A Tale of Two Cities

Hello Dear Reader,

Thank you for taking some time to read my irregular blog. That said, I intend to post them on a much more frequent basis from now on.

This short tale consists of two cities, Brussels and London, where a number of professional noses did me a very great favour in sniffing 5 samples sent to me by a self-professed artisinal perfumer with whom I have been talking for 2 months and who has told me a great deal about his artistic skills. Unfortunately the commercial truth is that 2 out of the 5 samples sent did not cut the mustard, as we say, as good enough to sell. Asked to go check his credentials among the snifferati of the perfume world I went to a well-known perfume blogger who suggested that he/she must have been living under a rock for a long time as nothing was known.

Moral of the tale: go straight for the difficult questions regarding clients/references if you wish to get into a possible distribution discussion with someone. I didn’t but that’s life. I have my research findings from the exercise and knowledge is power, as they say.

A Christmas Carol and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come

Once upon a time there was a company which was founded 5 years ago. In this company lived a man and his wife and a lot of creams. They loved their creams with just a few of the ingredients so synonymous with their country’s image.

No-one had heard of their company or their creams but they put all their love and devotion into making it the best blend of additives, colourings and, after just 5 years, they were ready to go to market in the following new year and bring joy to the world.

Earlier in that year a man had suddenly appeared at the door and offered them a perfume, and the couple were delighted to include it as part of their range of natural products.

The couple had forgotten to do any market research at all but a stranger appeared and advised them of the need to do so. The stranger set about finding out what experts thought of the creams and the new perfume, and markets and prices, pro bono for this was the Season of Good Will. The stranger presented his results to the couple who were kind enough to listen but insisted that finding ‘very hungry’ distributors was the best path forward to success because the distributors better know the 4 P’s of Marketing.

And so we move forward in our tale towards Xmas 2013 not knowing what the outcome will be of this classic story. But hoping, sincerely, that Ebenezer Scrooge will reflect on the past, the present and the future, and that the tale will have a happy ending.

Looking for Borneo? Go to Paris!

November 29th, 2013

Still no statistics from anyone in the perfume industry regarding country or even continent revenue …But I had the chance to see the infamous Mr Donier from afar when I went to my favourite shop for a bottle of Comme des Garcons Black early tonight. He seemed to be curious about this jean-clad individual but said nothing to me.

I enquired about the e-store and sadly it is still ‘temporarily unavailable’. This being Belgium the work may continue on the website front for a few years more. Having bought my 84 euro bottle of delight I also enquired about their range of Serge Lutens and could I have a small sample of his Borneo 1834 please? Sadly samples are now available only from Paris. Oh well, perhaps I should now get on a night train to gai Paris…

Commercial Wisdom? Forget it!

I happen to frequent a certain niche perfume shop in Brussels. The ‘nose’ and all the staff provide fantastic service. I asked how they attract customers, to which the response was ‘we have loyal customers and sometimes people suddenly discover by chance that the shop exists’. I asked what marketing they do and why the website is still under construction. I understand that it has been like this for 2 years and the online sales services are ‘momentarily suspended’. Do they have any special events planned to attract their loyal and, importantly, new clientele at least in the weeks running up to Xmas to buy the expensive perfumes they sell? Not one. Have they ever thought of targeting high net value individuals in and around Brussels at any time in the year? Nope, not to mention affluent Antwerp not far away.
So if Mr Donie is reading this, and since he was not professional enough to respond to two emails I sent offering a coffee and some free input, how do you expect your wonderful shop to continue selling perfumes at 160 euros and more without any proactive marketing? (Not to mention the range of Tom Ford and other perfumes which cost considerably more!)?

I truly hope they continue and are successful but it seems to me, in the current economic climate, that everyone should be maximising their opportunities to find new customers and not just waiting for the odd passer-by to pay a visit inside.

What is the experience of other people here?