words Alexa Wang
The Covid-19 pandemic has represented, for many business sectors, a real watershed event. Let’s take the fashion industry, for example: there is a widespread view that there was an industry before the pandemic, with its rules, its rituals and even its clichés; and there is a completely renewed one by now, which is based on totally different principles and parameters.
A more ethical and environment-oriented approach has replaced the careless, most of the time self-referential, previous one, with the aim of recovering a genuine relationship with the customers. Fashion has become more “humanistic”, closer to people’s need, aware of the global situation (especially in terms of consumers’ spending capacity, which got remarkably reduced recently) and able to reach new, once neglected, market areas.
Being a fashion industry’s peripheral (but yet essential) branch, perfumery went through the same issues during the last three years, and basically experienced the same changes. As a result of it, a bunch of relatively brand-new companies managed to take over the market, by proposing a series of products inspired by the above-mentioned new parameters. Brands like Dossier, an American company that proposes fragrances inspired by the most renowned brand perfumes (just check, for example, their Ambery Vanilla, inspired by YSL Black Opium) with the same quality of the real one, at a very affordable price (less than 30% of the originals, on average).
How could they do that? First of all, getting rid of every unnecessary packaging, which means cutting off a huge part of the production costs (it also means saving raw materials like paper, glass, tissues and metals, in obedience to a more environmental-friendly policy). Then avoiding the traditional advertising campaigns (TV and radio commercials, billboards, a massive use of celebrities as “ambassadors” of the brand), and finally rejecting the so-called “prestige pricing” that many designer brands apply to their items. The results are pretty plain to see: the above mentioned Ambery Vanilla’s cost is 29 dollars, while YSL Black Opium’s retail price is 104 dollars. And this difference doesn’t impact in any way on the product’s quality, in terms of scent’s pleasantness or persistence.
In short, we can summarize this new approach to perfumery highlighting the following fundamental principles.
1. Affordable prices for everyone. Luxury goods have to be available for all those who demand for them regardless of their wealth.
2. A tireless search for top-notch quality. All that matters is inside the bottle, not outside: top class raw materials, refined essences, a thorough craftsmanship.
3. Being clear to the customers. Every item is provided with detailed information about the product itself and the industry in more general terms.
4. Environment first. An utterly sensitive approach to the environment is quite a novelty for this industry, but throughout the last three years it has become something inescapable.
5. Cultivating the customers’ self-esteem. A drastic cut to a devious relationship with buyers, that once used to be a fashion industry’s prerogative: make people feel like they lack something, create a state of need, satisfy this last by offering a product that should be perceived as the “solution”. Now it’s time to break this vicious circle: the products you may want to buy are not a “correction” of your defects. They’re just a means to express your identity the way you want.
Which, as a sloppy glance might suggest, could appear not a big deal. But if we take a closer look at the whole thing, and we compare it with the recent past, it assumes the appearance of the start of a true revolution.