Esxence 2015- Basenoters' tips

Mocha

Well-known member
Jan 1, 2014
Thanks for this! I enjoyed reading it. And to think we can look forward to "more to come" as well. :)
 

Foustie

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2010
OK, here is the other bit.

I missed iodine. She was there on a different day from me. I would have loved to have said hello, and I missed Basenotes, and Colin

I missed UNUM. I do think that I saw the stand.

I did meet Lucas briefly which was a pleasure. Some of you will remember the poster Lucasai? He is in the industry and he also has a blog called Chemist in the Bottle if you would like to read his reports.

It was a fantastic experience and it was a privilege to be able to go, but here is the thing that you need to know. It wasn't all good. I don't want to give you the impression that it was perfume heaven and the be all and end all. The thing is that Exsence is a trade show. It's not a public event. It's a trade show which is open to the public for two days of it's run. If you have ever been at any kind of trade show you will know how it goes. It's very hard work for the exhibitors there, with long days, day after day, and it's usually costly to the company. They are there to promote their business. So, it's not that I don't understand or respect that. I do.

There were four us at the exhibition, three women and a man. We split into two's. On arrival I have to admit it was actually really overwhelming. We later discovered that we had all felt that. One of the girls thought that she wouldn't be able to stay, although she did. (A glass of wine in the cafe helped her!) The show is massive. There were around 160 exhibitors there. The stands are quite close together and some of them are small, so if there were two people at the stand, maybe four on one of the bigger ones, it was mobbed. The space seemed quite dark with the stands being lit up spaces. There is quite an intense atmosphere. Some stands are more lit up than others and there were pockets where we were really hot. Too hot to approach a stand in a crush of people and lights. I was really interested to read iodine's post about her visit. I had much the same experience. There were people there who were so generous with their time and there were people who were so disinterested that they were rude. We were asked countless times if we had a shop and when we said no, some people visibly disengaged and that was the end of that. We were wearing visitors badges and some people clearly noticed that straight away and backed off.

Samples were not willingly given, with some very notable exceptions like the companies I mentioned above. I'm not good at asking. I did ask a couple of times when I really liked something but it was quite embarrassing. It was actually really clear that they didn't want to give you them. Le Manufacture does four Colognes. I did ask for a sample of one of them and she gave me it, but my friend liked a different one and when she asked politely if she may have sample the woman said "sorry, no we prefer to keep them for our distributors". My friend actually challenged her that customers buy the product from the distributors, and the woman gave her the sample. But it was really cringeworthy and later my friend said that she wished that she hadn't bothered. It was clear with some that the client/customer, is the buyer or distrubutor buying product and not the person who will eventually buy and love the fragrance. This was not the case for all, as I said before. Masque and Jul et mad actually seemed to enjoy customer contact and Ray Burns and his partner in particular were really great. Oh, and another very honourable mention for the guy on Piguet who was a hoot and was very generous with my friend in her never ending search for the perfect Gardenia. And he also gave me some of their Oud which is lovely, even in an ocean of Oud.

So, I understand about trade shows but the thing is, if the individual customer is not important and not welcome then why open the show to the public?

In terms of fragrance, I told you what my standouts were and they are incredible, and also I missed a lot of stuff which would have been great, I'm sure. But my other general impression from the small selection that I saw and smelled (and I would be interested to hear what other folk found, because this is just my humble impression), is that there was a lot of gloomy stuff. Heavy stuff with strong synthetic woody bases. And also loads of tuberose. Lots of fragrances with tuberose and norlimbanol or something.

So, there you have it. Please go if you can, but just be aware not to expect total nirvana. Now I'll shut up. Well nearly..... forgot to tell you need to register before you go and you will be sent an invitation. It's free. But the catalogue is 20 Euro, but I did buy one. Had to.

Happy if anyone wants to disagree, or to ask anything.
 

iodine

Well-known member
Oct 26, 2010
Foustie, I'm impressed by the clarity and completeness of your report!!! Yes, too bad I wasn't in town Saturday and couldn't meet you!

This was my fourth Esxence and I must say I've seen it getting worse every year.

In terms of brands presented.The market has surely expanded (exploded?!) in these years and some niche brands have become"classic" and don't need attending a show to promote themselves and their new releases (well, Creed is always there :grin:), but the increase in houses that have very little to say in the perfume world or grossly equate niche with blatant, tacky luxury has been impressive.

In terms of glamour and snobbery. Both exhibitors- though it's more the Italian suppliers than the perfumers or owners themselves- in the years I've had very pleasant chats with Neela Vermeire, Ann Gerard, a lovely assistant to my personal perfumer-idol, Marc Antoine Corticchiato and some other passionate and expert people who could tell an amateur from a shop retailer in search of exclusivity and totally uncaring of notes or styles- and among people attending the show (but, alas, this is Milan, a certain degree of superficial glamour and money related snobbery are unavoidable in many contexts). It could sound I'm speaking out of sheer envy :tongue:, but as Foustie said, guess who gets samples and attention between me and a fully made up, dressed up PR girl or boy?

In terms of atmosphere- in the past Esxence was hosted at the Permanente and the Triennale, two of the most prestigious modern and contemporary art galleries in Milan. So, there was a certain "arty" feel about it. This year, the new location, in the brand newly rebuilt district of Porta Nuova, which I personally like a lot, stressed the glamour and stylish side of the event.

In the end, yes, Foustie is right, with her question on the opening to normal people when the show it's aimed to other subjects.
I guess it's OK to go there if you don't expect too much and you don't invest much time and energies in it. Otherwise it could be a big disappointment.
 

Colin Maillard

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2013
OK, here is the other bit.

I missed iodine. She was there on a different day from me. I would have loved to have said hello, and I missed Basenotes, and Colin

I missed UNUM. I do think that I saw the stand.

I did meet Lucas briefly which was a pleasure. Some of you will remember the poster Lucasai? He is in the industry and he also has a blog called Chemist in the Bottle if you would like to read his reports.

It was a fantastic experience and it was a privilege to be able to go, but here is the thing that you need to know. It wasn't all good. I don't want to give you the impression that it was perfume heaven and the be all and end all. The thing is that Exsence is a trade show. It's not a public event. It's a trade show which is open to the public for two days of it's run. If you have ever been at any kind of trade show you will know how it goes. It's very hard work for the exhibitors there, with long days, day after day, and it's usually costly to the company. They are there to promote their business. So, it's not that I don't understand or respect that. I do.

There were four us at the exhibition, three women and a man. We split into two's. On arrival I have to admit it was actually really overwhelming. We later discovered that we had all felt that. One of the girls thought that she wouldn't be able to stay, although she did. (A glass of wine in the cafe helped her!) The show is massive. There were around 160 exhibitors there. The stands are quite close together and some of them are small, so if there were two people at the stand, maybe four on one of the bigger ones, it was mobbed. The space seemed quite dark with the stands being lit up spaces. There is quite an intense atmosphere. Some stands are more lit up than others and there were pockets where we were really hot. Too hot to approach a stand in a crush of people and lights. I was really interested to read iodine's post about her visit. I had much the same experience. There were people there who were so generous with their time and there were people who were so disinterested that they were rude. We were asked countless times if we had a shop and when we said no, some people visibly disengaged and that was the end of that. We were wearing visitors badges and some people clearly noticed that straight away and backed off.

Samples were not willingly given, with some very notable exceptions like the companies I mentioned above. I'm not good at asking. I did ask a couple of times when I really liked something but it was quite embarrassing. It was actually really clear that they didn't want to give you them. Le Manufacture does four Colognes. I did ask for a sample of one of them and she gave me it, but my friend liked a different one and when she asked politely if she may have sample the woman said "sorry, no we prefer to keep them for our distributors". My friend actually challenged her that customers buy the product from the distributors, and the woman gave her the sample. But it was really cringeworthy and later my friend said that she wished that she hadn't bothered. It was clear with some that the client/customer, is the buyer or distrubutor buying product and not the person who will eventually buy and love the fragrance. This was not the case for all, as I said before. Masque and Jul et mad actually seemed to enjoy customer contact and Ray Burns and his partner in particular were really great. Oh, and another very honourable mention for the guy on Piguet who was a hoot and was very generous with my friend in her never ending search for the perfect Gardenia. And he also gave me some of their Oud which is lovely, even in an ocean of Oud.

So, I understand about trade shows but the thing is, if the individual customer is not important and not welcome then why open the show to the public?

In terms of fragrance, I told you what my standouts were and they are incredible, and also I missed a lot of stuff which would have been great, I'm sure. But my other general impression from the small selection that I saw and smelled (and I would be interested to hear what other folk found, because this is just my humble impression), is that there was a lot of gloomy stuff. Heavy stuff with strong synthetic woody bases. And also loads of tuberose. Lots of fragrances with tuberose and norlimbanol or something.

So, there you have it. Please go if you can, but just be aware not to expect total nirvana. Now I'll shut up. Well nearly..... forgot to tell you need to register before you go and you will be sent an invitation. It's free. But the catalogue is 20 Euro, but I did buy one. Had to.

Happy if anyone wants to disagree, or to ask anything.

I agree with pretty much all that you wrote, this year I was there also in the 2 first days for press & business and the things weren't really different - the only difference was that there was less people and exhibitors weren't "tired" yet, so you had the chance to chat a bit more with them. But you did feel that the whole thing was about business and contracts. I met one exhibitor showcasing his new line, chatted a bit with him, quite enjoyed his 4 new scents; I saw a bunch of samples under his desk, he didn't offered me any although I made clear I was interested in writing about him (not that I am the NY Times, but still...), and I perfectly understand that samples cost (that's why I don't ask for them openly) ... but he didn't even want to give me his card because it was "for distributors"! Jesus, should I thank our Lord because words are still free then? :D I think the smarter exhibitors do understand it's important to be nice with press and normal visitors too, as in the end, they're the people which actually buy your fragrances and spread the word about them. And in fact some of them - especially the smaller ones - were uber generous and chatty. There's lots of brands which are really well distributed and still none cares about, precisely for their shit snobby public attitude.

The guys at Unum which you missed Foustie - regardless of the quality of fragrances (which is great however), they were amazing people, easily among the nicest I've met there. When I went to their counter it was overcrowded with people but still one of the two guys guided me through the fragrances taking all the time it needed. He was really thoughtful, genuinely interested to speak with me, genuinely happy to hear I liked the scents. No samples there at that moment but I got them later on once the show ended.

However I think that they open it to the public both because that way Esxence can "capitalize" on numbers of people so that it appears as an important "place to be" with lots of visitors... and above all because obviously the more exhibitors stay here, the more money Esxence earns, but I guess none would do a 4-days tradeshow for operators only - a couple of days would be more than enough for that, while adding two days means doubling the revenue.

(By the way it was super easy to get a "press" badge, no checks and no verifications at all...)
 
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gandhajala

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2010
^ Thanks for the reports, Foustie, Iodine and Colin Maillard. I enjoyed hearing about your experiences.
Maybe I'll get there myself, one year ...
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
I'm sure a lot of people ask themselves that same question and wonder.

We are not quite 'public'... we are 'freelance PR' and free to boot. In both senses of the word.

Anyone going to a trade show and braving that lot is not just going out of indifference. That ought to be fairly obvious to those hosting stands who are rude. I have been at these things wearing the boots on the receiving end and it IS totally exhausting, but not enough of a reason to be abrasive. You never know who a potential client is by their looks.

Thank you to all of you who have bothered to describe this so fully to us. If we haven't managed to be there, then we certainly have in our imagination because of these lovely descriptions. Really appreciated in full.
 
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Foustie

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2010
Morning! Thank you for your insights iodine and Colin. It's so important because you understand the cultural setting more than anyone else. I actually should have acknowledged that the kind and patient exhibitors that we met were speaking to us in English too which was very good of them. Some did ask if we had come all the way from Scotland just for the show and when we said that we had they were surprised and delighted. You know Colin it was in my mind that many sales will be made on the internet, PARTICULARLY for companies with limited distribution. People like yourself must be an important (and yes mumsy, free) resource for them. Do go *G*. Despite our honestly stated reservations it is a great experience and yes iodine the new exhibition centre is very impressive. BTW we had an amazing apartment right beside La Scala Opera with a roof terrace from where you could see the spires on the top of Duomo. If anyone is going you can give me a shout.
 

hednic

Well-known member
Oct 25, 2007
We are not quite 'public'... we are 'freelance PR' and free to boot. In both senses of the word.

Anyone going to a trade show and braving that lot is not just going out of indifference. That ought to be fairly obvious to those hosting stands who are rude. I have been at these things wearing the boots on the receiving end and it IS totally exhausting, but not enough of a reason to be abrasive. You never know who a potential client is by their looks.
Well stated!
 

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