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Collaborations and the Golden Rule

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: February 11, 2008, from the February 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 4 of 8

Judith Gross: I really don’t think I would call it competition—quite to the contrary. I think I would call it an amazing realm of new opportunities that present themselves to fragrance houses in general. This is especially true when you look at what’s happening in emerging countries—in Asia, in China, in Eastern Europe, etc. If you look at China, for instance, you have a country [that] does not necessarily have a strong fine fragrance cultural background but which has an amazing sense of using cosmetics, in general, as a conveyer of scent. I really don’t see this as competition—quite to the contrary. I think that women and men all over the world have very different relationship[s] to how they want to omit a fragrance, how they want to put a fragrance on them, and that this is something that IFF needs to understand, and, [again,] we have different survey tools that help us understand how a woman in China wants to smell like and how she wants put smell and scent on her, versus [a woman] in Russia, versus [a woman] in Brazil or France or the United States, and those are all very different. But IFF really sees this as new opportunities for fragrances rather than competition.

Marcy Fisher: What’s exciting today is that consumers are exposed to fascinating cultures and ideas everywhere they look! As fragrance marketers, we are challenged to have a point of view—sometimes that message is exciting for many people and sometimes it moves a more finite group. The emotions surrounding the Juicy Couture brand resonate with a broad group of women.

GCI: Does that change how you approach the creation of a fine fragrance?

Judith Gross: Well, it doesn’t only change the creation of fragrance. I think it also has a very strong impact on how we approach the creation of fragrance for beauty care, for instance. Because this is where some new things are really happening. When you have consumers in Japan who are going to use their hair care product as their fragrance, then you’re going to approach the way the perfumers develop the fragrance for the next big hair care range in a very different way than you would in France or in Italy, for instance. So it affects more beauty care development than it really does fine fragrance. The one way that it does affect fine fragrance is we constantly bring our customers new applications or new textures, new bases, new experiences that consumers can have of their fine fragrance products in order to make sure that there is a renewal of that experience, and that instead of the competition, it’s more of a synergy and layering, that would then harmonize how the different parts of your body can be used as a vector of fragrance.

GCI: Is the experience that that fragrance represents or fosters the ultimate goal of its creation?