The last decade has indeed seen the revival of some old perfume brands and the emergence of a significant number of newcomers, trying to capture an audience, both curious and wanting to escape the uniformizing steamroller of international brands. But strangely , these brands seem to have trouble finding their place in France. 
Creative perfumery or niche perfumery?According to David Frossard, co founder of Différentes Latitudes, they are “perfumes whose approach is not dictated by marketing and markets, perfumes which are not intended to the largest number but to a happy few, an intellectual, financial and/or cultural elite.” Which confirms François Hénin, President of Jovoy, for whom this is an “interesting phenomenon that invites individuals to stand out from this homogeneity with a real differentiation approach.”
For his part, Gilles Thévenin, President of Lubin, insists on the research for quality and tradition of the French fine perfumery.
Freedom, creativity, independence, and almost home-made high quality manufacturing, are also characteristic features highlighted by Valérie PIanelli-Guichard, CEO of Comptoir Sud Pacifique.
A problem of visibility
All stakeholders agree on the reality of the request for a segment that, according to David Frossard, represents about 4% of the global perfumery market. But the French situation is both specific and difficult for brands, due of the highly concentrated structure of the distribution.
“In France, very few distributors exist for these products,” explains David Frossard. If we add to this, the fact that small brands cannot really afford to invest in advertising and that there seems to be a lack of interest from beauty journalists for the subject, the main difficulty to overcome by creative perfumery in France seems be its lack of visibility.
Individuality and differentiation
Brands strive to work on their own identity, not hesitating to adopt differentiating biases. From the wild and natural history of the Atlantic coasts at Lostmarc’h, where each ingredient comes from a local sourcing, to the olfactory world tour proposed by Comptoir Sud Pacific, from juices made by the greatest noses at The Different Company, to the classics revisited by the Lubin house founded in 1798, each player is working with passion on his identity and positioning. The customer will then acquire a perfume that will become her/his perfume.
Despite a often higher shelf price than in the traditional selective circuit, a real emotional connection is created between the customer, and her/his creator’s perfume. “Customer loyalty is very high in this market unlike the selective market which is a market driven by novelties,” confirms Luc Gabriel, CEO of The Different Company.
More than ever, creativity is at the heart of this business, because the number of artistic perfume brands has exploded since the early 2000s.
An inspiration that must however come to life in compliance with regulatory constraints.
How important the bottle is?
The last part of the conference focused on packaging issues and on the specific needs of creative perfume brands.
For most brands, packaging is an integral part of the creator’s universe and a source of differentiation. Working with standards appears therefore difficult despite the numerous decorating and customizing possibilities offered nowadays by suppliers. The difficulty then stands in finding manufacturers that can perform specific moulds and produce series in limited quantities. Significant efforts have been made by packaging suppliers and conditioners to meet this demand.
Valerie Jacob, Marketing Director of SGD, Francis Cheru, Sales Manager of Verreries Brosse, Jean-Luc Leblond, Sales Director of Bormioli Rocco & Figlio, Lucy Ray, Industrial Marketing Manager of Pochet and Isabelle Legallicier Pochet, President of CCI Productions, presented the interest of this segment for them and the specific solutions they offer.
A promising future
Eventually, despite a difficult environment creative perfumery is responding to a real market demand. Thus, leading luxury brands are interested in this segment and many of them have developed a specific offer. Maybe a means to unlock retail networks.