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The impact of 3-D printers on the perfume industry

We look at the future of the perfume industry, the impact of 3-D printers, and how the perfume industry may fall to digital technologies.

The future of perfume manufacture

Currently, perfume manufacture has managed to remain outside the reach of self-creation and continues to be controlled by large, well-known fragrance, flavour and fashion companies.

However, the extensive timeline for perfume manufacture – from idea conception to the retail process – suggests that the perfume industry may yet fall to digital technologies, making it possible for individuals to create and use their own homemade fragrances.

3-D printers

3D printing involves using a digital file to make a 3D object. It is a technology that has already been put to use in the production of prescription drugs, and it has been trialled for the manufacture of 3D printed foods and prototyped as fragrance generators.

The idea of 3D printed fragrances involves a database containing thousands of odorous organic compounds, allowing users to pick and choose the aromas they would like to appear in their fragrance; following this, the computer analyses the selection and produces the most appealing olfactory combination.

Stripping back the lengthy perfume process

As well as the potential for home-making fragrances, 3D printing technology has the potential to strip back the lengthy process of perfume manufacture, speeding up scent creation and bottle design, as well as stripping away the costs of ingredients, packaging, distribution and retail.

Consumers could even be presented with the opportunity to download fragrance recipes to print for themselves.

Increased experimentation

3D printing could provide the opportunity for increased experimentation, as the perfume timeline decreases, and the opportunity for quicker creator response time when feedback is given by consumers on social platforms.

While there is no doubt that luxury perfume will continue to remain a popular choice, given time, it is possible that 3D printing could revolutionise the fragrance market.

The name game: It makes scents

When naming a perfume you might consider how the consumer will feel about the name – will it invoke a positive feeling, be viewed as bland, or worse still, drive away consumers thereby discouraging sales?

With this in mind, it is interesting to reflect on the names of some famous best-selling perfumes. Take, for example, “Elysées 64-83”, which may suggest a Greek influence, but no, it was simply the Parisian phone number of the inventor, Pierre Balmain.

Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel named her first perfume “No. 5” – it was launched on the 5th day of the 5th month and she believed the number 5 brought her luck. Then there is Lucien Lelong who named his first perfumes “A”, “B”, “C”, “J” and “N” – these names were intended to evoke a sense of mystery and romance.

So, perhaps names are not everything, but surely a good name can boost product sales?

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