Monday, May 3, 2010

Breaking the BONDs

I was fully prepared to write a long post about the latest business practices of Bond No.9 (i.e.opposing the selling of decants of their fragrances through the reliable services of The Perfume Court) after a long hiatus on the brand's news due to the somewhat non-diplomatic (for lack of a harsher word) handling of internet fragrance-camaraderie-politics on the whole (see their handling of the name "Peace"). But thankfully State of the [Car]nation beat me to the punchline with his great post BONDage and Dominance, which is highly recommended reading!

For what is worth, I have given every benefit of a doubt to businesses such as this one in the past, maintaining that they are within their rights to oppose all sales that might pose a threat to the integrity of their wares even inadvertedly ~and if we're all maintaining that perfumery is an art, then how can reselling it piece by piece not lessen that, even if it suits our pocketbook? Same is true for any perfume company (see the ceasing of decant selling on Ebay) and I can see their point. Yet somehow it's the MANNER something is handled that makes all the difference in the world: "Cease and desist" via Twitter messaging somehow appears like a calculated risk that a three-women-operated internet business (all decent ladies as far as I know) would rather drop the line off their stock instead of having to hire a costly attorney and take the case to court for years to come. So not cool!
Maybe we should all become fans of this cinematic reference "Piss on your peace..." instead? What do you think?

Brilliant (and highly educational) dialogue courtesy of the classic film The Lion in Winter with Peter O'Toole as Henry II of England and Timothy Dalton as King Phillip II of France (and Anthony Hopkins as Richard the Lionheart).


  1. Alright. I never tried anything from them because I wouldn't touch the bottles with a long stick... and now when I see their style of communication, I'll go on living without Bond's fragrances. Serves them right.

  2. yeah, I'm fed up.

    Did you see this? Not sure if it's a real thing or not (one never can tell w/the internets) but if so, a little too late in my book


  3. Ugh. How off-putting. And doing it via twitter is just extra weird and off.
    I don't know what they're thinking, but it's not promoting a good image among anyone who's paying attention.

  4. Ah, they think they have time. Perhaps they do. They certainly aren't gaining fans among perfume fans by this method of behavior, though.

    But maybe they aren't interested in perfume fans. Maybe they are interested in clientele who are in it for the exclusivity...who don't share bottles?

    I agree with you on the point that perfumers have a right to explore and identify their legal rights and boundaries, and that this tactic is probably not the most elegant nor PR beneficial. I'm not so sure about the issue of separating one amount of juice into smaller amounts somehow lessening the art...after all, companies themselves offer greater and lesser amounts. It can't be the AMOUNT of juice that defines if it is art, even by the producer's own definition.

    I love that film, btw. "What family doesn't have it's ups and downs?" (Mom/Eleanor, in a different scene, after another particularly brutal family confrontation.) It is interesting that the family's downfall was all that squabbling over territory, and whose approach was correct...

  5. You know, this is actually excellent timing! I've been all but boycotting them since Peacegate, but well, it's been some time, and that new High Line bottle was purdy.... thanks for the reminder, Bond!

  6. Excellent point. And it seems to me that samples are a nearly-free way to develop a product. One 100 bottle = 100 1 ml samples = 100 potential buyers of bottles at least, more if you count word of mouth and further swapping. Interesting that they can't see that.

    I received in a swap a vial of the "Saks Fifth Avenue" scent. Never mind that it's a nothing-special tuberose, it has now got me wondering...if Bond has a deal with Saks, could it be the retailer strong-arming the manufacturer? This is certainly not unheard of, especially when retail was much more a market force than it is now, which may be part of the point. Still, it's a short-sighted blunder and the Twitter "c & d" makes it ludicrous.

  7. L,

    I wonder who handles the communication now. It didn't use to be like that say 4-5 years ago.
    At any rate, they should do damage control.

  8. BF,

    thanks a million, sounds like they are needing a new person or what?
    I have no problem with the problematics of having one's wares distributed for sale without central control. I have a problem with the communication style. Especially since they themselves sell the bons bons. Looks like it's more a case of lost cash.

  9. P,

    yeah, isn't it? I thought it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm sure that Kenzo would have as much of a case in the names stakes and people selling on ebay are numerous. What, is it too hard to get those?

  10. S,

    the whole dialogue is aplenty with how someone might be thinking on situations such as these, how they see antagonism and how they react. Strong-holding is on the part of B#9 in this case. Even if they think they win, they don't, exactly for the reasons you point out.

    re: art, I meant that decanting by its own nature jeopardises the intergrity of the juice somewhat. Imagine if someone doesn't clean out their pipettes or if they keep stale bottles and decant from those. That would minimise the craftmanship. FWIW, though I am quite SURE that TPC checks their bottles thoroughly and it's not that hard to do with modern niche releases. Vintages are another matter, not due to any malice naturally.

  11. S,

    glad you agree. I pay no attention to bottles generally although some of theirs are pretty.
    But remember the designing contest for that "bottle a person on the net would design" and get an award? Have you heard of any announcement of a winnner? Neither have I...Lots of publicity though beforehand.

  12. P,

    trust you to break down the mathematics, yes and it's even geometrically escallating because as you say so many swap!
    I guess they're opposed to swaps too?

    The point about Saks is well taken and it could be true indeed. Like I said I always thought Laurice is a smart cookie and it surprises me to see such clumpsy handling from her staff. But what about the rest of the line? Some special agreement there as well? If anyone official from Bond No.9 wants to step in and offer some clarification I am not averse to having their side heard.

  13. Ha!
    The all-PR "contest" with no winner! That was another classic.

    Truth be told, I generally find their bottles pretty tacky, but this one was all Springy and everything...

    But anyway... you know, I can't believe someone actually business-savvy - which Ms. Rahme seems to be, from the look of things - could keep on accumulating perfumista-deterrent blunders of that size. I don't know, it seems to me the sole rational explanation would be that they, well, simply don't care. We probably aren't the target market at all, and whatever fora and bloggers could say about their tactics just don't matter to them.

    Now of course, I wonder just why they keep on sending newsletters to my blog's e-mail address while I've never asked for anything? :>

  14. Ah, so...and that is true; if the juice is altered, then it is not what the company is presenting not only as Art, but just as their product (and their copyright, and their reputation). Which hearkens back to the bogus sellers online, who water down or otherwise alter the juice.

    But that is another thread of investigation, and I don't think what Bond purports to have issue with.

  15. S,

    I see you remember! :-) Gld to see people noticing things.

    Can't say I'm moved by their bottles. But then again my taste in bottles differs generally from the bulk of perfumistas on the whole. I like austerity.

    I believe they're sending newsletters everywhere in the hopes that someone will post about them.
    There is a point in general when a company does that because there might be something interesting among the news sometimes, but I'd like to think we vote with our pens. Wouldn't you say? ;-)
    The pen is mightier than the sword and all that.

  16. S,

    right, that's what I was thinking. NOT in relation to TPC of course (whom I trust as not engaging in cagy practices and are trustworthy as far as intent is involved)! But in general. I think a lot of stuff gets misrepresented on sites, not just B#9, which is why big luxury conglomerates were up in arms about evilbay. I think then they were involved, although they were just one among many.
    It's a complex issue and definitely one to be watched because there are several interlapping aspects to it.

    Like I said above in a comment, I think the real reason is that it's costing lost revenue, since the company actually sold the bon-bons themselves. But of course this is merely speculation and I am giving them the benefit of a doubt on that, because hey, what do I know? I only criticized the HOW they did it, not the why. ;-)

  17. Anonymous03:57

    if this tweet is real, it's ridiculous. after the "peace" debacle, you'd think she would've learned not to try this sort of tactic.

    of course, there are many, many perfume buyers out there who don't frequent TPC, read these web sites or know that she played the "peace" incident that way, and she's counting on that.

    TPC was free advertising for her company. again, short-sighted and mean-spirited.

    and, as i said a loooong time ago, her stuff tends to smell derivative. so maybe that's why she's so sensitive about trademark infringements.


  18. M,

    alas the tweet is true...(I took the pains to double check it through search engines and through Twitter itself; because often when something is taken off for discussion on fora it gets twisted into preconceived notions or herd-pack indignation. But no, everything happening on this one is 100% true).
    It's odd because it is free advertising for them like you so succinctly put it! I can only assume that indeed they're interested in the tourist-y people coming into the stores and buying off bottles because they want a memento of NYC. Otherwise, it just doesn't compute??

  19. March22:39

    Hi. Patty's not going to comment on this herself, as she's part of TPC, but this was interesting. It was real, and I think particularly graceless on the part of Bond. I'm also laughing that they reached out to us personally (their PR arm) to offer us samps of their new scent while this was going on. Right hand/left hand etc.

    The thing that irritated me about the decanters getting tossed of eBay is that they were selling LEGIT samples. As opposed to the hundreds/thousands of CLEARLY FAKE designer crap on there every day. But the decanters were small and easy to target. So they got the boot. Again, under pressure (as far as I know) from companies like Bond.

  20. M,

    I thought as much about Patty, which is why I decided that I had to blog about it. Since I am not affiliated with either, I'm free to offer an opinion on such an inelegant and frankly incomphrehensible handling of things. They could have addressed a nice letter to the business, they could have offered some other solution, this was just plain ludicrous....And as you say, wanting to reap the benefits of gaining publicity too (I believe PR firms just get the perfume blogs lists and never even read what the blogs are about: I can't justify some of the offers/news I get otherwise! LOL)

    You have a perfectly valid point on the decanters and the bay. It's rather bad that one has to think twice before buying something that someone might be "composing" in a bathtub in China. Opposing a business that has shown they pay a lot of attention into ensuring a decent service is unfair.

  21. Anonymous01:20

    a touch of irony. i get home and check my mail, and in it is a generous sample of high line.

    had to laugh.

    now if she'd send me saks en rose...


  22. Ain't that funny!!

    Like I said, I think they don't know what happens between the PR department and the legal department. Oh boy, what a mess.

    SKs en rose sounds a bit like "sucks a rose": think about that! :P


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