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Juliette Faliu

The emergence of amateurs in perfumery

The first specialized websites dedicated to perfumery appeared on the Internet more than ten years ago, already. Commonly called “perfume blogs”, these websites were originally created by real enthusiasts who had developed a sharing approach and endeavoured to build a common culture on a topic that is still very opaque for a certain part of the population. And yet, just like in other fields, they have become the concrete materialization of a new way to consider consumption, which could be summed up by the amateur approach: he who loves and has a taste for something. As today and tomorrow’s consumers follow their footsteps, their influence in the field of perfumery is no longer a distant mirage: it urges the industry’s professionals to review their current creation methods and systems.

As a matter of fact, the arrival of these new voices has truly metamorphosed the relationship of a certain part of the public with perfumes, and has redefined the relationship brands have with their public – as can be seen in fashion or makeup. Of course, all these well-informed consumers do not share the same level of knowledge on perfumery. Still, their average knowledge is getting inexorably higher. Launched in 2007, the website has recorded a 25% average annual increase in the number of its visitors since its creation, and its founders have also created NEZ, the first magazine on olfaction and perfumes: the first issue published last April is already out of stock. In other words, new consumers get informed, dissect perfume houses’ marketing campaign strategies, and are animated by the desire to understand and speak the truth, pressing brands to review their communication approaches.

With an ever-increasing average level of knowledge, the capacity of consumers to differentiate perfumes according to their quality and originality is also on the rise. Photo: © Minerva Studio /

With an ever-increasing average level of knowledge, the capacity of consumers to differentiate perfumes according to their quality and originality is also on the rise. Photo: © Minerva Studio /

So, the amateurs actually foreshadow tomorrow’s perfumery’s future customers, in France and around the world. Although international customers are still drivers, the most fervent amateurs of signed, qualitative perfumes also contribute to maintaining niche perfumery in good health, and are part of the global dynamics of this new consumption paradigm. Indeed, the rarity parameter is no longer the main driver for a product’s desirability, especially since this notion no longer embodies the perfume offering today. In fact, young generations are not essentially interested in rarity, as they mainly aspire to find affinity with a specific offering that corresponds to them, as La Marque et la Manière consultant Marielle Belin explains.

Personalization has become the new rarity, as can be seen with the innumerable “personalized diagnoses” online and in-store, for example with Guerlain, or in niche perfumery store Nose. If personalization is emerging right now, it is because it comes after three decades of intense democratization of perfumery, which led to completely transform perfume creation methods. From an upstream perfume creation system as close as possible to creators, perfumery turned downstream to focus on consumers’ desires. But, this production model has reached its own limits, as selective perfume stores are getting less and less visitors: between 2011 and early 2015, selective perfumery allegedly lost about 1.6 million consumers, as pointed out in an article published in Stratégies in February 2015.

Indeed, personalisation also means distinction and originality. If part of the population no longer buys perfume (in particular young people), it is also because perfumes have lost their power of distinction. A high number of olfactory launches in selective perfumery are derived from the benchmarking of successful perfumes, which can sometimes be based on already existing references. This phenomenon is particularly visible in the 2015 men’s Top 20. The perfumes created after 2006 that appear in this list, like One Million by Paco Rabanne or Yves Saint Laurent’s La Nuit de L’Homme, are almost all characterized by woody-amber based notes. However, as they are considered very manly, they do give a generic sensation to these perfumes. The thing is, with an ever-increasing average level of knowledge, the capacity of consumers to differentiate perfumes according to their quality and originality is also on the rise. So, it is a short step from saying consumers are already making the perfume industry review its creation methods.

The greatest challenge for the perfume industry will then be to accomplish a feat, that of re-educating a large part of the customers that have lost the notion of advice, while seducing the increasing public of amateurs in the long term. As a matter of fact, professionals seem to be eager to find their way back to creativity and inspiration. And this strategy is already successful, as the major brands rewarded by L’Olfactorama the last three years (this Prize was actually created in 2012 by a group of amateurs who have become experts) are far from being unknown: Cartier, Guerlain, and Hermès have already won several awards in the General Public and Niche Perfumery categories.

Juliette Faliu

© 2016 - Premium Beauty News -
about Juliette Faliu
Juliette Faliu

After graduating from the École Supérieure de Commerce business school of Toulouse, France, Juliette Faliu launched many innovative initiatives in the field of perfumery. In 2006, she created the first French-speaking blog on perfumes: Poivre Bleu, which has become Le Nez Bavard since then.

In 2011, she became the co-founder and President of L’Olfactorama, an association aiming to “Reveal the best in perfumery”. Every year, the awards attributed by L’Olfactorama are intended to refocus communication on olfaction and reward both selective and rare perfumes.

Thanks to a regular practise of olfaction in the past ten years, Juliette Faliu has acquired excellent knowledge in the history of perfumery, its players, and its market. She has gradually developed an olfactory assessment method to evaluate the quality of a perfume according to objective and defined criteria.

In 2014, Juliette created the concept of olfactory meetings for all people interested, amateurs, and enthusiasts with the support of Nez Bavard.


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