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  1. #1

    Default Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    And if you don't know, feel free to guess, in terms of unrealistic aspects to the company. Now what I mean is that it looks like some "entrepreneur" was able to convince a few gullible investors that the fragrance industry was booming, so that all they would have to do is to go to a major fragrance-making company to create some niche-like fragrances, put them in fancy bottles, give the line a "high class" name, and sell them for a couple hundred dollars per 50 ml bottle.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    What are you even attempting to say Bigsly?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Most of them considering how much they cost to produce IMO.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by sjg3839 View Post
    Most of them considering how much they cost to produce IMO.
    Yes, after posting it I was thinking that perhaps a majority of them had this sort of beginning! LOL. Perhaps the better way to ask the question is if any of them are obviously just a "cash grab." And I wouldn't be surprised if some of them weren't designed to launder money!
    Last edited by Bigsly; 23rd August 2019 at 08:32 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Of course there are some that are cash grabs. To say the cost of materials is at all relevant to the product is silly though. A perfume loaded with real ambergris, oud, sandalwood, and orris butter is not worth more inherently than anything else; I expect that to draw great disagreement, but money is nothing and does not decide worth.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    is there one in particular you had in mind, that just recently launched????

    cash grab - probably
    launder money - doubtful, imo

  7. #7

    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Well, I'd say Creed is top contender for being a scam and not even caring to hide it. Charging more now for their 3.4OZ than what they used to back in 2106 for for their 4.0OZ is just a slap in the face.

    2016, I bought three 4oz bottles of Creed for less than 190 euro each, the only one I'd buy now is Spice and Wood because its too good, but I don't want to foment their greedy ways.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Schnitter View Post
    Well, I'd say Creed is top contender for being a scam and not even caring to hide it. Charging more now for their 3.4OZ than what they used to back in 2106 for for their 4.0OZ is just a slap in the face.

    2016, I bought three 4oz bottles of Creed for less than 190 euro each, the only one I'd buy now is Spice and Wood because its too good, but I don't want to foment their greedy ways.
    How is Creed a scam if they are offering a product and delivering that offered product? You not liking the price or thinking it should be cheaper does not mean it is a scam.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Haven't come across one yet that I collect that I would consider a scam.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    go to a major fragrance-making company to create some niche-like fragrances, put them in fancy bottles, give the line a "high class" name, and sell them for a couple hundred dollars per 50 ml bottle.
    This is exactly what Bigsly was asking about though, not a scam as in taking people's money and running away with it.

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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    Yes, after posting it I was thinking that perhaps a majority of them had this sort of beginning! LOL. Perhaps the better way to ask the question is if any of them are obviously just a "cash grab." And I wouldn't be surprised if some of them weren't designed to launder money!
    The perfume industry is living it's golden age in terms of creativity and amount of new products since the early 2010's, and business forecasts confirmed the growth of the global cosmetics industry to keep going at the current pace until its peak in 2022, with an estimated turnover of $400B+ at that time.

    That clearly attracts investors, and thus entrepreneurs.

    Nowadays (and since ~ 10 years, but nowadays, it's shockingly obvious), there are 2 types of new perfume houses popping-up:

    1/ Houses that want to make real perfume creations, while also taking advantage of the trend (no charity goal, not even with indie houses!). That's the minority, and that include indie houses, who unfortunately may not manage to survive given the harsh competition, despite their high quality and creativity.

    2/ Houses who want to create a brand the fastest possible, that's why they hire perfumers in Big Chems (IFF, Firmenich and co) to make decent but crowdpleasing frags "with a twist", and use an aggressive pseudo-niche marketing using "alternate" channels on internet (that is youtube/forums/platforms like Fragrantica and BN).
    What for? Their goal is not making art, but increasing their sales the fastest possible in order to attract the attention of investors and possibly "seal the deal of their life", that is selling the company to Big Cosmetics Corp (Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, Puig, LVMH...). That's the wide majority of new perfume houses. Most of this houses are backed-up since day 1 of their existence by VC investors, and they have a business plan to follow.
    That's all the supposedly "niche" houses that have a lot of "good-but-not-groundbreaking" frags, that will please the masses and share similarities between frags from one house to another, in order to follow "trends", but more often than not disappoint real fragrance afficionados. That's the path that houses like MFK, Olfactive Studios, Atelier Cologne, Byredo, Tom Ford, By Kilian, Ex Nihilo, Bond n.9, Montale/Mancera and many others took, and that many houses are currently taking - basically 95% of the new copycats and oud-focused houses presented in Milan the last 3 years, and that includes very expensive ones. (I like some frags of these houses, but have to admit that none of these houses will have a frag in my "10 for life" ranking, and no frag from these houses have really "wowed" me).
    Many others have been bought by big corps (Lutens, Malle...), or looking to be bought soon (HdP, Pierre Guillaume...) but the approach and initial goal was less aggressive, and for sure the artistic direction at a different level than the previous example I cited.

    So... to answer the question: there is definitely an increase of "uninteresting" houses on the current market, that invest more on their images or the bullshit "in-house perfumer" story, than in perfume research. And don't forget that being known "only on forums or youtube" reviews is a type of marketing, and we are primary targets for these "new niche houses". (and willingly accepting to be market victims)

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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    Haven't come across one yet that I collect that I would consider a scam.
    You're a great diplomat Hednic, and I respect that, but you're not very objective here... Really... What about all these new oud-focused houses popping-up form the middle east, or all these pseudo-niche houses that invested more on the image than the content?

    Honestly... have you ever been blown away by a Byredo, Atelier Cologne or Bond n.9 fragrance? I may admit they have a few nice ones, but honestly, nothing that wowed me. Imo, these were VC-backed company more worried about capturing value from the new "average niche joe" segment than creativity (the "new riches" - or the ones who spend like if they were already), and created from day 1 with their future acquisition as main goal, more than developing a creative venture.

    Now... Obviously the word "scam" is not the proper word to legally define that, but still.... there's a scent of sharks targeting the cash-cows (us)... don't you think? (By the way, that is not specific to cosmetics, but unfortunately that's how the world works nowadays in many fields)

  13. #13

    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by CutSmut View Post
    How is Creed a scam if they are offering a product and delivering that offered product? You not liking the price or thinking it should be cheaper does not mean it is a scam.
    I explained it very well. I'll go even further... They shrinked the bottle size to 3.4 Oz and KEPT the same price... FOR THE SAME PRODUCT... that is a scam. And now, they even increased the price after that... so shrink in size plus increase in price. I did buy 3 bottles, so you saying "you dont like the price" doesn't apply here.. I just don't like them having no shame and doing what they did with no reason other than increase their earnings.

    They might not have been scamming before... but they sure are, at the very least, taking advantage of consumers now.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    What I meant was a company that has absolutely nothing going for them. The scents are derivative and seem to have cheap ingredients, there is a ludicrous "back story," and the prices/marketing tries to invoke "exclusive" and/or "high class." I don't consider Creed to be an example of this, as they have been around since before the niche phenomenon and some of their scents are clearly noteworthy. Yes, I can see the back story being an irritant to many, but I'm talking about a total nonsense situation, if that's the best way to phrase it.

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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    I agree with the amateur influx in niche during the past decade.
    I believe it might be due to a very young generational mindset that younger folks ( not all of them but a good amount) believe they can do anything without much training or knowledge and if they nail the marketing of their brand they can be successful.
    A small percentage luck out or have some naturally born talent or have taken the hard road and trained their butts of but they are the exception and not the majority.
    The market became way over flooded and I slowly pulled away from niche indie focus in my purchases.
    I Became really tired of spending a ton of money on scents that were incomplete for me in some area and started to feel dumb with buying into an image thru marketing.

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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Stuff like Parfums de Marly, which delivers retooled designer styles loaded down with heavier aromachems for performance, but tries to deliver a centuries-old backstory, and doesn't even give you the frilly packaging but thinks a heavy metal cap makes up for it, is clearly a scam.
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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zealot Crusader View Post
    Stuff like Parfums de Marly, which delivers retooled designer styles loaded down with heavier aromachems for performance, but tries to deliver a centuries-old backstory, and doesn't even give you the frilly packaging but thinks a heavy metal cap makes up for it, is clearly a scam.
    I'm totally with you on that one.
    I can feel you're upset... John Rambo would have worn his red band at that point, you decided to wear One Man Show.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Eh, what’s new? Charging exorbitanty for products is old news in the luxury goods sector. As long as there are people willing to pay for Veblen goods anyone is allowed to operate similar ‘scams’. Potential investors are always looking at profit margins...
    “...too many among us die at thirty and are buried at eighty.” - Robin Sharma

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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    What I meant was a company that has absolutely nothing going for them. The scents are derivative and seem to have cheap ingredients, there is a ludicrous "back story," and the prices/marketing tries to invoke "exclusive" and/or "high class." I don't consider Creed to be an example of this, as they have been around since before the niche phenomenon and some of their scents are clearly noteworthy. Yes, I can see the back story being an irritant to many, but I'm talking about a total nonsense situation, if that's the best way to phrase it.
    Hey Bigs! Do you have any specific fragrance ‘click bait’ styled companies in mind? When I originally read your thread I began to think of high priced clone companies that try to cash in on the popularity of a scent, even to the point of closely emulating the original’s name. They charge high prices, but promise greater value based on quality and performance type statements. I suppose, on the other hand, I do get that there’s a demographic for all styles of the art of perfumery. And how could I impose my value proposition of a house on another? But I think I see where you’re going with the thread, and am curiously reading the opinions here. Strictly speaking, scamming is deeper than value and there’s likely several houses (even ones that we don’t realize) that fit the definition of “scam” by using a dishonest scheme, swindling people, or even being fraudulent. Thanks!
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy the frenchy View Post
    You're a great diplomat Hednic, and I respect that, but you're not very objective here... Really... What about all these new oud-focused houses popping-up form the middle east, or all these pseudo-niche houses that invested more on the image than the content?

    Honestly... have you ever been blown away by a Byredo, Atelier Cologne or Bond n.9 fragrance? I may admit they have a few nice ones, but honestly, nothing that wowed me. Imo, these were VC-backed company more worried about capturing value from the new "average niche joe" segment than creativity (the "new riches" - or the ones who spend like if they were already), and created from day 1 with their future acquisition as main goal, more than developing a creative venture.

    Now... Obviously the word "scam" is not the proper word to legally define that, but still.... there's a scent of sharks targeting the cash-cows (us)... don't you think? (By the way, that is not specific to cosmetics, but unfortunately that's how the world works nowadays in many fields)
    Well, Andy, this is how I can answer your comment above solely from my perspective: First, I have never owned or collected anything originating from the Middle East, from Byredo, or from Bond n. 9 so that's not an issue. As for Atelier Cologne, I own everything they have released and while I might not have been wowed by every release of theirs, I like and enjoy them all. For me, houses are either simply designer or niche. I have never thought of a house as "pseudo-niche as others do, nor would that ever matter to me how they represented themselves as long as I like their product. Finally, you're probably right, in that I am rightly or wrongly diplomatic and not objective in the eyes of many here when it comes to this matter, but I am OK with that.
    Last edited by hednic; 30th August 2019 at 02:57 PM.
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy the frenchy View Post
    I'm totally with you on that one.
    I can feel you're upset... John Rambo would have worn his red band at that point, you decided to wear One Man Show.
    One Man Show is the entire Missing In Action movie franchise in a bottle. Perfect for waging vigilante warfare against asthma-inducing aromchems sold as pedigreed natural scent essences. This must be the work of Cobra Commander.

    (Seriously, Parfums de Marly is bad)
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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zealot Crusader View Post
    One Man Show is the entire Missing In Action movie franchise in a bottle.

    (Seriously, Parfums de Marly is bad)
    If you’re talking about Bogart OMS, that’s awesome! I don’t have that one yet, but OMS Oud Edition is my favorite of the three I own from the house.

    Is PdM really that bad?

    They seem to be disliked by some on the forum here, but I’ve also heard good things about this house. Especially Layton and Layton Exclusive. I’ve considered blind buying these myself.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    That's the way of the modern capitalist world, where there is a profit to be made, people will always try to exploit it. I do think that it is more difficult to conduct a "scam" with fragrances because people will decide with their noses and don't really care about back stories and jargon. There are bigger "scams" in the fashion industry such as Kanye West selling a pair of trainers for £180 that cost £10 to make (if that) based on reputation and exclusivity. I think Creed is a perfect example of how to conduct a scam based on reputation with the new Aventus Cologne, and why not if you can get away with it?

  24. #24

    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Houses/collections as a whole that I don’t get the love for and view as cash grabs:

    Byredo
    Parfums de Marly
    JHAG
    Montale
    Commodity (RIP)

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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by painted_klown View Post
    If you’re talking about Bogart OMS, that’s awesome! I don’t have that one yet, but OMS Oud Edition is my favorite of the three I own from the house.

    Is PdM really that bad? .
    OMS Oud Edition (and several OMS flankers) are nothing like the original OMS. I own and love OMS Oud Ed, and own and hate the original OMS. OMS is like a cheap version of YSL Kouros, with the stink factor amped up. That's why I consider it to be a war frag.

    As for PdM, all the ones I tried were cloying sweet, or uninteresting, and a few even bad. But they managed to target (very) young crowds with all that sweetness. Typical example of copycat house that has been created to be acquired and make money. PdM frags are consumer goods, not artfully blended fragrances.

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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by leffleur View Post
    Houses/collections as a whole that I don’t get the love for and view as cash grabs:

    Byredo
    Parfums de Marly
    JHAG
    Montale
    Commodity (RIP)
    Fully agreed.I'd add
    Bond n.9
    Jo Malone
    Maison Margiela
    AdP
    The Different Company
    Atelier Cologne
    Jusbox
    Mizensir
    By Kilian
    Tom Ford (except for a few exceptions)
    MFK (with some exceptions)
    Creed (with some exceptions)
    Ex Nihilo
    House of Oud
    Fragrance du Bois (yes, them also, a house created to jump on the oud train)
    SHL
    Olfactive Studios
    De Nicolai (an historical house, but their price tag is simply ridiculous for what it is)
    Swiss Arabian
    Clive Christian
    A loooot of high end designer lines like the high end lines of YSL, Bvlgari, Givenchy, Gucci (as well as regular lines, obviously, too many to list here)

    But the kings are really Byredo and PdM in this category

  27. #27

    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Cash grab for me but I am priced out of that game so I may be simply bitter.

    Still for the ones I have tried, they are usually merely nice to me (ok except Roja Dove Diaghilev). Besides none compare to classic department stores’ fragrances before the reformulation annihilation of the past decade or so. I feel doubly cheated, on quality/substance and price.

    However, it seems that we are in a cycle where the prices of luxury goods (real or trying to be) have increased (e.g. watches, handbags).
    Currently wearing: Samsara by Guerlain

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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zealot Crusader View Post
    One Man Show is the entire Missing In Action movie franchise in a bottle. Perfect for waging vigilante warfare against asthma-inducing aromchems sold as pedigreed natural scent essences. This must be the work of Cobra Commander.

    (Seriously, Parfums de Marly is bad)
    Haha true!

    (And for PdM, yes, it is seriously bad)

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Parfum de peau View Post
    Cash grab for me but I am priced out of that game so I may be simply bitter.

    Still for the ones I have tried, they are usually merely nice to me (ok except Roja Dove Diaghilev). Besides none compare to classic department stores’ fragrances before the reformulation annihilation of the past decade or so. I feel doubly cheated, on quality/substance and price.

    However, it seems that we are in a cycle where the prices of luxury goods (real or trying to be) have increased (e.g. watches, handbags).
    Yes, I agree with you and Andy’s list, the list of companies I will buy from now is much shorter than the ones I won’t. Lots of cynical marketing and ridiculous pricing. Which is good from the standpoint of my wallet. I’m mostly focusing on a few indie artisan perfumers and the occasional designer release that I can get for a reasonable price at the discounters.

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    Default Re: Are any niche companies basically a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy the frenchy View Post
    Fully agreed.I'd add
    Bond n.9
    Jo Malone
    Maison Margiela
    AdP
    The Different Company
    Atelier Cologne
    Jusbox
    Mizensir
    By Kilian
    Tom Ford (except for a few exceptions)
    MFK (with some exceptions)
    Creed (with some exceptions)
    Ex Nihilo
    House of Oud
    Fragrance du Bois (yes, them also, a house created to jump on the oud train)
    SHL
    Olfactive Studios
    De Nicolai (an historical house, but their price tag is simply ridiculous for what it is)
    Swiss Arabian
    Clive Christian
    A loooot of high end designer lines like the high end lines of YSL, Bvlgari, Givenchy, Gucci (as well as regular lines, obviously, too many to list here)

    But the kings are really Byredo and PdM in this category
    Have to disagree on at least a few from that list. I haven't come across anything that I've purchased that I personally consider to be a scam.




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