Premium Beauty News - What changes has the selective network undergone over the past few years?
Jeanne Doré - There have been few changes in perfumes intended for the general public, except for the faster pace at which flankers are launched. Due to consumer tests dictating final choices, sweet notes largely prevail, and creations are less original and more interchangeable. New launches come and go, and one is very much like the next, except for unexpected successes, like Gucci Bloom, which was developed without standardized tests. The perfume is beautiful, and the brand focused its communication strategy on Instagram to reach a younger target. On the one hand, we are trapped in a cycle, on the other, this example offers a glimmer of hope.
Premium Beauty News - How is niche perfumery evolving?
Jeanne Doré - I will not surprise anyone if I say that the number of brands changes at an extremely fast pace. The landscape is saturated, and niche perfumery is reshaping itself into several categories. On the one hand, many of its greatest names are purchased by groups. On the other, independent brands manage to survive, more or less. And then, small, very alternative, sometimes rather “DIY” houses are quite trendy in the US, where the system is not as academic as in France. If these creations can lack structure, some of them do infuse freshness into this saturated market.
Another trend was recently observed: that of perfume experts (perfumers, artistic directors…) who launch their own brand, like Chantal Roos, Sylvaine Delacourte, or Alberto Morillas. These personalities are well-established in the industry. They know their job by heart.
And then, there are brands emerging that transcend the niche/selective antinomy to focus on digital technologies, as can be seen with Sillages Paris, who want to democratize perfumery, by using niche perfumery’s basic codes and digitalizing them through an online and sample purchasing system.
Premium Beauty News - How does the selective network react to the boom of niche perfumery?
Jeanne Doré - Sales have been declining in this sector, just like in traditional distribution channels, whose model is gradually becoming obsolete as customers change. Customers look for differentiation and leave this channel, because the offering is getting too standardized. As a response, most major brands have been developing exclusive lines using niche codes (communication on raw materials, refined bottles…). And yet, creativity is not always obvious, although there are indeed pretty things. In addition, major groups keep purchasing small brands they deem promising.
Premium Beauty News - What are niche brands’ advantages to last within this context?
Jeanne Doré - Coherence between marketing communication and what the olfactory creation conveys is essential to last. So is patience. And of course, brands should bank on digital technologies, not only because social media have become a key driver, but also to avoid traditional distribution channels.
Premium Beauty News - Precisely, and what can be said about distribution?
Jeanne Doré - Maybe that is where there are real opportunities to innovate. Distribution as we know it today is obsolete: there are too many go-betweens, too little visibility, and not enough counselling and recommendations, given the teeming offering. Consumers feel lost, which is why I believe in our Box : it turns the spotlight on creators that are very little known or distributed, and it is focused on the exclusive collections of major brands willing to reach a discerning, trend-setting public. It is a way for them to reach customers they would not have attracted otherwise, within an ideal discovery context, but also to educate the public through curation, a role that has become fundamental in this saturated landscape.
Perfume reviewing is also essential. I have this dream that one day, people will naturally read a perfume review, just like they do for films or books. I would love to see other initiatives like ours emerge, because it is fundamental to change the market.