Beauty Store Business

SEP 2014

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34 September 2014 | entirely to independent perfumers of all stripes. In our first year, we received just about 100 submissions from more than 15 countries in two categories: independent and artisan. For our second year, we have a third category—experimental—and we expect that number to double, though, of course, no one can predict the future. Submissions, by the way, [begin] Nov. 3, and anyone can find more information at Your website,, states that "the art of perfumery as a whole is going through a deep reexamination." How is the fragrance world changing with the explosion of independent and artisan perfumers? Well, that was written rather naively by me when we were first launching the IAO. But, yes, with the advent of infor- mation sharing on the Internet and with websites such as Perfumer's Apprentice, people who know where to look are able to access materials and knowledge, and thus are taking a stab at launching their own lines. The trouble seems to lie in the weird space between making small batches at home—selling to friends and maybe in one or two local stores—and expanding into a larger independent practice with larger batches, international distribution and the sudden cold-sweat fear of IFRA [International Fragrance Association] standards. Many people choose to stay small, which we fully admire. For those who are hoping to expand, however, they need support and information to help smooth that passage. That's the flip side of the explosion of independent practice: There's something such as our own version of a glass ceiling. We're hoping to figure out how to help people bridge that information gap through our own programming. What are your goals for the IAO? To have an impact, to maintain our sense of humor, to maintain our integrity, and— still—to survive. That's a tall order for any organization! Why is it important for beauty retailers to stock fragrances? And how can they be successful by selecting the right ones and then maximizing sales? It's important to stock fragrances because people like perfume, and perfumery is worth supporting. I have no idea how to select the "right" perfume, but certainly a lot of people I know in retail use this very basic test: "Would I wear it? Would my friends?" Stocking niche brands from artisan and independent practices would be an excellent way of supporting the inde- pendent perfumers who are hoping to further this current renaissance in per- fumery. But, honestly, any insight from me on this matter would be rather point- less. I run a not-for-profit enterprise and am no expert on the retail business! How can beauty retailers become more educated about fragrances? We have a lot of retail teams coming to our open sessions to get a better understand- ing of the materials through practice. It seems as though that's an excellent way of understanding fragrances. Otherwise, I think the easiest way to learn about the category is to read daily. What trends do you see in fragrance now? We're seeing a huge rise in artists want- ing to work with scent from Tracey Emin's scent for the Serpentine Gallery in London to Lernert & Sander's Everything perfume to the projects we're undertaking. This highly conceptual "experimental" space—which we've turned into a category for The Art and Olfaction Awards—is everywhere for us. Long live the unclassifiable perfume! ■ Tracy Morin is a freelance writer and editor based in Oxford, MS.

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