A new business model — and an interesting video

The business model for perfume companies traditionally has been to have products manufactured and bottled in factories and then distributed to retail stores for final sale to customers. With the age of the internet came an opportunity for artisans in many fields to reach their customers directly through their own websites. Artisans can form a direct relationship with customers, which can make the interaction more satisfying all the way around. It also allows artisans to keep prices under control for their costlier handmade products by cutting out the middlemen of reps, distributors, and retailers.

It helps to have your products in a few brick and mortar stores where people can try your scents, but for the most part I prefer to sell directly to customers. It’s not possible to make hundreds of thousands of bottles by hand, so if you want to keep producing handmade products you have to limit your distribution. I know other indie perfumers struggle with finding the right path too, and the answer will vary from person to person.

I found this recent video interview with Mandy Aftel very interesting, and she discusses a number of aspects of the artisan business model. What strikes me most is how happy she is with her business and her art, and how we all should be so lucky to reach that goal where everything is in balance! Indie perfumers might want to watch this and think about it. 🙂

About Laurie E

artisan perfumer and owner of Sonoma Scent Studio
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7 Responses to A new business model — and an interesting video

  1. brie says:

    Fascinating!
    I think I prefer to purchase from smaller artisanal companies based on the fact that the quality always shines through in their products and they are so in touch with their customers. As long as your business takes care of your finances I hope nothing changes, Laurie 🙂 !!

    • Laurie E says:

      I think there’s been a trend in the artisan direction in many areas (not just perfume), and it’s fun to explore those options. I enjoy buying from indie artists when I can too.

  2. Nancy Johnson says:

    Wow does Mandy have passion or what?! While the video was inspiring, it was also daunting. Not all of us can live life by saying no to everything that doesn’t just suit us perfectly. This is not realistic, but her basic point of “do the things you love” is how we all want to ideally live.
    I believe that indie perfumes are for those of us that are truly interested in perfume as an art form. The indie ones do tell a stories as Mandy said. Just like music, art and dance tell stories. Perfume is no different. Strong feelings can arrise from a scent and who ever can design a fragrance that can do this is a genius. It is nice to study a line of perfume closely and get a feel for who the designer is as a person. I love indie perfumes for this reason.

    • Laurie E says:

      Yes, I agree, most people have practicality to consider and most people won’t be able to set things up so ideally. It’s inspirational though, and makes you think about what changes you might be able to make to bring more happiness into the way you are living.

      • brie says:

        YES! That was exactly the feeling I got after watching the video! Regardless of the success of her business Mandy wakes up EVERY SINGLE MORNING completely happy to be doing what she is doing…how many of us can honestly say that? (I know I can’t -LOL!)

      • Laurie E says:

        Yes. I don’t know if that is inspirational or discouraging, lol. But there are probably small changes we can make to bring things into better balance even when we can’t have perfection.

      • Laurie E says:

        I should add that in the section about saying no, I think part of what Mandy meant was specific to an artisan business in that it’s not always in your best interest to say yes to all offers. It really depends how you want to run your business. If you want to remain artisan and produce handmade products, you won’t be able to make enough quantity for the large volume model of distributors (the only way to make a living that way is large volume because the profit per item gets split so many ways when distributors, reps, factories, and retailers all need to be paid). In the larger picture of life in general, we all have to say yes to some things we’d rather not do, or at least most of us do, lol.

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