On the shelves of perfume stores or on the Internet, you can find fragrances at all prices, from very affordable to astronomical sums. And yet, the juices look the same in appearance. So how can such differences be justified, and what is the most expensive part of making a fragrance? Let’s take a look at what’s behind the marketing and manufacturing to understand the true price of perfume.
From luxury to popular product
A gentry perfume
Initially used for medicinal and religious purposes to communicate with the divine, perfume was soon reserved for a certain elite of the population. Already in ancient Egypt, the most elaborate essences represented the height of refinement. Meanwhile, the common people were content to coat themselves with castor oil. Since the Renaissance, fragrances have been enjoyed by the noblest. They used and abused very powerful perfumes with very expensive animal raw materials imported from the Orient such as amber, musk and civet. The bottles become more and more precious and the perfume truly acquires its status of luxury product.
Perfume for everyone!
The creation of Eau de Cologne allowed a slight decrease of the perfume price. As these fragrances are less concentrated and more volatile, the manufacturing cost is less important. However, we had to wait for the industrialization of the processes and the large-scale manufacturing to see fragrances become more accessible. But it is thanks to advances in organic chemistry and the synthesis of natural raw materials that the price of a bottle definitely became much more affordable. Indeed, thanks to synthesis, the use of perfume has become widespread. By ensuring the production of large quantities of very rare ingredients, their cost decreased. Formerly reserved for the high social classes, perfume became “mainstream”.
Behind the label
Despite these technical advances, the price of perfume still remains a mystery to consumers. They do not understand how it can double or even triple from one brand to another. To better understand the price of perfume, you have to look behind the label and find out what’s in it.
Raw materials and manufacturing
To evaluate the price of a perfume, you must first take a look at its composition. The cost of the raw materials the perfumer will use can vary considerably from one ingredient to another. Some products are hand-picked, flower by flower, like jasmine or rose. Others are cultivated and exploited in a quasi-industrial way. Because of their rarity, their cultivation method, their seasonality or the vagaries of the weather, the cost will be impacted. Iris padilla, which comes from Tuscany, is one of the most expensive raw materials in perfumery and can be sold at a golden price. While these materials are expensive, the prices of some synthetic ingredients can also skyrocket. The costs related to the purchase of these raw materials will therefore inevitably play a role in the final price of the fragrance.
Beyond the cost of supply, the method used to extract the essence can also have an impact on the final price. While new cutting-edge techniques are being developed, they are not always within the reach of all perfumers. The price of your perfume therefore varies according to its composition, the extraction technique used, but also and above all, according to its concentration in raw materials. To understand the difference between eau de Cologne, eau de toilette, eau de parfum and perfume, you can read our dedicated article here.
The bottle and packaging
Once the juice is ready, it is time to bottle it. And glass bottles can represent a more or less important expense item. The biggest perfume houses usually use specialized design agencies. Shape, size, decoration, cap, spray bottle… everything is studied to seduce future buyers but also to remain practical for industrial packaging. When the design is conceived and validated, it is now necessary to call upon a glassmaker to make the moulds. Finally, the last step is to imagine and create the packaging that will house the bottle. The cost of development can therefore vary and have a significant impact on the final price of a fragrance.
And the more complex the bottle, the longer it takes to package. The assembly of a perfume is made of several dozen steps, many of which must be carried out manually. Cleaning the bottle, silk-screen printing, applying the labels, filling, placing the spray bottle, crimping, fitting the pump cover, cleaning, assembling the cases and fitting the wedges, placing the crystal paper and shipping… You can’t imagine the time it takes to produce a perfume!
Once the final product is ready, it still needs to be publicized and adopted. Marketing and communication come into play. Several issues will be addressed: the choice of a muse to embody the olfactory identity of the product, the implementation of communication campaigns with the media, promotion within the points of sale… These levers often constitute the most important expense item for the big players in the market. While the production of certain television commercials for luxury brands is worth millions of euros, smaller companies will prefer a more confidential promotion.
You now have to sell that perfume somewhere! Some brands decide to sell their creations only through their own eshop. That way, they limit the middlemen and can control their margins. But buying a perfume on the Internet without having smelled it is quite a gamble. So brands often rely on physical shops to test their fragrances. It is therefore necessary to take into account the margins of these shops, so that they can break even and put the fragrance forward while generating a minimum of profit.
Other brands also go through distributors, who are in charge of finding points of sale where the fragrances will be sold. These distributors logically take a commission, as do the sales agents who help designers to place their fragrances in stores. These different players, all essential in bringing a fragrance to the final customer, therefore have an impact on the selling price of the fragrance!
Prices at Carrément Belle
Democratizing high perfumery
As transparent as the glass of our bottles, we have always wanted to make a clear statement about the prices of our products. Our philosophy for over 30 years has been to make beautiful perfumery accessible through fair prices all year round. Without ever skimping on quality, of course! To achieve this, we rely on French and European partners with incredible know-how. We also internalize as many tasks as possible within our workshop to limit the middlemen and thus reduce costs. The filling of our bottles, their packaging or the preparation of your parcels are carefully done by hand. Without forgetting the little note written with our nicest pen. It is for us a pledge of simplicity and authenticity.
To offer you affordable fragrances, we invest most of our budget in what we consider essential: the perfume. Each creation is therefore made of natural raw materials as well as high quality synthetic ingredients to find the perfect balance. All this with a beautiful concentration since all our fragrances are eaux de parfum or pure perfumes. What matters most to us for your little noses is what is inside the bottle, not what is around it.
Our muse is you
To showcase our juices, we favor simple and elegant bottles and caps. We limit our communication budget to the strict minimum to encourage direct contact with you on our online chat and our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Rather than investing in an expensive muse, we are proud to count on our thousands of ambassador customers to perfume the world with our fragrances! Fragrances that you can order online or find at our loyal retailers that we can never thank enough.
Do you have a better understanding of the prices charged in perfumery and the possible differences?