Niche Perfumes vs Designer Perfumes
When most of us make our first forays into the fragrance world, we tend to lean toward designer scents. That’s okay, though; no harm done. It’s not that designer fragrances are bad, you see; it’s just that there are so many more fragrances out there than the ones that are pushed upon us.
Sometimes we need a little help in choosing a scent, as we look for something outside of the fashion houses or designer perfumes. However, as more and more niche fragrances become available, we thought it might be useful for you to have a guide to which is which and how we choose the scents we stock.
What are niche fragrances?
A niche fragrance is a perfume that is made by a company dedicated to primarily making perfume, compared to fashion houses or celebrities that also create and sell other products. Designers do not focus on fragrances and instead have multiple products in their range, such as bags, shoes, and clothing.
Niche fragrances tend not to be mass-produced and are targeted at smaller audiences. Budget plays a big part in this, with designer fragrances almost being a commodity and niche fragrances having a smaller budget but a higher quality.
Niche and indie perfumers have a big focus on quality and the ingredients that they use, which is a massive plus point in our eyes. Niche fragrances will evoke memories, emotions, and feelings, whereas a designer may just be producing for the mass market.
What are designer fragrances?
Designer fragrances are often created by fashion houses, designers, or celebrities in huge quantities. Beware, though, fashion houses also purchase niche lines and put them into wider distribution, so if you’re looking for something truly niche or indie, make sure you check the origins.
Some designer fragrances do not explore broader notes and cater to scents that are already popular, going with safer options. Instead, niche fragrances tend to be individual and challenge the wearer beyond their comfort zone to help them feel a true sense of individuality.
Although designer perfumes can be cheaper than niche perfumes, they are mass-produced and the quality can be lower. Price is all personal preference, though, so it really depends on what you’re used to paying. Niche perfumes can be more expensive as the production runs are smaller, meaning there are no economies of scale.
What we look for in a fragrance
Sadly, some people feel that niche has just become another word for expensive. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. We have a vetting process at HOOHAA to ensure that the brands and perfumers we use offer something unique to our customers and that they’re truly unique.
We use five key categories for whittling down our options:
- Does it smell good
- Is it a complete, considered work
- What’s the narrative
- Is it evocative
- What’s the aesthetic
Within those categories, we look for other indicators such as:
- Does the fragrance feel finished
- Does the name or story behind the perfume align with how it smells
- Does it engender a relationship with fragrance beyond the perfunctory
- Does using the fragrance bring joy
- Does the bottle look great
- Does it feel good to hold
- Does it spray well
These categories and indicators help us find the best of the best for you and give us confidence that every month’s drop brings a little magic into your life.
And hey, if you’re an indie or niche perfumer, there’s no harm in checking your perfume against this list and reaching out to us. We’re always on the lookout for the next best fragrance.