This type of perfume house is in contrast to large perfumeries, which mass-market scents and other fragrance products (such as body lotions and perfumed soaps). Rather than producing large qualities of perfumes, a niche perfume house will make smaller quantities of more exclusive products.
Usually, niche perfume houses have an artisan attitude, in that they put a great deal of care and artistry into creating pure essences that use authentic (rather than synthetic) ingredients.
Men and women who seek out more original and interesting perfumes, colognes and other scented products may prefer to buy from niche perfume houses. However, the price of niche perfumes and related products may be higher.
Examples of Niche Perfume Houses
Some of the world’s most respected niche perfume houses have gained media exposure and international acclaim, due to the popularity of their exclusive products. Examples of well-known niche perfume house brands include Annick Goutal, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Jo Malone and Serge Lutens.
Characteristics of Niche Perfumes
Niche perfumes that are typically created by a niche perfume house will often include natural essences, rather than lab-created ingredients. Examples of natural essences include jasmine, tuberose, violet, orange blossom or oils that are harvested from more exotic blooms or plants. Such scents may also contain unique notes, such as tobacco, verbena or grapefruit, in order to make them more resonant and original.
Each niche perfume house will have a certain style. Much like artists, who paint in modern or classical styles, the “noses” at niche perfume houses will have styles of perfume that are instantly recognizable. Each niche perfume house will seek out a distinct identity that assists the company in gaining traction in the business world.
Products may be carefully marketed in order to appeal to the senses and the imagination. For example, some scents will be named for the world’s most romantic and inspiring destinations. Comptoir Sud Pacifique is one example of a niche perfume house scent that evokes the spirit of the South Pacific.
Within the niche perfume house framework, there is great diversity. Therefore, it’s difficult to generalize about what sort of scents will be produced by these companies. However, the overarching goal of any niche or artisan business of this type is to produce the sort of quality that is hard to find anywhere else. Scents may be launched sporadically or according to a yearly schedule.
Usually, these types of perfume houses will have a master perfumer who invents new scents or manages a small team of perfume artisans. Products will be marketed selectively, in order to maintain the exclusivity of the brand. Advertising will be muted and low-key, rather than splashy and omnipresent.
Paris as the Epicenter of Niche Perfumery
The arrondissements of Paris are known as the homes of many of the world’s most impressive niche perfume houses, such as Parfums Divine, Penhaligon’s and Parfums Jovoy. In fact, tourists who are fans of French fragrance tend to take “niche perfume house tours” that lead to these (and other) highly-respected perfume companies.
However, every country has its niche perfume houses. For example, the quintessentially British firm, Creed, is located in central London.
While perfume and France go hand in hand in the eyes of many, there are fine examples of niche perfume houses to be found all over the world. These days, when organic ingredients and an artisan approach are appealing to many consumers, niche fragrance houses really fill a need. The World Wide Web has made it possible for these perfume houses to sell their wares online, thereby allowing them to access a global pool of customers.
While the price of niche fragrances may be higher, they offer a new standard of luxury to many fans of perfume. Whether clients want subtle and sophisticated fragrances or bold scents that are completely original, they will be likely to find what they are looking for at the world’s most impressive niche perfume houses.
Accessing products from niche perfume houses may be more difficult than buying mainstream fragrances. Since niche scents often lack major distribution in chain stores, drugstores and other retail outlets, ordering them online may be wise option. While some niche perfume houses don’t have an online presence, most will make their products available to customers via the World Wide Web.