When beauty guru Jo Fairley does something new, it’s worth checking it out. Jo, you may remember, was responsible for launching Green & Black and The Beauty Bible, as well as being an award winning beauty journalist. Now, together with ex Harrods/Liberty and QVC fragrance buyer Lorna McKay, she’s launched The Perfume Society, a really useful website that brings together everything you’ve always wanted to know about fragrance but were worried someone might call you an idiot for asking -particularly on one of those scary department store perfume counters.
Jo’s new site covers everything you want to know about either the fragrance you currently wear or about how to go about buying a new one. It’s a big site that covers a lot of perfumed ground, including new launches, brand information, ingredient listings -I now know what galbanum is- and interviews with people whose job description is ‘ the nose’.
Now, the world of the fragrance nose has been dominated for decades by men (often French ones) so we were extremely impressed that Jo and Lorna have chosen to feature only women noses in the industry for the site’s launch, including up and coming ones. Women make extremely good noses and they are making a big impact on the world of fragrance, Jo says they will probably feature a few of the men eventually, but how refreshing to have listed the women first. It gets our vote.
The site is free to use and I suspect will become a go-to reference for many of us fragrance fiends. But there is another, subscription-only layer to the site for anyone who is fanatical (and you all know who you are) about the subject and wants a bit more hands on scented action.
For an annual fee of £25, you get VIP access to the back room of excellence on the site, including subscriber-only content, a fragrance discovery box (top image) containing a darling note book and an introduction to the key fragrance families through tester samples, an 8-times-a-year e-zine called The Scented Letter and a VIP (very Important Perfumista) card that will gain you access to special fragrance events at store perfume counters.
The £25 is an introductory offer for the first 5,000 subscriptions, it will undoubtedly go up. You might like to think about buying it as a gift for a fragrance-mad friend. In mid June, Jo will be introducing FR.eD, an online questionaire-based service that will help open up the world of fragrance and make it easier to change or buy perfumes more suited to what you really want, something that’s currently darned hard to do.
Remember Jo and Lorna are experienced women when it comes to both writing and knowing about fragrance. Both have spent decades immersed in the stuff and I love that they are using their experience in this innovative way.
One area I’m pleased to see is a shopping guide, highlighting the best fragrance stores to visit around the globe as I am always desperate to discover a new fragrance store when I’m in a new city. It’s a little light on info currently with just three guides, but more are promised.
When Jo talked us through the site last week, she mentioned she wanted to be as democratic as possible with the brands included on the site, so we’ll have Katy Perry and Prada through to Dior and Justin Bieber, there’s no perfume snobbery here. She’s trying to create a community around fragrance that appeals to everyone, and as part of the subscription service you can set up a book club style perfume club where The Perfume Society will suggest fragrances to smell and compare.
It’s a great new place for all us nerdy perfume geeks to hang out in and a very welcome source of information for anyone who finds buying perfume a struggle. The Perfume Society website is here