The evolution of niche perfumery that goes beyond mere marketing hype. Olfattorio Florence makes the case for successful brick-and-mortar retailing
Olfattorio is an Italian distributor of niche fragrances with twelve stores across Italy. Thanks to its personalized in-store experience and continuous scouting of emerging brands, it has been holding sway in the high-end market for almost a decade.
It all began in 2003 starting off from an intuition of Renata de Rossi and her husband Giovanni Gaidano. They wanted to create an olfactory ‘tasting’ experience where the culture of perfume would take over the mere commercial aspect of the activity. A place where any enthusiast could immerse in the world of scent.
This is how “Bar à Parfums” came to be — a fragrance boutique that allows customers to appreciate and understand its curated selection of artisanal perfumes and cosmetics from all over the world and to learn about their history and secrets. This boutique of niche perfumery has gained popularity for its unprecedented format: it is a fragrance showroom where one can ‘taste’ fragrances in special champagne flute-like glasses, designed by Giovanni Gaidano.
Marco Morato, the Communication Manager at Olfattorio, explains the conception of retail and selection at the boutique. «Olfattorio is a natural evolution of a previous niche distribution company called Cithera. This company started its business in the late 80s with an aptitude for niche perfumery that was in its infancy. Being pioneers of a business is by itself a choice that excludes profit-oriented business and any other predictable path», he points out.
«I can affirm without any doubt that our scouting activity is one of the company’s strong points. We select dozens of brands each year to find the products of the future».
Today, twenty-six international brands are displayed on the shelves — among emerging brands are renowned names such as L’Artisan Parfumeur, Annick Goutal, Comptoir Sud Pacifique, and Diptyque.
The boutique in Via De’ Tornabuoni 6, Florence, opened in 2007 and was one of the first Bar à Parfums in Italy — a temple dedicated to the world of fragrances, with an impactful visual and architectural design that enhances the allure of niche perfumery in a sumptuous historical location. «It is the finest expression of Olfattorio boutiques for its historical and architectural features, but also its refined furnishing materials and carefully selected details».
Entering the Bar à Parfums in Florence is all about traveling, exploring, discovering and rediscovering. Inside the boutique decorated with precious materials, customers can have an olfactory ‘tasting’ with the assistance of an advisors who will listen to their needs and preferences and understand what they are looking for and what will be of their taste.
The main objective of Olfattorio is to preserve and spread the culture of perfumery, by awakening their customers’ sense of smell and guiding them in a rediscovery of their memories, linked to the precious scents and hints enclosed in each vial.
Morato guarantees that the boutique caters to all perfume lovers regardless of preferences and budget, and ensures that the proposals of Olfattorio Bar à Parfums are within everyone’s reach. The fragrances can be appreciated by every age group without any distinction for gender and skin sensitivity thanks to the high percentage of natural elements in the composition of the scents.
Sustainability and eco-consciousness are a theme that cannot be avoided – this stands for the perfume industry just like for any other market or industry. More attention is being shifted to the materials and method of packaging, one of the biggest concerns for consumers. Some brands are figuring out a way to avoid the use of plastic or to create recyclable packaging, while others are introducing refillable bottles to limit waste.
«We were the first company to obtain a certification as organic brand in the niche perfumery sector,» Morato affirms. «We are now producing our own organic skincare line. Along with several other brands, we are pushing for the introduction of new policies for the development and the employment of eco-friendly materials in packaging production».
As for future plans and goals, Olfattorio will continue on the path it has taken, focusing on two key elements: digitalizing the Bar à Parfums experience and intensifying the scouting activity to give the platform to new emerging brands.
Via De’ Tornabuoni 6