Guide Article Fragrance 1


Fragrance has emerged as the unexpected success story of post-lockdown spending

Fragrance is having a moment. While the category suffered last year as the world retreated indoors, sales have now come back stronger than ever as consumers prioritise the mood-boosting benefits of perfumes, colognes and candles. In the first quarter of 2021, fragrance sales reached $954 million, according to data from NPD Group, an 82% increase from the first quarter of 2020, and a 35% increase from 2019. Here we speak to Made Thought's creative director Radek Wojcik about what makes scent quite so powerful.

Unlike other beauty products which trade in functionality, fragrance is pure indulgence. It speaks more closely to lived experiences, emotions and the personality of the wearer than skincare, haircare or makeup ever could – and has the unique ability to make the wearer feel different, not just look different.

Our friend and client, the French perfume curator Frédéric Malle, once said that every bottle of fragrance is its own little world, with the ability to evoke unique emotive scenes – like a painting or a film. It’s a sentiment that resonates strongly with our own Radek, who has worked on olfactory projects for Frédéric Malle, Stella McCartney, Charlotte Tilbury and Tom Dixon.

“Whether you’re a minimalist or maximalist, modernist or classicist, purest or experimentalist – there’s an olfactive world for you to discover. This is what I find the most fascinating,” he says. “Within the context of our pandemic recovery it allowed us to experience normal again–even if only for a moment, reminding ourselves who we are. It allows consumers that momentary sensation of escape; a celebration and ritual for oneself.

Its transportive quality can evoke a memory, a feeling, a person, a time or place by effortlessly by-passing our consciousness detector and implanting vivid images and emotions in the deepest parts of our brain; it’s even proven to enhance mood. It’s science by way of art. Experience by way of redolence.”

Beyond the actual product, a strong brand narrative is key for attracting consumers in this space.

“The brands we choose to associate ourselves with are a representation of our mindset,” says Radek. “The background music to our real life narratives. This is the purest and most unadulterated allure of a coherent brand story and the culture it can create.”

But it’s no longer just the big luxury brands dominating this space–smaller, more artisanal fragrance houses are creating a more diverse and interesting industry.

“This greater awareness introduces more choice allowing consumers to define who they align with in much greater and specific detail. We predict this where there will be interesting developments in 2022 and beyond.”

Guide Article Fragrance 1


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