general thoughts

unfinished business

Today, I managed to squeeze in 15 minutes sketching time, before turning on the electronic magic machine with its window to the world, and after drinking the first cup of coffee, with a bunch of roses in front of me. It is sort of unfinished, but fits today’s post perfectly, and hence you find it in all its simplicity going with this post.

Quite often, unfinished sketches are the best, as I -like many others- tend not to find the right moment when to stop. Quite often, this right moment is there before you realize it.

I did this sketch after 5 am, getting up really early in order to get a couple of urgent stuff out of my way, like preparing shipments, and diluting scents.

So, yes, I returned from Russia the other day, where I learned a lot. I think it is very dangerous to think in generalizing terms, and yes, Russia as such does not exist: There are many Russia out there. This journey brought me to Russia as you can explore it in Kazan and Yekaterinenburg, and yes, I have only scratched the surface. Of course, we talked a lot about scents. There are differences when it comes to what sells, and to whom. Contrary to the west, a middle class is less evident, to say the least. Most fragrances are bought as gifts, actually, and a gift of 200$ is ususally too cheap. So, I think, you get the message.

Bottles with some blingbling factor sell. Packages must be big, with some silver and gold elements. The appreciation of artisanal and handicraft is pretty low, and an industrial touch does not hurt when selling a 400$ product there. Top covers are heavy, and so are the bottles.

And guess what: This is the trend that you seen in so called high end boutiques in Europe, too. People love it big. And I do not judge them. I like it big, too, when it comes to bikes, flowers and fragrance’s sillage. Many go for heavy tops, heavy glass flacons with a big chunk of glass below the juice, big boxes and some blingbling elements. Thus,  maybe, what you see in Russia is just a bit extreme, and our wealthy clients here in Europe, Paris, London etc. (and visitors from other places of the world such as the middle east) are actually similar in their taste. And trust me: They buy a lot. It is not the average reader of blogs who buys most scents (mine included), there in Russia and here in Europe/US. It is an upper end of society, where up=wealthy, where folks buy. A lot.

Now here’s the thing: The juice does not matter mostly. Thus, these higher end market focusing brands are quite comparable to the many concept “niche” brands that you see pooping up and popping up, where the concept is the key and not the fragrance. The juice does not matter. How cool’s that?

Actually, from a practical point of view, this is super cool as it allows us, perfumers, to produce a lot of new scents that are repetitions of what we have done before and focus on other things more important, like talking about art and posing for the press. Yep, that was sarcastic.

Me, being sort of a dinosaur, me thinks this is also super cool as I do things differently, to some extend. It opens up a lot of space where I feel comfortable. And yet, in the end, to be honest, whatever I create: I want to sell it, and at the end of the day, I sell it there where it sells easiest. I had many discussions with art creating friends. There is a saying that is quite popular there: “I do it my style. If you don’t like it, then just  don’t buy it”. For me, this is too simple. As an artist, you have to take the liberty to do what you find important and beautiful. As a vendor of art, you have to make sure that what you create sells. It is a balancing act, where you need to bend, but not too much, otherwise you break.

I guess for me, after Russia, after Pitti, after many other encounters and experiences, the bottom line is: Do it both. You want it small and affordable? Or you want it big and expensive and heavy? No worries, we make sure you’ll get that one, too. And this, yep, this was not sarcastic.