Refers to the fragrances produced by smaller scale perfumeries that emphasize the artisanal aspects of perfume production. Niche perfume creators typically focus on the finesse and precision of their fragrances, declining to opt for the types of mass-production and mainstream availability that may impact the quality over quantity pursuit. They produce products according to clientele demand, often being exclusive and limited in their availability. The Fragrance Foundation has historically relied upon the sheer number of units sold or made available when it defines a product or production center as being niche. This means, the difference between a mainstream and niche status is based upon the number of outlets or retailers that stock the item in question. There are more complexities involved with deciding whether or not something fits the bill of niche perfume, and some niche advocates cite a host of other contributors that should go into deciding whether or not something is indeed, niche.
Niche products are usually only available in select, boutique perfumery outlets, meaning that the number of units sold is not dependent on total sales, but rather the fundamental availability of such products. Mainstream products are able to gain a large customer base as they feature extensively in all forms of perfume retailing, whereas niche products are scarce in their physical presence. A niche perfume is starkly different to a designer perfume on the grounds of mainstream availability, although the care taken in the manufacturing process of niche perfumes is said to be emphasized in greater detail.
The diversity in the niche perfume industry is plentiful, which makes categorizing the perfumeries into one distinct box both difficult, as well as problematic. There does exist some general rules that niche houses adhere to, in order to resist mass production and maximize quality, which are usually consistently apparent amongst the more notable of houses. They typically employ their own in-house perfumer, reminiscent of the traditional ways of operating, who’s duty is to dedicate their time and effort into producing scents of the highest quality.They also employ selective measures when they are determining where to make their products available, and normally disregard department stores or large-scale retail chains altogether. Niche houses also generally ignore advertising initiatives, largely relying on word of mouth to get their products known. A further difference to mass market or designer perfumes is also that the focus lies much more on the perfumer, which is seen as an artist – the authorship is much more important. Niche perfumery is often referred as “Artisanal Perfumery“, which indicates the emphasis on the creator of the fragrance. One can imagine the difference to the mass market like comparing a blockbuster movie, made in Hollywood and a small Arthouse movie.