Design vs. niche fragrances

Sniph Agonist

Once every while, the time comes to discover a new favorite scent. But where to start? Let’s start with the basics.  What is niche? How can we classify a perfume as “niche” and how can we recognize the popular term? Let’s clarify the industry’s buzzword once and for all.


A perfume would be classified as niche depending on how many doors it opens. A niche fragrance is present in less retailers than a mainstream perfume is. This generally means that the majority of scents you find in common department stores are not niche, and instead mainstream or “designer” scents. Boutique perfume studios, who produces their content on a much smaller scale, are therefore referred to as niche. You are likely to find niche perfumes at a perfume specialist or a specialized fragrance boutique.


Why would you want to choose niche over mainstream? Niche lovers argue that with a mainstream scent you deprive yourself of the ability to smell and feel unique in your choice of your fragrance. They argue that you should reward yourself with a perfume that is both uncommon and individual. When there are so many amazing combinations and mixes among fragrances, why would you choose to smell like everybody else? Especially now when online shopping has made the niche market more accessible. Niche perfumes are also often argued to be of higher quality. Since they are produced on a much smaller scale, the perfumers have payed greater attention to detail. They do not need to be likeable towards a large group of society, therefore they can be more experimental and the components of the perfume are often of the highest quality. It is a tradeoff between paying top-dollar for the privilege of not smelling like someone’s ex-boyfriend, brother or grandmother.


On the contrary, do we have any arguments for choosing mainstream over niche? The designer brands also have an edge. As a niche customer, you usually have to do much of the searching yourself. And if you want to layer with body lotion and mist you will have to do that match on your own - which can be time-consuming. When you choose a mainstream perfume, you buy into the lifestyle that the designer brand represents. What a mainstream perfume lack in terms of exclusivity, they make up for in price and mass appeal. They sure have a higher likeability rate than a very niche scent. A mainstream could be a so-called “safe choice” but they take away the hunting and time consuming searching.


Honestly, as a consumer you can’t really lose. With upcoming online shopping you have endless access to both the niche market and designer perfumes. There’s no wonder more and more people are introduced to the world of niche scents and continue to explore their scent-personalities.

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