I’ve been thinking

As the title says, I’ve been thinking about discontinued perfumes all day today, prompted by Birgit’s find of a perfume shop with vintage treasures.

My mind went mostly the way of discontinued Guerlains but it could be applicable to any company still in existence and producing perfumes.

The way I figure it, it all revolves around money and economy. Economy being the operative word here. One I hate sincerely. Because you cannot possibly convince me it’s in my best interest to follow economic principles that can’t be understood through common sense (which is most today). And honestly, the banking and economic systems in effect today seem very far away from common sense to me. That especially includes banks. Basically, any institution that makes you pay for the mess they made of the world we live in today.

Ok, I’ll stop with the rant – this really is about perfume. 🙂

So, I was thinking, most discontinued perfumes went that way because of lack of sales (making enough money as the company deems profitable). I say most, I’m aware some can no longer be produced due to unavailable ingredients.
But basically, the perfume goes into alcohol so you don’t need that much of the original formula to make several hundred bottles.

What I’ve been thinking is, many discontinued perfumes have fans that would love to get access to bottles of their favourite perfumes.
So, why not make smaller batches of those perfumes and  not place them into boutiques but make them available at order? You wouldn’t need to ship them to boutiques and basically, only hardcore fans would buy them straight from your headquarters. I’m pretty sure you could even put those in simple bottles, just as long as fans would get the juice they wanted.

And I believe even eBay wouldn’t be a problem because anyone could order a bottle for themselves and those that went on eBay would mean that the seller would have to go below the original price, otherwise anyone could get a bottle for the usual price from the company. So, I don’t think many of those bottles would appear on ebay.

Basically, this sounds sensible to me (bear in mind I have no economic knowledge).

What do you think? Are there huge holes in my idea I can’t see?

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13 thoughts on “I’ve been thinking

  1. unseencenser March 28, 2012 at 22:07 Reply

    You have a sound idea; the only problem with it from the supplier point of view is that they lose the economies of scale they put into place to make large amounts of a product. It's cheaper to get X bottles and make X bottles of perfume on a given day than to do Y of one formula, then clean everything and do Z of a different formula, and so on. Some factories already do that (I know Molton Brown does), so it simply costs more in labor and supplies to shift the equipment from one product to another more often. Those costs would have to get rolled into the product. Also, my understanding is that there's a certain amount of loss through mail order, and mailing is difficult in some countries with perfume. So there are more costs than you might think in direct mail retailing, rather than just shipping to resellers and letting them deal with those headaches. Including having a customer service staff (which companies that only manufacture don't usually have.)Does that make sense?

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  2. Natalie March 29, 2012 at 05:14 Reply

    I don't have any economic knowledge, but I don't see any problem with this either. Especially since most of us are probably willing to pay a fair amount for those special, discontinued perfumes. And even more so if they are direct from the company.

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  3. Ines March 29, 2012 at 09:53 Reply

    Sure that makes sense. But that makes sense when you do everything just for the biggest profit.And that was what I was trying to say is wrong with my idea of today's economy.I believe that it would be possible to put my idea in life and still make a little profit, not as much as you do when having a world wide distribution. The reason why those perfumes were discontinued in the first place was because they weren't making enough profit. So, my point is, a move like this would show appreciation of your customers and not just that you treat them like people who are willing to give you more and more money so you'd make a big profit.As to shipping, that's standard that it's not possible to ship to all countries and many companies don't but there are always ways around that in the perfume community. :)And I don't think they would need to do this regularly, once a year to make a batch for the hardcore fans.I can't help but believe if a company really wanted to, it would be able to put such a practice into effect without losing money.

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  4. Ines March 29, 2012 at 09:55 Reply

    Thanks Natalie for the support. 🙂 Now if only this became true…

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  5. Anonymous March 29, 2012 at 19:04 Reply

    You raise some very interesting points here, and not just about perfume.I do not think that it such trouble for companies to do something like what you propose, and also the "core" of their actions can be seen in almost every aspect of life today.Have you noticed? There is always a new perfume, always a new makeup trend. The TV shows change name every year -nay! every season- even when they are the same thing with the same people. Commercials come and go in a flash and if you could somehow see a whole day of you life as it was 5 years ago you will remember so many things that somehow you never notice they are gone now.OK rant is over. I was trying to convey the "feel" that I seem to catch on every aspect of life that there must always be something new to follow. So there is no point in going back to the original perfumes as long as the trend is go after the new one.More than that, I believe that some of the original ingredients may no longer be available or permitted to be used. So new concoctions must be made to recreate the perfume so why not tweak it a little further and make something new?Phew! Sorry for the long comment. Long-time lurker here, so many things to say!—Marianthi—

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  6. Ines March 29, 2012 at 19:14 Reply

    Marianthi, thank you for de-lurking. 🙂 It's always great when someone does that.You're right, it's always something new. But I refuse to be a part of a trend that doesn't feel right to me. And if I can wear my mother's clothes which get back into fashion, I do believe I should be able to choose the same when it comes to perfume.Although honestly, I was considering more the discontinuations in the last 10 years or so – with ingredients available but sales not being as great. Or, those one season perfumes that seem to be great and disappear instantly.Hope I see you comment again! 🙂

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  7. Undina April 1, 2012 at 03:41 Reply

    Where did my comment go? 😦 It disappered!

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  8. Ines April 1, 2012 at 17:15 Reply

    Undina, no worries. I don't know how it happened but I still have the email notification of your comment, and here it is:Undina."I think it's a beautiful idea but I don't think it'll work. Not as much because of companies' greed but mostly because of consumers. We can discuss ad nauseum "the chicken or the egg" but it looks like a modern consumer constantly wants to be dazzled by something new. Look at a toothpaste market – out of all the things! – I don't remember seeing the same packaging two times in a row I go to the store to buy it. So I do not think there will be enough demand for the most discontinued perfumes to warrant the production costs."

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  9. Ines April 1, 2012 at 17:20 Reply

    Undina, but that is my point. That not everyone wants to move forward all the time, losing some of the gems of the past.Your argument makes sense but I believe you need to start somewhere if you want to either make a difference or change something. I don't want to be dazzled all the time (especially as nothing nowadays IS dazzling). I would love to know I can rely on some things I love to remain a permanent fixture in my life.It really doesn't seem like too much to ask.

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  10. Blacknall Allen April 1, 2012 at 18:32 Reply

    I like your idea a lot. Yes it's true that old gems get discontinued when their sales drop or ingredients become expensive, but we do live in the age of Just In Time manufacture and also of increasingly product specific software. Perhaps this isn't a business model that could fly next week, but in the next four years? Maybe so. My basic point here is that small production,almost bespoke production,looks like it is increasingly on the cards, because the costs for it are dropping. Anyway, I know I'd buy it.

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  11. Ines April 2, 2012 at 11:25 Reply

    Hi Blacknall, thank you for stopping by. I know I would buy some bottles that are no longer in production and I keep thinking that even though those batches wouldn't come close to hyper-production of perfumes today, I still think that it would be enough to warrant the costs and still have some left for profit.Of course, I'm basing all this on my estimation of everything, but why wouldn't an economic expert in such a company make a projection and see?

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  12. ChickenFreak April 5, 2012 at 07:05 Reply

    My feeling is that the big houses, at least, no longer really care about the perfume, and so they simply wouldn't cater to a customer who does. That customer, the one who truly loves and cares about the product, knows about it, fiercely defends it, is, I think, a customer that they don't want. The book Perfection Salad talks about the forces that turned "a nation of honest appetites into an obedient market for instant mashed potatoes". That was about food, but I think that the big perfume houses and IFRA find our "honest appetites" to be an annoyance, not an opportunity.

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  13. Ines April 5, 2012 at 13:21 Reply

    ChickenFreak, your opinion really sounds depressing but also very true. The things is, all this sounds opposite to what common reason would dictate and I can't help but wonder, why is it so?

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