Niche perfumes are increasingly enticing the Indian consumer. The past couple of years have seen more and more boutique brands make inroads with innovation and unique scents. While bespoke and limited edition beauty buys were always a big draw, there’s also a section of shoppers who are looking for authenticity and newness. Which is why Scentido appeared on India’s fragrance landscape. A niche perfumery stocking a careful curation of rare perfumes, Scentido is the brainchild of Shishir Mehta, a fragrance aficionado who travelled the world to find boutique perfumeries that would appeal to Indians.
After researching and trying out fragrances at luxury stores like Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, and Bloomingdales, and understanding their well-curated perfume sections, Mehta wanted to explore how such an idea would appeal to global, discerning Indians. As a result, the Scentido flagships in Mumbai and Delhi stock unique fragrances like Roja Parfums, Escentric Molecules, and Ormonde Jayne from the UK; Berdoues, Jeroboam, and Jovoy from France; Gabriella Chieffo from Italy, many more that a lover of perfumes will appreciate.
We loved Berdoues, a collection of fragrances inspired by exotic ingredients found in Russia, Brazil, Japan, India, and South Africa. The line includes a beautiful Assam of India fragrance, and Maasai Mara, which melds notes of honey and spices. Then there is Laurent Mazzone’s Sine Die, which imparts a fresh, clean fruity scent, but has at its heart, deep and musky leather notes. Another favourite is Jovoy’s Private Label oriental scent, which brings to the fore notes of leather with just a hint of vetiver. If the scents are not enough, the beautiful bottles are sure to catch your attention.
We caught up with Mehta to know more about the niche perfumes’ market in perfumery.
Scentido has completed a year in India. How has the journey been?
Incredible, topsy-turvy, and challenging to say the least. But it has been a wonderful first year. We launched two standalone stores and four shop-in-shop spaces with eight brands, and now have 15 brands with us with another 10 in the pipeline. There are people who are willing to explore niche scents and incorporate them in their daily wardrobes. Also, our social media and digital efforts, and strategic collaborations have helped in spreading the word for Scentido, so we’re happy.
Is India opening up to the idea of niche perfumes? How are buyers reacting to the concept?
I feel that the upwardly mobile Indian clientele has experienced luxury at many levels, and is now ready to explore something beyond that. Which is why niche luxury and niche perfumes are definitely gaining popularity. People are well-travelled, more aware, and more curious.
How does Scentido ensure the customer is loyal to the brand with so much temptation around?
The brand came about as a desire to indulge deeper into the art of perfumes. The focus is on the expertise and experience that conjures some of the most exclusive fragrances in the world. Reminiscent of the Art Deco persona yet Modern in approach, we offer the perfect setting to create a luxurious retail environment exclusively for niche fragrances. We pride ourselves in the fact that what we offer is a sensorial experience like no other. The journey of choosing your fragrance here is not that different from one of self-discovery. It is about understanding the client and their tastes, decoding their personality and then helping them discover themselves through the various scents. It is this voyage of selecting the right fragrance and cherishing that experience that is unique and brings people back. These scents are not available anywhere else in the country.We also have a service where one can choose their scents from home – one can book a service and experience fragrances in the comfort of their home.
Which perfumes at Scentido have done well for you?
I’m not exaggerating when I say that each and every brand that we have has done very well with the audience. All our brands have something unique to offer, and it has been interesting to see that people have opened up to exploring – picking what they never would have thought they will like in the first place.
The bestseller at Scentido, the perfume you think should be in every closet?
I have a list! Elysium by Roja Parfums; Enigma Pour Homme by Roja Parfums; Black Oud by Laurent Mazzone; Nawab of Oudh by Ormonde Jayne; White Gold by Ormonde Jayne; Acquasala by Gabriella Chieffo.
Creating an experience for the consumer – how does one do that in today’s perfume context?
The concept of luxury in today’s world is not limited to the commodity itself. It’s about the experience that is created for the client, for him to understand the story behind the product that he’s buying into. For something as intangible as fragrances, it is important to communicate the ethos of the perfume brand and the scent itself, especially when it is niche fragrances. All our brands have such wonderful stories to tell, and we make it a point to talk about them to the client. Plus, the art of perfumery is no stranger to experientials. History tells us that is how bespoke scents were created for royalty, and that is how we like to treat our clients.
What are the challenges you face when you’re advocating niche fragrances?
Creating awareness and education in the mass audience for the niche brands has definitely been a bit of a challenge. It has taken a lot more time than anticipated. Because while the masses are not averse to spending on luxury brands and names that they know, they are still warming up to the niche concept and to buy into a lesser- known brand. We are, however, very optimistic that this thought process will evolve in the coming year or two.
All images: Courtesy brands