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What's in a (perfume) name

Perfume naming isn't for us

Now that we've launched our first limited-edtion fragrance, we wanted to share a bit about the philosophy behind its name. M901 isn’t exactly a typical perfume name. It says nothing about it. And that’s exactly the point.

The reality is that, for most fragrances, more time and money is devoted to its marketing than on the formula itself. Depending on whom you ask, marketing expenses can be 3-4 times more than the cost of what’s in the bottle, and that’s before tacking on what’s spent on fancy packaging. That’s right. Heavily stylized ads, celebrity endorsements, big social media campaigns...way more gets spent on that than on the magical potion you’ll actually be enjoying. Knowing that more is spent on attracting your interest than crafting your perfume makes it seem a lot less special, doesn’t it? Plus it’s wasteful, it’s silly, and it’s all based on the underlying premise that people who buy perfume aren’t very smart. This is the way it’s been for a long, long time.

Names are a large part of that marketing effort. Because perfume brands know most of us don’t know a whole lot about fragrance (without really doing much to change that), they decide to cut to the chase and do the thinking for us. Instead of helping us learn more about fragrance and evaluating what we like for ourselves, they hit us with a bunch of – sorry, I don’t know how else to describe it – aspirational trash. Before you’ve directly interacted with what’s in the bottle at all, a cascade of decisions has already been made for you to tell you whether or not you’re allowed to want it. Namely...

  • The brand: is this a designer that I want to associate myself with?
  • The packaging: is this cool, does it stand out to me in some way?
  • The fragrance name: does this evoke a feeling, vibe, or personality that I want to be like?

Think of it this way. You go into a store, you look around. Through the sea of brightly-lit products screaming for your attention (probably with some house music layered on top), you see a fragrance in a pink bottle. That means it must be a women's fragrance. When you get closer, you notice it has flowers all over it. Guess it smells like flowers. There's a Marc Jacobs logo. It must be posh and modern. It’s called Daisy Dream Kiss. It must be for a younger girl, because what kind of grown-ass mature woman is going to march up to the counter confidently carrying something called Daisy Dream Kiss?

And so before you’ve even touched it, much less smelled it, all those decisions have been made on your behalf. You're being told what you're allowed to approach. What if a guy smelled that scent, and decided he liked it? Too bad. He can’t wear it; according to the packaging and the marketing, it’s not meant for him. It’s meant for a young, flirty, posh, Marc Jacobs-y girl. Sorry, everyone else.

We. Don’t. Like. This.

At Jules & Vetiver, we’ve founded a brand that’s meant to strip bare all the traditional nonsense that ruins true enjoyment of quality perfume. We’re committed to it. This is why we our scents are formula names. We’re not here to tell you what to think, or what you’re allowed to like. We make unisex scents that are designed to be unraveled and assessed by you, and only you. Because getting to know perfume is a sensory joy, and you’re deprived of that joy when other factors skew you before you’ve even had a whiff. We want you to experience that magic for yourself.

Our formula names are designed to let you discover what you like, without doing any deciding for you. Does it feel a little mysterious? It should. It’s the only thing we’ll ever be mysterious about, because discovering yourself through fragrance is fun. We’re here to help you learn about yourself and what you like, with no bias, no judgment, and no BS. We’ll tell you everything that’s in your perfume and teach you everything you’ve ever wanted to know. That’s our mission, and our simple, blind-approach formula names are an important part of that.

Let everyone else wear Candybomb and Sex Nectar*. That’s not our thing. And maybe it’s not yours, either. Join us by trying out one of our scents, and check out our other articles to learn more about perfume. We’ll make a beautifully scented perfume nerd out of you in no time.

-KS

 

*Not actual perfume names, but weirdly plausible, right?