I was visiting the Simppar fair for raw materials in Paris for a day. This salon takes places every two years and is a colorful gathering of who is who in raw materials and (some) perfumers. The more industry, the less you will see the perfumers there. And the bigger the raw materials house, the less interest there is to talk to guys like me.
I visited to talk to a couple of existing suppliers of mine, providing me directly or indirectly with naturals, specialities mostly. Like a special vetiver extract that I get from Biolandes, or my apricot oil that I get from Robertet. Biolandes provides wonderful quality and smelling some of their novelties is so inspiring. Like this totally amazing Iris. Or the out of this world Rhum extract that I smelled at Robertet. Just wow! This is one of the reasons why I am going to visit this fair: it is inspiration pure.
Another reason: It is nice to bump into colleagues and friends and chat. There, it feels great to confirm that I am not the only one who sees that all niche is dead. I mean: Niche in the way that is generally used, covering stuff from Amouage to Malle etc. that -like my colleagues confirm- always was industry. Industry niche to be precise. Hence, the recent Lauder acquisitions (Lauder has no interest in buying small independent brands. They buy what is in a couple of hundred doors already. And those being bought out need Lauder to grow because they do not grow anymore). Anyhow: so you discuss, and get it confirmed again that in Germany the perfume market is turned upside down, a lot of perfumeries are suffering beyond believe because of discount etailers. (One problem: The Germans have this “Geiz ist geil” attitude.)
Perfumistas cheerfully show their Amouage bottles bought online at 50% off, which is what the perfumery around the corner paid for it, wholesales, and nobody wants to think about what this actually means.
My interpretation: Whatever brand you see discounted regularly at 50% is on its way down, not having control over their sales channels, inventory coming back from markets like the middle east, and losing all credibility in perfumeries.
Anyhow: This is actually not my business. But the bottomline of it all: It is always great to meet colleagues who are independent like myself and who find inspiration in raw materials and who share the same vision of things ahead. Nice.