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How PerfumeBooth plans to disrupt the business of smelling good

Goutam Das     August 14, 2019

Smelling good comes at a cost, often running into thousands. But even the more expensive perfumes wouldn't cost more than $4-5 to manufacture. One pays for the brand, of course. Costs add up because of distribution expenses as well as in-store marketing.

Now, there is a global rise of 'masstige' perfumes - a mash-up of mass and prestige. These are perfumes that are inspired by the best-selling branded ones but cost a fraction. Often, they sell online, which helps cut down various costs associated with brick and mortar shops.       

Just like Lenskart disrupted the eyewear market where prices in traditional stores used to be opaque and very high, a start-up now wants to disrupt the business of smelling good. PerfumeBooth is selling a curated list of 12 masstige perfumes online, priced no more than Rs 1,500, while readying its own private label foray.

Rohit Agrawal, founder of PerfumeBooth, said that his start-up currently does sales worth Rs 65-70 lakh a month, with about 200 orders every day. While 95 per cent of sales are generated from his website, the rest come from marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart. The company is currently profitable and the private label business would help his margins further.

"Private labels will be priced between Rs 1,200 and Rs 1,500. They will have a variation of notes from traditional best sellers," he said.

How Indians buy perfumes is a tad different from how those in more advanced markets shop. "Indians like to spray for others, not for themselves," Agrawal said. Therefore, they like stronger perfumes, technically called 'sillage' or the degree to which a perfume's fragrance lingers in the air.

Fragrances typically have three notes. The top notes are lighter (like citrus), the middle notes could be floral or spicy, while the bottom note anchors the fragrance (like musk, amber, sandalwood). The first note fades in 15 minutes but Indians prefer to shop by how the first note smells, the founder said.  

PerfumeBooth's private label, he added, would have a perfume oil per cent of upto 18 per cent. Fragrances typically have two ingredients - the perfume oil and alcohol. Colognes have 4-7 per cent perfume oil while the rest is alcohol. Eau de toilette has about 8-12 per cent of essential oils while Eau de parfum, the most expensive, carry between 12-18 per cent of the oil. The popular deodorants, hot selling in India, carry perfume oil not greater than 3 per cent - rest is a mix of alcohol and gas.

By providing a superior fragrance at a reasonable price, PerfumeBooth wishes to grow India's Rs 4,000 crore perfume market. Only about Rs 150 crore of the pie is currently online.

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