Niche and natural perfumes are growing in popularity. There is an increasing sense in the perfume community that the traditional stakeholders in this $26 billions industry are recreating the same scents and bottles. Experts in the industry call these ‘flankers’ and have said that Lancôme, Yves Saint Laurent, and Armani, have been essentially relaunching the same perfumes out of the fear that anything new will fail to break through the market. Instead of offering higher percentages of extracts or incorporating natural ingredients, which last longer, these brands rely on mass marketing, often via celebrities, to maintain their dominance in the perfume world.
Equally, consumers who are unfamiliar with perfumery are educating themselves, and seeking out bespoke products made by expert perfumers. They are willing to look far beyond the realm of mass-produced fragrances to find an artisanal scent which captures a story through, unique, natural ingredients, handmade fragrances, and artistic bottle design. Consequently, niche and natural perfumeries have started to increase in popularity, tripling in number between 2002 and 2012. The famous Parisian mall Printemps Haussmann displayed niche perfumes in 25% of its perfume retail space in 2018, and by 2019 niche brands accounted for 10% of total perfume sales worldwide.
Niche and natural brands are continuing to grow in popularity; so, let’s explore 5 of these brands!
Diptyque is a French perfumery that perhaps best embodies the differences between niche and mass-produced perfumes. Created in 1961 by artist Desmond Knox-Leet, actor and theatre connoisseur Yves Coueslant and interior designer Christiane Gautrot, Dyptique was originally a space for the three to create and present their art and sell exclusive goods they had brought back from Greece and Turkey. Next, they created custom fabrics and by 1968 released their first gender-neutral fragrance called L’Eau, which was inspired by the 16th century and featured geranium, cinnamon and clove. Diptyque fragrances each tell a personal story of one of the founders, which makes them unique and sets them apart from any other fragrance. Philosykos was created after Desmond and Yves went to Greece and brought back figs and other gifts for Christiane. Decades later, they used figs and white wood to retell the tale of their adventure, this time through perfume, and created a lasting souvenir of their time in the country.
Diptyque combines unusual ingredients, with thoughtful inspirations and unique, artistic bottle designs. The oval shaped labels are inspired by the Pretorian shield and were originally designed for their custom fabrics. The unique lettering design was created by Knox who was inspired by his own work in encryption during the Second World War. The playful and iconic labels continue to captivate customers, and Diptyque has grown from strength to strength and is stocked in luxury stores all over the world.
Diptyque perfumes retail for around €135 for 75ml of Eau de Parfum and €112 for 100ml of Eau de Toilette.
1000 Flowers is a Canadian perfume brand created by Jessica Buchanan in 2000. Buchanan originally sold essential oils and natural skin care, but later moved to Grasse, France to study perfumery, and then added perfumes to her line of products. Since 2011, her company has been based in Grasse, and she has a boutique in the home of global perfumery! 1000 Flowers has two collections which celebrate locally sourced horticulture and the Mediterranean landscape. All of Buchanan’s fragrances are hand made in small batches, and contain only natural, locally grown ingredients. She also uses recycled packaging and low carbon footprint ingredients, in order to reduce 1000 Flowers’ impact on the planet it celebrates through the art of perfumery.
1000 Flowers Perfumes retail for €31.30 for 30 ml and €66.60 for 50 ml. For more information on the story behind 1000 Flowers, read our interview with Jessica Buchanan here.
Didier Gaglewski was born in Grasse, the home of French perfumery. Before creating his own niche brand, he worked for companies across Europe as the ‘nez’ or nose. However, he wanted to combine his olfactory talents with his own craftsmanship and artistic visions, and thus his own perfumery was born. As he and his company are based in Grasse, he uses only the finest botanicals and local natural ingredients, which ensure his fragrances are of the highest quality. Gaglewski’s niche brand is known for pushing the boundaries of scents; his Cambouis fragrance for men replicates the aroma of a garage and the bottle is designed to resemble an oil can. Gaglewski’s creation takes the masculine to the extreme and asks the question of “what is perfume ?“
Cambouis retails for €110. Gaglewski creates masculine and feminine perfumes, which retail for between €60 and €110. To learn more about Gaglewski’s inspiration and brand, read our interview here.
Nasomatto was created by famous ‘nez’ Alessandro Gualtieri, who had previously worked with Fendi and Versace. Nasomatto translates to ‘crazy nose’ in Italian, and Gualtieri’s vision behind the brand is to create perfumes that evoke specific feelings for the consumer; to elevate perfume from an accessory. Nasomatto’s bottles are iconic, each cap is made from a different material that relates to the scent in the bottle.
Nasomatto perfumes retail for €124 for 30ml of Extrait de Parfum
Le Labo is a New York based niche perfumery that was created by Fabrice Penot and Eddie Roschi. The brand focuses on the craftsmanship behind perfumery and sourcing the finest natural ingredients for every part of the product. Each bottle of perfume is hand blended, and has a customized label. In order to reduce waste, the bottles can be refilled at the boutiques where the perfumes are made. Le Labo seeks to refocus perfumery back to the artisanal skills that each bottle celebrates.
Le Labo perfumes retail for between €160 and €858 for 50ml and 500ml, respectively.