Mandy Aftel granted me an interview on subjects which are usually never touched, such as business positioning & online only distribution, her unique place in the artisan universe as an all naturals perfumer, her experience with the luxury customers and how regional preferences shape (or rather do not shape) her output and the interest of the online aficionado/blogosphere. You can read the interview (and feel free to comment with your agreement/disagreement or questions) on this link on Fragrantica.
Here are two interesting quotes from Mandy to get you going.
About her distribution channels:
"I have chosen to now be only a web-based business; I previously also sold my perfumes in Henri Bendel’s and several small boutiques. I've been approached by almost every prestigious department store to sell my perfumes—when I turned down Neiman Marcus, their response was to ask me if I knew who they were? I personally like knowing that my customers are well taken care of and that everything is perfect about my products. When I sold in stores, I would see that the presentation of my perfumes was not up to my standards, which upset me. I take a lot of pleasure in individually wrapping each order and writing cards to people—I like having this relationship with my customer."
And about the price rises in the luxury & niche segment of the perfume business:
"As far as the industry justification for overpricing, that seems like a complete dodge at best! It reveals those perfume companies’ values—those are not my values and I don’t pay any attention to them. Yet there can actually be a blessing-in-disguise from high prices, since I like to encourage people to “buy less, better”—to have a meaningful connection with what they’ve bought and not be swayed by status concerns and marketing."
This interview comes as a follow-up of some issues we have discussed with Andy Tauer of Tauer Perfumes on this link, as well as a presentation of my views on the marketing side of perfume business, so if you missed those and the fascinating discussion that erupted in the comments, you might want to check them out to get things in context. Hopefully the series will continue with more artisans, indies and business insiders sharing their views with us.