Bottles and packaging used to matter very little to me. I was what your might call a reverse perfume snob, in that the prettier the presentation the more I thought the perfume inside the bottle would be a thin chemical mess.
Of course there was some justification for assuming that because in the past packaging for perfumes had taken up a good deal more of their budgets than the actual perfume, a cart before the horse situation that predominated for a long time. Francois Coty’s old saying that you should offer a woman a quality product in the best packaging that you could afford seems to have gone by the wayside, but I wonder if after all he wasn’t right.Some houses seem to have a knack for packaging and even though their scents may not be among the best of the best, they still are gorgeous to display. Such firms as Carthusia, Penhaligon’s, Ineke, Puredistance and Teo Cabanel go to lengths to make their products look as good as possible and these days when there is a glut of perfume on the market, frankly, that matters.
I’m not advocating the old system of flamboyant bottle and undistinguished scent, rather I think how the bottle looks should sway the buyer and they should feel confident that the perfume inside will be the best that can be managed, instead of dreck made for a few euros from the cheapest components.
I ought to make full disclosure here, which is that I like a good bottle. There’s no real reason why fragrance shouldn’t come in a attractive packaging. In fact when you consider what the cost of an expensive bottle is these days, and how much competition there is for the consumers’ money, is it a good idea to sell repetitive and drab?
Small start up companies are at a disadvantage of course, but for the larger ones, making an effort seems not all that outrageous to me. I like several of the Frederic Malles but do not care for their nondescript bottles. I’d have to decant them and while I sometimes do this, it’s nicer not to have to resort to the bags full of antique bottles. (Yes I do go looking for antique bottles.)
You’ don’t have to be a collector or unusually demanding to think this is reasonable. The margin on perfume is already so high that finding a little extra to package the product well is worth it. This sets your product apart and brings in the perfume bottle collectors.
Basically I think the combination of quality scent with good packaging is one of the efforts that sets the professionals apart from the amateurs in the perfume business, along with careful reformulations. What do I see these days? An awful lot of generic bottles. I might buy one if what is inside is really good, but most of the time, I find myself not tempted.
Should the perfume business package attractively, and how much does presentation matter to you when you make a purchase?