September 10, 2009

Flop, Drop, and Roll…

Posted in Benefit, Random Thoughts at 1:49 pm by April

With so many new fragrances on the market each year, it’s a daunting task to sort through all of the new releases and once you’re immersed in this sea of beautiful bottles, if you’re lucky enough to encounter a really groundbreaking or special scent, there’s always that chance that it will be dropped from a house’s line within a year or two, or perhaps even before you’ve finished your first bottle.

There are a couple of defenses against the aforementioned tragedy that a perfumista can employ. The first is to steel her heart against the disappointment; consoling herself as a mother would a teenaged daughter after the end of her first relationship, with reminders that there will be other loves along life’s path and that this bump in the road isn’t the end of all things good and pure in the world of perfume. The second, albeit a little less dramatic, is simply to stock up. It’s this method of protection against the loss of a beloved perfume that has inspired me to write today’s post.

It’s happened to all of us, older and young, and no matter what house the perfume hailed from, nor the price tag which accompanied it, the discontinuation of a favorite perfume is, at best, upsetting, and at worst, heartbreaking. It has been said that the use of a long-discontinued, yet recovered scent has aided in the survival of marriages on the rocks and that’s not so difficult for me to believe. I know that my boyfriend and I will always associate the scents we wore when we first began our relationship with that happy, elated feeling that comes along with first shared experiences, first dates, first kisses, and, well, you can see where I’m going with this. Of course, we’ve both acquired several new scents since then and our favorites may have changed, but that first pair will always remain special to us, now and (I’m guessing) for a long time to come.

Fortunately for us, those scents aren’t going anywhere because they’re quite popular best-sellers and the chance of discontinuation is rather small. There are, however, many more scents in our collections which are either niche or unpopular mainstream fragrances, and there is some concern in my mind as to how much time they have left on the market before being given the axe. Beautiful masterpieces are discontinued every year and while it’s true that it is just perfume, to many of us, this is no laughing matter.

It usually takes stumbling upon a new and either limited edition or rare niche fragrance that leaves me concerned about my future collection, and it’s been my recent introduction to an inexpensive Benefit eau de toilette, Something About Sofia, which has gotten me thinking, once again, about stocking up.

There are so many popular perfumes that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. While there is always the chance of reformulation, it seems to me that the risk of encountering a new reformulation of today’s best-sellers is quite low. With all of the flankers and limited editions assaulting the shelves of Sephora and other department stores, houses rely on their best-selling classics to keep funding these new launches. It doesn’t make sense to mess with a good thing and granted, it does happen, but I don’t really worry about it in today’s market, where people are cutting corners and investing in quality items rather than impulsive purchases.

There are some scents on my to-buy list, which I know will be available for years to come: Kenzo Flower, Coco de Chanel, The One by Dolce & Gabbana, and Tresor to name a few. Some of these I have previously owned and just haven’t repurchased, and the knowledge that they’ll most likely be around for a long time to come, makes me feel secure about purchasing other fragrances instead – the ones I love but find likely to flop.

I actually do find Something About Sofia likely to succeed in today’s market; it is a fruitier, more mature throwback to D&G’s The One, but more accessible and affordable to a younger crowd. It’s housed in packaging that would make even the most practical girl swoon and it’s produced by a company that tends to hang onto its products forever. That said, it’s one of those rare fragrances that I sniffed with low expectations, went back to smell again because I was enamored, and instantly knew I’d want as a part of my collection forever, and now I’m determined to be sure I have enough to last for awhile, lest the company decide that Sophia’s lost that certain something.

Other scents which have held this “wow” factor for me are much pricier and would require an investment of hundreds of dollars to stock up on and in today’s economy, well, that seems a little silly, even to a perfumista like me. But I can’t help but wonder if, at $36 per ounce, Sofia is worth purchasing in large quantities while it’s still easily had.

I also recently tested out Chanel’s Coromandel from the Les Exclusifs line in a local boutique and was told, upon realization that I rather liked the fragrance, that it was being squeezed out of production and the in-store stock was all that remained. A quick email to Chanel confirmed this was false information, and perhaps a sneaky tactic employed by a SA with no morals, however before I knew it wasn’t true, I was contemplating a way to fit $200 into an already tight budget (the bottles are only available in 6.8 ounces, so one bottle is more than enough stock for one lifetime). The threat of discontinuation really motivates me to purchase, even what I can’t afford, and this makes the world of limited editions flankers all the more understandable from a marketing perspective.

I do have a couple of back-up bottles of perfumes I’ve adored for years, that I managed to find on sale. That said, it’s really not much fun to purchase multiple bottles of perfume. The thrill of taking home a new scent isn’t there and that’s really half the fun (at least) of purchasing a bottle of perfume. But with so many fragrances at the mercy of a flop, drop, or roll scenario (a flop which wipes it off Sephora’s shelves in a matter of months; a drop which occurs after a year or so of success, and, of course, just as soon as you’ve declared loyalty and emptied your bottle; or a manufacturer’s decision to roll with it – to keep a fragrance and just let it ride the waves of today’s rising and falling market), I’m often concerned that one of my favorite scents will no longer be on store shelves the following year.

What are your opinions and experiences with discontinuation and/or purchasing multiple bottles of scents? Do you find yourself stocking up or holding out for the next great thing?