What potential does the personalisation trend have for fragrance?

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

What potential does the personalisation trend have for fragrance?
In this exclusive interview with a perfumer professional, we discover why and how fragrance can be especially relevant to the ongoing consumer demand for personalised, customised products.

Here, Penny Williams, Creative Perfumer at Orchadia Solutions limited, explains her perspective on the trend and how it applies to fragrance.

Williams will discuss ‘We are unique – personalised fragrances for all?​’ at the in-cosmetics Formulation Summit 2018​, running 24th-25th October 2018 at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel.

The talk will take place 11.00-11.30 on the second day of the event, registration for the event is available here​.

What makes fragrance a good segment for personalisation solutions?

We connect with scent personally at a deep and emotional level, so fragrance is the ultimate choice for personalised solutions.

Fragrance becomes part of us, it communicates personality and emotion with every encounter and every breath.

What do consumers want to see in terms of personalised fragrance?

Fragrance is an invisible yet palpable personal expression, many consumers want a scent to be perfect for them, and a personalised fragrance answers this call.  

However, many consumers also want simplicity in finding the perfect fragrance.

Can you give some specific examples of where we’ve seen innovations and products that respond to demand for personalisation in fragrance? How successful have these been?

Personalisation of bottles and packaging continues, but that does not get close to the heart of it. There are growing offers of bespoke fragrances for those with the time and finances, but they are out of reach for many consumers.

There are many examples of online ‘matchmaking’ tools that personalise the choice stage; at Penhaligons.com​ you can answer several simple questions and be guided to fragrance suggestions and then order samples for review before committing to purchase a whole bottle.

A great innovation example is the Nota Nota fragrance unit, which is about the size of a coffee machine and designed to use at home.

You use an app to design your own perfume from a selection of notes and send it to the Nota Nota where it is dispensed straight away into an atomiser bottle for you to use; you can also choose to share your recipe with the online community.

It is new to the market and has already won design awards. Commercial success is too soon to call, but I love it!

Do you have any predictions for what technology/products could emerge in this area? How will consumer demands evolve?

In the future we will see improved technology for online fragrance matchmaking and eventually a standard will emerge; there will be better and cost-effective sampling solutions for connecting customers with fragrance to enable them to take part in fragrance design.

We’ll also see consumer collaboration in fragrance design which will increase diversity and choice for everyone.

I expect to see an increase in customisable product ranges, so consumers can customise their products easily.

Any other thoughts?

Many of the chemical communications within our bodies rely on olfactory style mechanisms – it’s why so much of our genome is devoted to olfactory receptors. Personalisation is big news in medicine too.

I’d like to see the day when simple olfactory tests can help indicate the most appropriate choice of medicine for patients and reduce trial and error, especially in the mental health area.

‘The sense of smell is the canary in the coal mine of human health’ – Pinto.

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