    But I'll disagree on the phone analogy...an iPhone could be had for zero dollars.


    How, a five finger discount?

    Any good phone you get for free must come with a bad plan.

  15. #15

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    You can buy a nice hand painted painting from a small exhibition or a full blown Turner. The artist is who you are after presumably. The item is essentially identical in all but the feeling you have when it is yours. It all depends how much you desire something, whether the next person is likely to have one the same or not and if that matters to you. You could argue that a CD doesn't cost much to produce, nor does an iphone and nor does a canvas with the paint. It just isn't the point.

  16. #16
    Super Member Sicktrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Thank you all for the very insightful answers!

    For now I think the best explanation is this: better ingredients. daring, uncommon, unique smell [ although, there are a lot of "niche" fragrances that smell common or even bad ] and of course the good ol' feel you have while wearing something you know you chose. When someone says "Wow" I never smelled that. Maybe there's a little snobbery at play too

    " You could argue that a CD doesn't cost much to produce, nor does an iphone and nor does a canvas with the paint. It just isn't the point." this sums it up for me.

    Thank you.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Weirdly I just read this on my WP reader discussion exactly this question. Hope you enjoy it, well worth it!

    http://memoryofscent.wordpress.com/2...-real-quality/

    long entry though.
    Last edited by Sicktrick; 15th February 2013 at 06:55 PM.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Incontinent View Post
    I'm trying to figure out why the same sort of thing doesn't happen in the film and music industries. Please weigh in with your thoughts, I'm pretty curious. Why is it that indie music or art house films that aim at a nicher demographic make less money? Why aren't the prices of indie films twice the price of the latest Christopher Nolan movie, for example?
    This is not the board to discuss, but you are not considering that indie films have smaller production and promotion budgets, therefore they are selling a 90 minute film at a far more elevated price than, say, Disney sells theirs.

  18. #18

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Niche fragrances are expensier than designers for several reasons....

    - some of them come in extremely limited batches
    - some include top quality ingredients
    - some are composed by hyped perfumers who ask big money
    - some are pricier just to give the illusion of exclusivity (marketing)
    - some are genuine
    - some are not

    don't let the price (either high or low) mislead you. Let your nose be the judge...


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  19. #19

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by noirdrakkar View Post
    How, a five finger discount?

    Any good phone you get for free must come with a bad plan.
    Though extremely off-topic....you can get a 2 year old iPhone for free with a 2 year plan. Phone analogies don't fit at all anyways, in order to have a phone for cheap you have to sign a contract...I can't remember the last time I forgot to pay my bill and my atomizers stopped working.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    They're so expensive so that people can find cheaper substitutes and feel like they've made a million bucks and tell you about it.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    They are more expensive for one reason only - because people are willing to pay that much for them.

    People are willing to pay that much for any number of reasons - exclusivity, perceived quality, artistry, uniqueness, etc. - but for the company that sells the product all that matters is that they are. Luxury products are not a cost plus business - the maker will charge what the market will accept regardless of the cost of production.
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    As a new frag collector, I would not worry over niche or it's hype you hear everywhere on the board. They are overpriced and you have so many fantastic designer frags to discover yet that won't cost an arm and a leg.
    Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity - COCO CHANEL

  23. #23

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Niche fragrances arn't more expensive. Their prices vary, as do those of designer fragrances.

    On the other hand there's niche, and then there's 'niche,' some appear to identify anything expensive, and well liked enough to not oblige the buyer to stand on their own sense of taste while also being unusual enough that they can pretend they are as niche, meaning better. That is to say it allows them to feel comfortable in the belief that they will appear to others to have excellent taste. Such things also need to be expensive because people with excellent taste traditionally seek out the finer things and those who were never exposed to the finer things, or taught to recognize them can only rely on the idea that if good things are expensive expensive things must be good. Niche in that sense is always more expensive because exploiting peoples insecurity is very profitable.

  24. #24

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    Limited availability
    This. Period.

    But just to say that niche isn't always more expensive.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by rubegon View Post
    They are more expensive for one reason only - because people are willing to pay that much for them.

    People are willing to pay that much for any number of reasons - exclusivity, perceived quality, artistry, uniqueness, etc. - but for the company that sells the product all that matters is that they are. Luxury products are not a cost plus business - the maker will charge what the market will accept regardless of the cost of production.
    i like this answer very much!!

    among luxury there are: established names, and newcomers....
    to make a name for luxury you have to offer good product at first (that allways includes quality , originality)...after that you can sell more of a NAME less of the quality which some of them do nowdays! and dwell on the past success watering down their heroes

    this is very complex topic,

    but general rule is producing high quality luxury stuff can not be mass production,hence all else,
    but many of niche companies have products i believe that can fall into category of mass production only if someone would want to do it on large scale i.e. use aromachemiclas a looot

  26. #26

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    I've been told it's because they have more natural ingredients, which end up costing more to put in a fragrance.
    Honestly, they aren't inferior to designer. I'd rather buy 3 good designer scents than 1 niche.

  27. #27

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by alfarom View Post
    Niche fragrances are expensier than designers for several reasons....

    - some of them come in extremely limited batches
    - some include top quality ingredients
    - some are composed by hyped perfumers who ask big money
    - some are pricier just to give the illusion of exclusivity (marketing)
    - some are genuine
    - some are not

    don't let the price (either high or low) mislead you. Let your nose be the judge...
    Quote Originally Posted by rubegon View Post
    They are more expensive for one reason only - because people are willing to pay that much for them.

    People are willing to pay that much for any number of reasons - exclusivity, perceived quality, artistry, uniqueness, etc. - but for the company that sells the product all that matters is that they are. Luxury products are not a cost plus business - the maker will charge what the market will accept regardless of the cost of production.
    The posts above sum it up perfectly. Ensuing with an off-topic and irrelevant tidbit: I have 'quite a few' (vague) niche fragrances in decant bottles. Costs less, but it's still the juice. I think of myself as a collector of the juice of fragrances and not the bottles. It's the same exact juice but at an economic advantage. Of course, collectors of the bottles will want to pay more for them for the reason of collecting alone.

    I think the whole "niche fragrances uses higher quality ingredients!" shtick is overstated in many cases, but perhaps in some ways it's true. A couple of niche scents that I have die out within an hour or two. That doesn't discount the alleged higher quality ingredients, but it discourages me from wanting to continue wearing the juice.

    I have to roll my eyes when I see someone's top 10 consist of only niche fragrances. That and the snobs that clearly look down at designer fragrances in such a prissy way is (are?) silly. Comparing my favorite niche scents to my favorite designer scents, the only 'niche' frags that I would 100% take over my designers are Aventus (personal reasons, honestly; makes me happy, reminds me of my dad, great scent) and Tobacco Vanille (again, for personal reasons, honestly; wore this when I met my fiancee). Yet, despite that, I could also say Liz Claiborne's "Lucky You" could go above the others for nostalgia alone, or even Emporio Armani Diamonds for Men because of the memories it brings of late 2008 and the entire year of 2009 (for me).

    It's all about your nose and your personal preferences. You might like Bod's "Fresh Blue Musk" over, say, Millesime Imperial (extreme example, but I'm just saying). One might prefer Michael Jordan Legend over New Haarlem. And vice versa.

    I went on an off-topic tangent by way of an accident. Apologies.

  28. #28

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Quality.

    Quality of ingredients (whether natural or aromachemical).
    Quality of r&d to arrive at end product. Keeping in mind its a dedicated entity (most of the time) compiled together to come up with perfumes for customers.

    for swap/sale:





  29. #29

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    designer fragrances "can" have lower prices --- economies of scale

    niche prices --- brand positioning, limited distribution, "exclusivity" price

  30. #30

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    Interesting thread.

    So, what is the bottle volume production of say a mainstream fragrance like CK One, Cool Water, Nautica, etc.. vs Tom Ford Private Blend, Creed, and so on...

  31. #31

    Default Re: why are niche fragrances more expensive?

    I got a quick answer for this...Designer house's want some of the money of all the populace ....Niche house's want all the money from some of the populace! Lol, but so true you can quote me on this one!
    "Thank GOD for the nose, for without it we would not be enjoying these beautiful created Scents" also Remember "Balance is everything and the key to appreciating "

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