Tuesday, February 26, 2008

François Coty and Perfume Samples

François Coty (aka: Francisco Sportuno, aka: Joseph Spoturno) was born on the island of Corsica. From an early age he was obsessed with perfumery and had a very highly developed olfactory sense. He revolutionized the perfume industry by creating fine fragrances and pricing them affordably by the standards of the day. He saw that shopgirls could still not afford his perfumes, and so began selling much smaller bottles so that everyone could own a Coty fragrance. He was also extremely generous with the idea of free samples. The man was a genius, but had unfortunate political views, what with those fan letters he wrote to Hitler and all. The important thing is to remember Coty for revolutionizing the perfume industry and not his politics.

I love that Coty introduced mini bottles of fragrances and gave out free samples. I wish more of today's perfume companies would do the same. I refuse to buy a sample, and believe generosity leads to more sales than stinginess does. A large company asking consumers to pay for samples is a turn off. The more samples given out, the more perfumes get passed along from person to person. Somewhere along that line, purchases will be made, and often that company will gain very loyal customers. I can understand a struggling perfumer or a new niche perfumer selling sample vials, but not a company that can afford advertising and promotes itself as fabulous.