Success smells sweet for local perfumers

PERSONAL SCENTS: According to local artisan perfume firms, consumers here are now more open to perfumes with personality and which are linked to personal emotions and memories.


    Jul 21, 2016

    Success smells sweet for local perfumers

    LOCAL artisanal perfume companies are finding a sweet spot here, with business doubling for some and new players entering the fray.

    There are up to three home-grown firms here selling artisanal perfume, or fine fragrances made in small batches with attention to detail.

    Prices for the artfully crafted scents, which are sold online and in lifestyle stores, range from $57 for a 30ml bottle to $200 for a 50ml bottle.

    Jason Lee, founder of the latest entrant, Six, told My Paper yesterday that consumers here are turning away from mass celebrity-endorsed branded perfumes to scents that are more personal and tell a story.

    "Singapore is at the forefront in South-east Asia as we are exposed to a lot of overseas brands and artisanal products," said the 32-year-old who works with collaborators from Swiss-based fragrance company Givaudan.

    The ingredients in Six's first three 20ml unisex fragrances, launched yesterday, are hand-picked from all over the world and include woods from Laos, vanilla from Africa and rosewood from Brazil.

    The scents are sold on and at some Naiise concept stores.

    On the shift in preferences, Mr Lee said "people used to be so comfortable with brands that they feel armed by it" but they now "strip" and are open to new brands.

    Gauri Garodia, chief executive of Singapore-based perfumery Code Deco, said consumers are "increasingly open to niche perfume" as they have become "more discerning, individualistic and want fragrances that reflect... personality".

    Ms Garodia, 43, whose company was established in 2013 and is considered the first of its kind here, said Code Deco has grown through word of mouth.

    The company, which sells scents on its website and also at its stores at Orchard Central's PACT and Kapok at National Design Centre, has doubled its gross sales in two years. It is looking to expand into North America and other countries.

    Over at Freda 'D Parfum, business has doubled over two years since it launched in 2014.

    Perfume designer Faridah Yusuf, 32, said she foresees more business opportunities, as the introduction of Singapore Polytechnic's Perfumery and Cosmetic Science diploma in 2014 will mean more Singaporeans being trained in this field.

    The brand, which also offers bespoke perfumes, is looking to open its own flagship store and expand overseas.

    Je t'aime Perfumery, which has run perfume-making workshops since 2013, plans to release scents based on oils extracted from native Singapore orchids at museums and tourist spots by the end of the year.

    Director Prachi Saini Garg, 42, said sourcing for ingredients is a challenge, as expenses can be high in Singapore.

    What exactly is the appeal of a personal fragrance?

    A good scent is mood-lifting and shapes others' perception of you, noted Mr Lee.

    "Fragrances in the past featured models and celebrities - they sold you a dream. Now I'm selling a story. Scents create emotions and memories and a good fragrance is supposed to trigger that," he said.