Perfumers’ Palettes

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | February 7, 2014

No sooner had our January issue been published, a reader took me to task for not addressing a key issue facing product perfumers—the increasing ban on use of fragrance from retailers. She noted that it has become a problem for product developers, marketers and manufacturers with the consumer often being left scratching her head not sure what to believe anymore.

Good point. I blew it. Should have included it, but wanted to start the new year on a happier note.

That said, I went back to the drawing board, and asked around about bans. Fragrance industry expert Avery Gilbert, founder of Synesthetics, Inc., Montclair, NJ, blamed fragrance bans on European Union regulators, whose restrictions and bans on ingredients attack the core of perfumery’s artistic heritage and cripple its creative potential.

“The ban on oakmoss, by itself, will deface 200 years of Europe’s cultural legacy. One would think this would spur ferocious resistance from the industry. Yet all we hear is the sound of chirping crickets.”

Why the sounds of silence? Gilbert said large firms and their self-regulating bodies are willing to trade quality and creativity for political immunity.

“As long as all the cronies are hobbled equally, no one is at a relative disadvantage,” Gilbert insisted. “If, along the way, smaller firms can’t afford the cost of lobbyists and regulatory compliance, well then too bad for them.”

But there’s a new idea when it comes to “fragrance sensitizers.” On p. 28 in this issue, read about the EU’s IDEA Project, which is trying to create a framework for assessing these materials. A solution? No. A beginning? Yes.

And, if you’re looking for a new fragrance supplier, or a new supplier of polymers, surfactants or packaging components, be sure to turn to p. 69 for the 2014 Happi Buyer’s Guide.

Also this month, Christine Esposito takes a look at the dynamic skin care device market (p. 55). Category sales have soared in recent years as older consumers try to duplicate the results they get at the dermatologist’s office.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Happi. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions...especially, when they lead to even more discussion on a topic that we’ve covered!

Tom Branna
Editorial Director