Niche & mainstream consumer culture

It is holiday season. This is the time of the year to feature perfumery on the front page. One would expect a portrait of one of the big brands, a review of celebrities, some sort of general interest. Surprisingly, Spiegel Online,  the most widely read German-language news websites, promotes niche scents as last minute gifts because they are “more “personal”. Given the development over the last few years this is only logical.

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Niche is mainstream?!

Niche has arrived at the center of mainstream consumer culture. Yet, it is amazing if one remembers the early days of this lively crowd with Jean Laporte and the other craftsmen of fragrance – by perfume enthusiasts. Everyone is niche – really?

Old & new dilemmas

It is certainly encouraging news for the field at large as well as the brands featured in this promotional piece: Bond No 9, Frau Tonis Parfum, Nasomatto, Aether. Yet, it also demonstrates the dilemma of niche. Imagine there is a reader who is now motivated to get a whiff of one of these scents? What are the options for this potential buyer? This reader might live in a German city :  Hannover, Leipzig or Münster and more. And then? Many readers will have a hard time to identify any store carrying a selection of niche brands. Online or Amazon might be an alternative. However, is online really a realistic entrance to niche perfumery? Can you imagine a newcomer who has hardly any experience with unusual scents buying a first perfume online? At the same time online is a tricky option for niche brands because it threatens ambassadors that are needed for developing the consumer culture.

All in all, mainstream media featuring niche or artistic perfumery signal a change in the industry. Yet, the further development of niche perfumery requires substantially more efforts.

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