“No question, the industry people are unnerved,” said Rochelle R. Bloom, the president of the Fragrance Foundation, a trade group. “I often get calls from executives pleading, ‘Can’t you do something about all this chatter.’ ”
— The fragrance industry is not amused by the "chorus of critics". Quoted in Everyone’s a Critic by columnist Ruth LaFerla in the New York Times.
Hi R, thanks for posting this! Great article, and I may have missed it otherwise. Some things about the perfume world just may be changing for the better.
And nice to hear that Coty is thinking about re-releasing the old classics. Perhaps the original formulae will still be able to be reproduced without zapping the life out of them. One can hope!
Ugh, I wonder which company threatened a lawsuit on whom. This article makes me a little sick to my stomach. If people don't like your juice, they don't like your juice.
After reading the article, I'm a little unnerved by the number of compnnsted bloggers. NYT mentioned NST is paid for advertising EL. But NST reviews are not influenced by money, right?
So good to know that what we think does matter…thank you Robin for sharing this ;-D
It would be lovely if Coty really did that…we'll see!
I am not sure what they meant by that…our policy is that we don't accept any advertising directly from perfume houses, only from perfume retailers. And no large perfume house would want to advertise here anyway, I'm sure, since they can't control the content as they can w/ the magazines.
So no money has changed hands, but EL does send us press releases and samples (for their own EL branded scents — not for everything under the EL “umbrella”), and they are the only mainstream perfume house that does so.
Nam, trust me, it happened, but that is all I can say.
LOL — don't know if it means it matters, or if it is just annoying to the perfume houses.
I love it that the industry is “running scared” from our criticism, but dang, I wish they would REALLY listen to what we're saying and quit releasing so many cookie cutter, quick money scents. Take a risk, let something build in sales (a la Angel), and bring back the classics. Please?
Thanks for clearing it up.
Jumping in here to say that if you take a look at Robin's advertising policy, you should feel reassured. As well, Robin wrote a post some time back about the integrity of perfume bloggers, which you'd probably find of interest. Don't recall exactly when… guessing Robin can steer us to it.
I don't remember where that article is either but will look for it later. You can find links to our advertising policy & our “swag” policy from the “About” page (link on menu under the logo)
It is an interesting question though: could Angel find an audience today? I'm honestly not sure it could…the market is so very different now than it was in the early 90s.
As a sales/marketer/pr wonk, I can definitely say it does matter. Whether they will actually 'get it' is another thing altogether. It's like moving a combine down the road – it takes awhile. The status quo has been so for forever, with communication amongst customers being limited. Now, with the Web linking any and everyone, it's an open market. If you consider any powerful entity (corporations, government, government corporations:-) their first instinct is to try to stomp on any dissidence. Unfortunately for major corporations that usually backfires in this day and age. Especially here, where freedom of speech is so prized, stomping on a private citizen for voicing their Opinion is just stupid – but it happens.
They will now try to do what they can to co-opt the bloggers, doing everything they can to 'manage' the situation instead of doing what they should, which is to produce a quality product! And bloggers have to be careful with it – it's harder to do a negative review on a product once a relationship is developed with the manufacturer – I was so disappointed to have to pan Tarantella (Tommi Sooni) because Steven Broadhurst had been so gracious in his correspondence and sending the (requested)sample.
So bloggers are going to have to be on the qui vive for the insidious ways the Industry will try to co-opt them, since they can't shut you folks up. Nothing you don't know, having already written a very cogent article on this very thing. But I thought you might like to hear from a marketer who spent 30 years 'managing the situation'
Keep up the good work. I'm thrilled to see that all 'my' sites are still open and honest. Very heartening.
I totally agree with the previous poster. “Cookie cutter” is a great way of describing it. I must say I was pleasantly surprised to see the ranges carried in specialist perfume shops in France and Germany (which seem to be as commonplace as drugstores over there). Much less of a focus on celeb ranges (for which we in the UK may be the biggest suckers), and more emphasis on niche and classic ranges – most of the Guerlains in France, for example, while in Germany I saw big displays of Serge Lutens and Annick Goutal in perfumeries in tiny one-horse towns. I would have to travel to a major city to see those lines in a store. I may even have to emigrate!
Regarding whether Angel would have been successful, there is SJP's Covet, which has been a big hit in the UK even though it is a bit weird. And thinking of our mainstream retail scene, it is very much a lone beacon of originality in a sea of inoffensive fruity florals.
Very well spoken Mamabear !!
I'm glad to hear that Covet is doing well in the UK. It's one of the few recently released fragrances I've bought in quite a while.
To quote a friend, “Well boo flippin' hoo hoo hoo.”
No sympathy here. Make good products, and we will buy.
R, that is a very good question. You are probably right that it couldn't succeed today, seeing as when a new release doesn't pull the Benjamins immediately, then it's unceremoniously canned. Which is why I mentioned Angel in the first place: it was allowed to build steam slowly because Theirry Mugler Fragrances seems to have believed in their product.
MB, the “what they can to co-opt the bloggers” is so far *mostly* confined to the beauty sector — the swag some of the beauty bloggers take in simply blows my mind. In fragrance, they are more wary. Most of the companies I hear from are smaller concerns, and yes, many of them “stop speaking to me” after a bad review. And entirely agree it is harder to do a bad review one you have a relationship — it is the primary reason I stopped doing interviews.
All of which is fine. Even after what little contact I've had with perfume houses & PR agencies, I'm just as happy to get my own samples and quote press releases from other sites rather than getting them directly from the source.
They believed, and the stores gave them the counter space. Not sure you could even get a store to give you the counter space today if your product didn't sell.
How To Bribe N.S.T. ?
1 – Go to Paris, Metro Line 1 : Stop at “Palais Royal”.
2 – Buy an Iris Silver Mist at “Salons Shisiedo”
2 – Decant all in an ugly bottle (I know it is criminal)
3 – Send your sample with the decant with a small note
“You will receive the bottle after a wondefull positive review”
4 – 5' after recieving the order all will be online… you will have a nice positive review on N.S.T.
5 – Send the Jar bottle …
Easy, no ? … i see no problem with blogger
Vanessa, I really like Covet and do think it is at least mildly risky for a celebrity scent (you're so right that it isn't another inoffensive fruity floral), but still have to respectfully disagree — it is not the “way out on a limb” sort of scent Angel was, and don't think 10 years from now we're going to see a million copies of Covet or that Covet is going to make perfume history. In fact, you could argue that Covet is yet another scent that has taken its cues from Angel.
Oh, you have me so down pat! Most unfortunately, Serge Lutens apparently has no interest in buying my loyalty
I do take your point – of course Angel was truly groundbreaking in its day, and spawned all those gourmand scents (if I may mix my fish and chocolate imagery for a moment). I guess I elevated Covet to equal status because I was thinking especially of our retail scene. 50% of perfumes in the UK are sold through Boots, the chain of chemists, where it is relatively easy to appear edgy and “out there” when you are up against the sweet pink concoctions of Kylie et al – and celeb lines are massive over here as I said. But in absolute perfumery terms, you are quite right to say that it is not on a par with Angel.
Here is a link for anyone who wants that article:
Wow, is that right, 50% through Boots? I wonder what the situation is here, for all I know, Walmart sells 50% of US fragrances. I really don't know. Celeb lines are massive here too, I think, we just don't see quite as many little B-listers getting fragrances, and I still don't understand why that is.
Well, Wal-mart is the No 1 jewelry retailer in the US, so you never know!
Across the pond, we are awash in A-Z-lister fragrances – footballer's wives, gameshow contestants, soap opera actresses. Tne most obscure celeb fragrance ever launched here (which I have yet to see in my local Boots) has got to be Mwah by Chanelle Hayes, a contestant and deeply irritating wannabe from the UK series “Big Brother”. Chanelle? I think not.
Benoit has your number, Robin.
I'm a huge proponent that (almost) any PR is great PR. I can clearly say that reading this blog has also helped me to buy fragrances (purchasing Bronze Goddess in my most recent purchase was a direct result of reading this blog which I love), as well as trying some others. It made me try Robert Piguet's Fracas, which I didn't like, and it helps to unveil the still-mysterious world of fragrance to me and encourages me to try to expand my perfume repertoire.
It seems like the perfume industry is having a harder time adjusting to the internet world. The bottom line is it's increasing interest and its customer base including people who would never walk up to a perfume counter without being armed with some knowledge on what to look for, which can't ever be a bad thing.
I think even in my own small corner of the fragrance industry, I'm seeing the effects of blogging and online reviews. I had a customer come in the other day armed with a list – and it was a fairly impressive one! She wanted to try several Annick Goutal's, DKNY Black (lol) Bvlgari Black, Arpege, etc. I can't tell you how happy it makes me when a woman comes in requesting Bvlgari Black – lol!
Seriously, I didn't know they were the #1 jewelry retailer either. I did know they were #1 in music sales, although I understand iTunes may finally overtake them soon.
I read about Mwah! See, we just don't get that kind of thing here.
I agree — was just arguing this yesterday on another post: it is better to be part of the conversation than to not be considered at all. And there are quite a few people who tell me their taste is so perfectly opposite to mine that they just buy whatever I detest, LOL…
Cool! You didn't ask her where the list came from? I'm betting it came from Perfumes: The Guide.
I was thinking about calling the WAH-mbulance.
It is a startling fact, isn't it? I am in market research and interviewed Walmart on a project to do with diamond jewelry. That statistic may include their sales through Sam's Club, which is a bit more upscale, but still it makes you think – and wonder where they stand in terms of perfume sales! I did do a project on fragrance once, and got to meet some of the perfume houses in Grasse and Geneva, but back then I was not gripped by perfume mania as I am today, so it was just another job – with nice weather. How I would love to do that project over again, as the person I am today!