Friday, September 18, 2015

Insights from a MUSE

first logo
Over 3 years ago, I started this blog under the name ReminiSCENT. This was the original logo I used. At that time, I didn't know what direction I wanted to take, with regards to perfumery, all I knew was I wanted to express myself and my perspectives on fragrance and beauty. ReminiSCENT became my brand and a visual representation of what I sought to do. Over the years, the blog continued to be part of my story but at times it became a challenge, as I found it most difficult to write and describe something that is truly a personal experience and encounter. I struggled to find my voice. I didn't like reviewing fragrances. Talking about notes and stuff felt contrived. It alienated people who did not know the terminology. Heck, I didn't know it myself.  I discovered I wasn't into the chemical make-up of a fragrance, as much as I was into sharing how it made me feel and what original brands I encountered. Maybe, I didn't know how to translate my emotions into words or didn't give myself enough time to learn. I read other blogs and was impressed with the synergy of the language and the eloquence of fragrance descriptions but I wasn't inspired. Without knowing, I became more motivated by bringing awareness to niche and luxury perfumery than I did by writing about it. Sharing information and interacting with people instantly, excited me. Instagram became my primary way to share and engage versus blogging. I became an,  "insta-blogger" of sort. 
Second logo

Newest Logo
This November marks 2 years working as a fragrance specialist for ByKilian at his NYC boutique and over 3 years working for the brand. Between this opportunity and my experience with COTY, I've learned about the luxury retail selling and what consumers on either spectrum desire and yearn for. What I hear most consistently coming from the luxury side is, "I want to smell different. I don't want to smell like everyone else." They desire originality and are willing to pay for it. Whereas, the department store consumer asks for what they want by name. They wear the same fragrance or brand of fragrance all the time and they often want what's sells the best. The more recognizable the name, the more these consumers  are willing to buy blinded. Their price points are pre determined and gift sets with "free" shower gels often seals the deal.  Granted, these consumers are at different ends of the spectrum but in between them there is a middle group (which I belonged to early on in my journey) that just don't know but have the capacity to buy.

I've traveled to Paris, the south of France, Morocco, and Portugal on my quest to better understand the perfume culture.  Most recently, on my trip to Italy to attend Pitti Frgranze, an international fragrance trade-show,  I determined the "typical" American consumer doesn't know perfumery at a higher level nor do they have an appreciation for it, compared to Europeans.  Americans tend to purchase what they are most familiar with or mass produced, or found in department stores. They  purchase on trends and their perspectives are influenced by popularity and advertising. I feel, the "niche" fragrance market in the states is virtually non existent. Don't misunderstand me, there are Americans who are part of that community of folks who "know" but majority of folks just don't have a level of awareness, therefore leaving them out of this amazing scent culture.   For example, perfume is part of the Russian lifestyle. They are educated, engaged, and appreciate original perfumery. As is the case in Italy and Paris. Brands seek out the competitive Russian market  Similarly, consumers in Italy and Paris are equally attached. I must admit, while walking through the train terminals of Italy, having dinner at a neighborhood restaurant, or asking a random person to direct me to the Santa Maria Novella, there wasn't an absence of scent, anywhere. I always smelled and felt the presence of a fragrance near or around me. Perfume is as much apart of the Parisian fiber as fashion. Of course, this is only my perspective, but I honestly feel there is a lot of work to be done to engage more Americans into perfumery. 

I mention all this to convey, under Reminiscent I was learning. With MUSE, I am still learning but I am more knowledgable today, hence my rant! However, I am committed to sharing my unique sensory perspectives with multicultural consumers in ways that I hope will spark a level of curiosity and conversation that will (one day) rival the European consumer ;)  Until then, MUSE will focus on inspiring an olfactive lifestyle rooted in communication,  discovery, connection, and originality.

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