(Image stolen from here.)
As I sit here, next to our Christmas tree, reveling in the smell of my Christmas gift - Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio Profumo - I have some very pleasant thoughts.
We were discussing, on this thread, the pricing of niche fragrances - Andy Tauer versus Dusita. Dorje123 opined that it was tough to enter the market now as a new, affordable Henry Ford, and I agree. But it got me thinking. A bit off topic, which is why I came here.
Mass-market fragrances are a good place to be right now, if you are either a mass-market company who can produce them profitably, or a mass-market consumer who loves them, like me. So I think the ghost of Henry Ford is alive and well and hiding out at IFF and Sephora, marveling at moves like "Profumo" as the next "Extreme" after the earlier "Intense", and perhaps wondering what's next. More likely KNOWING what's next.
However, a niche player is simply going to have a hard time - maybe an impossible time - stacking up against that kind of power. And perhaps the niche player simply shouldn't be there anyway. Perhaps the high end IS the natural place for the niche artist. Andy Tauer may work very hard and admirably to keep his prices affordable, but I still regard his brand as high-end.
I think of my latest YSL L'Homme flanker, which I'm sure helped to pay thousands of middle class people's salaries around the globe, and sold to millions of middle class customers, and I see how things can be done right by and for the middle class, but only on a huge scale. YSL paid three of the best French noses to work on that one, but far more people were employed at the Big Boys and elsewhere to put that on millions of vanities in modest homes and cheap apartments around the world. Something worked, and something worked beautifully.
The fact is, globalism works as long as you don't make it toxic by a kind of arrogance, be that economic or political, telling the consumer what they want, instead of listening extremely carefully. The way to succeed is giving people what they want before they even realize it, and then admitting quickly when you were wrong.
I'm not sure if sensitivity to customer desires needs to go up with the square of the herd number or even higher, but I tend to see the fragrance industry succeeding where others are failing, because it seems to listen with great sensitivity at a variety of scales. But then the beauty industry as a whole, and the fragrance industry in particular - as much as we perfumistae love to kick it around and complain - has always been ahead of the curve, in my opinion. I even see that going back to the beginnings of organic chemistry, when dyes made the big bucks, but fragrance may well have been the smartest untold story.
I don't know - maybe the Christmas season has me unreasonably optimistic, and I'm pardoning a thousand mortal sins of discontinuations and reformulations. Nevertheless, I feel like the middle class still has a future in fragrance. The beauty industry invested some of their best talents in creating affordable perfumes for us, if we're just willing to drive that magnificent car with "Ford" prices. So please bear that in mind, as I leave out some treats for our fragrant friends in the
Cheers, and Merry Christmas! :beer: