Saturday Question: How Many Perfumes Should A New Brand Release?

From the last week’s post:

TaraC: I am suspicious of lines like Derek Lam that launch a dozen scents at once with each one a different rainbow color. Definitely smacks of style over substance.

Undina: I’m suspicious of brands that launch a dozen of scents at once, whatever colors those are :)

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #115:

How Many Perfumes Should A New Brand Release?

Leaving aside that the market is still oversaturated with new brands and perfumes (no pun intended) , if a new brand were to appear, in your opinion, how many perfumes should they come out with and why?

One eponymous of the brand? Two, one feminine one masculine? Three? Five?

My Answer

I am a “serial” tester: if I am interested in a brand, I feel an urge to test all perfumes. So, often I feel overwhelmed by the number of perfumes by a brand (not necessarily a new one), so I skip it altogether. As an example of such brands: Montale and Mancera. I approached the former but gave up after 5 or 6 samples (I found a couple I didn’t mind wearing from a decant). And I decided that I wouldn’t know where to start with the latter, so other than a cursory sniffing at a store, I’m completely ignorant of their offerings.

Mancera Perfumes

That brings me to the answer to my own question: I would say 3 if I can try them at a store (without getting a sample, it’ll be hard to properly test more) or 4-5 if I need to order samples online (it feels wasteful to pay for shipping of just 2-3 samples). After that, if I didn’t like those that I tried, I might never go back to the brand.

How about you?

How Many Perfumes Should A New Brand Release?

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30 thoughts on “Saturday Question: How Many Perfumes Should A New Brand Release?

  1. Just one. And while we are at it, same for already existing brands. When I began this fragrance obsession decades ago there were less than one hundred releases per year. What’s the current figure? 3k? Too much. And it has the opposite effect in that it overwhelms me and I seek out nothing ( unless one of my pals mails me something)

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    • With existing brands I would agree. But for a new one… It would be kind of wasteful of resources to do the advertising, all the stores negotiating and everything else that goes into launching a new line and new perfume just to produce one.

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  2. When a brand hits the market with a mix of 10 or more perfumes, I automatically think that one of the large companies (i.e. Firmenich) was hired to create a mix of offerings from citrus, to florals, etc.. And they all end up smelling like there wasn’t much thought put into them. So a small number to me, means they were thoughtfully created and curated. And yes, the market is incredibly saturated with mediocrity.

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  3. If I want to sniff new offerings from a new house I have to return to project manager mode.
    1. Research which online retailers are stockists & cost of samples
    2. Check shipping destinations & costs
    3. Work out if extra custom payments will be applied at source or if the parcel will be held by Customs & Excise until Import taxes are paid by me.
    4. Make decision if 1 2 & 3 make the sample purchase worth it
    5. If a sample haul is too expensive decide whether any one if the line is screaming at me loud enough to blind buy then repeat 1 2 3 & 4 for a FB
    6. Lose the will to breath during the palaver above
    7. Check what bricks & mortar stores in the UK are stockist
    8. Check the cost of travelling to the nearest city with a stockist
    9. Call the store to check the stock level of what I’m interested in
    10. Decide if cost of travel means the total cost of purchase is too expensive for my budget
    11. Decide if I have time to travel to try a perfume or perfumes
    12. Give up even being interested

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    • Love your thinking :) Very structured.

      Realization of how much my trip to SF for a sniffing session costs (including gas and parking fees) brought me to terms with paying for samples from time to time :)

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  4. I would love return to the days of single launches. I’d actually be able to sniff new things, most likely. Launching with multiple perfumes seems really focus-grouped. I imagine it has to do with the economics/ funding for splashy new brands – I’m guessing they need to hit sales goals quickly and offering multiples for different tastes probably helps attract a wider range of buyers.

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    • Yes, as I wrote in my response to Brigitte’s comment above, even without sales goals, just sheer economics of a new launch demands multiple offerings. But anything higher than 5 makes me suspect a cookie cutter approach rather than creativity and talent.

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  5. I agree with The Scented Hound-waayyyy too much being released at once. Even the dries Van Noten line-was it twelve? As a consumer it’s too much and nothing seems to be as special. It’s not possible to properly test and wear so many new things. I liked the Chanel Le Lion release-it seems like it was properly done, and we had time to look forward to it, and think about it. I feel the need to simplify things in my own life-and this gives me the opportunity to share things that are nice, but maybe don’t suit me, or my life now. I think I have about one hundred bottles, and I don’t want anymore.

    Great Saturday question, as always :) Thanks for making me think. Thank you for today’s Rusty post on IG :)

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    • Thank you Carole, I appreciate your kind words.

      To demonstrate how far I am from all that, until this comment I had no idea who Dries Van Noten was or that they had perfumes (10, I checked). I’m not interested in these perfumes at all – and still the discovery set attracts me! :)

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  6. I agree with all the above. I eagerly anticipate the yearly release of a new Puredistance perfume or Dusita, and other brands that carefully curate their collection. But a new brand comes up with 10 or 12 at once….I just feel overwhelmed. Mizensir was one like that for me recently. I know Morillas is a talented perfumer, but the sample set of … I think 14 perfumes….was just overwhelming. I can understand how a new brand just starting up needs to have a few in their collection. Essential Parfums and Matiere both started with about 6, and that didn’t bother me.

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    • In my book, a good mature brand should release not more than two (but preferably one) new perfume per year. I’m not sure I understand the economics of constant new releases: if I know, like and own a perfume from the brand, how often should I buy another new perfume from them? And why new instead of the one I already love (once it’s finished). And if I don’t know that brand yet, why should it matter to me that one perfume was launched 5 years ago and another one 5 minutes ago? Why not to put money and effort into promoting great existing perfumes (if they are great, I mean) instead of churning out endless new mediocre perfumes?

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  7. Yes,like several people here I say that there is Too Much. The ones I dislike the most are the houses concentrating on the packaging and claims to edginess where the perfumes themselves are deeply unoriginal.

    If someone is willing to put some thought into the actual perfume then I say three (she said with crabbiness)

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  8. If I’m going to buy a discovery set, I would like it to contain at least 4 or 5 different perfumes. Psychologically, an odd number is more appealing (I’m not sure exactly why but research has shown this for presenting options…) However, I would only be curious enough to buy it if it had something distinguishing about it or if someone had written something tempting about it.
    Then again, I wouldn’t find it strange if a new brand launched with, say, 3 perfumes to get their presence on the market. Like most commenters, I probably wouldn’t be interested if someone suddenly came out with 10 or more, for similar reasons others have given.

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    • 2, 4 and probably 6 are slightly disturbing numbers :) But starting from 8 it’s better – though, here we go into a territory of “too many.” So, 3 or 5 should be just enough :)

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        • I don’t know… I think it might be related to the custom in my native country to bring bouquets with even number of flowers (4, 6, 8) to funerals (above 10 is a different rule, it’s already a bunch, and the exact number doesn’t matter).

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          • Interesting, I didn’t know about that! The opposite is true in Chinese/Taiwanese culture—we give money in an even number (eg, 1200 or 2000) for happy occasions like weddings because we want the happiness to be doubled, and in an odd number (eg, 1100, 5000) for sad occasions like funerals because we want it to have occurred only once. In both Chinese and Japanese, the number 4 sounds the same as the word for death so we stay away from it at all costs.
            What is the reason for bringing bouquets with an even number of flowers to funerals?

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            • Hmmm… I don’t know how to break it to you… but both 1100 and 5000 are even numbers (even though the former one does look slightly odd as a gift of money ;) ).
              As to the tradition of even number of flowers for funerals, I wasn’t able to find the etiology of that tradition – only that it is an old one. But it is imprinted in how we think about bouquets.

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              • South Asian culture is similar. My son’s Indian in-laws will write checks for $101 as a gift or $103, or $501. It’s considered bad luck to to use an even number. They usually add a 1 to the main amount, whatever it might be.

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  9. Love this question Undina.
    When Loubouton, Van Noten, DIOR, Vuitton and others have dropped a large group of perfumes at once, I feel only the urge to retreat till the buzz dies down. Interestingly there was almost zero buzz for both Loubouton and Van Noten. I saw a post on Fragrantica but very little else across the scentbloggosphere. It feels like they are working against themselves. Even if you have an hour to spend in store sniffing them you still don’t get a really adequate knowledge.
    I would LOVE it if all companies could stop at one pillar fragrance release per annum or less and a few well planned, interesting flankers of the existing line up.
    A new brand maybe three maximum. Wouldn’t it be even better if they really concentrated on making one incredible, exciting, new perfume though. A scent that would make our hearts sing, even if it wasn’t exactly our style. We’d be overjoyed that something so magnificent could be created and sold.
    Portia xx

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    • I don’t think I’ve tried any of those “big drops”… Wait… I did go into the LV store and smelled some soon after the release, but they weren’t too appealing – so, I didn’t even think about them afterwards.
      3 would be a good number. I hope more new brands will stick to it.

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  10. My preference is for one, as Puredistance did (as has been mentioned), or Papillon. Three to five max otherwise, thinking of the discovery set aspect. And like you I feel overwhelmed if the brand has too many perfumes in its line in total. I remember struggling to test the Memo line in Berlin once, which was absolutely massive and very disheartening to a nose which had already sniffed a lot that day.

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