The most interesting aspect coming out of this press release is the manifesto tonality you can hear in the voices of founders of Le Labo and Strange Invisible Perfumes. It is indicative of a malaise and wants to make a break from an unsatisfactory model. The meaning ascribed to the foundation of the "first perfume commune" on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California is a political one, no doubt, hoping for a cultural revolution.
Physically, you already encounter different brands grouped together in department stores. But what they do is compete against each other, while at the Perfume Commune, competition is replaced by "coopetition"...
If you know the Middle-East, you know that within the traditional structure of a bazaar, there is already a dynamic in place which corresponds to this word, "coopetition". Merchants selling similar goods congregate in the same alley so that people can find in one place what they are looking for. The idea is to make it worth your while to even go to that hot spot for, say, copper caldrons. And then, there are always arrangements that can be made. As some French people would say, one day a merchant "sends the elevator" to someone expecting that "they will send it back" to him/her at another point.
"Beginning as perfume comrades, Fabrice and Alexandra formulated this counterintuitive notion unwittingly over time and plenty of coffee. Sharing a distaste for the competitive dynamic expected to exist, they discussed their respective scent philosophies and the "Perfume Commune" began to organically take shape. Once Edouard joined in the enthusiasm, the three decided to col¬laborate simply through juxtaposition. The resulting fragrance mini-district of both perfumeries is ideally placed in the eclectic, character-rich setting of Venice’s Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Strange Invisible Perfumes welcomed Le Labo as their tenant and neighbor in February of 2012, making the shared building an unexpected treasure trove of artistic, handmade fragrances. Le Labo and Strange Invisible offer close to fifty perfumes collectively. All are clearly designed for the individual, rather than being melded in the fires of market research and consumer expectations."
Co-founder of Le Labo Fabrice Penot said,
"It’s easy to go into a competitive state of mind and fight for your little share of the cake... but how boring is this? This is not the way we decided to think, and this is not the way we want to live our lives. We prefer the idea of coopetition, and I am glad, for that matter, that we have found a soul that thinks alike in Alexandra. I have no doubt that this is going to be a success commercially. Even if we are wrong, it will have made us happy."
Strange Invisible Perfumes founder and perfumer Alexandra Balahoutis said,
"If one looks at the most prosperous boutiques and brands, they rarely exist in a vacuum. I certainly endorse the idea of selec¬tion and the presence of options. Having said this, I do think that ours is a highly discerning marketplace made up simply of two compelling, handcrafted brands. I’m delighted to have Le Labo next door, because I see it as more than an interesting per¬fume company. It’s a sincere and original vision. Where sincerity and originality are concerned, there is strength in numbers, and this idea really resonates on Abbot Kinney."
"The value of the experience we are creating together is much better than apart from each other. The different education we provide, the unique mindset we share, and the compassion we have for each other have an impact on our client experience. This is not quantum physics (well, maybe a little), but we are convinced that the interaction between our two brands creates more value than the one offered without the other."
Via press release
Photo: Turkey Travel Resource