Erika Shumate and Christine Luby have figured out a way to sell perfume that doesn’t stink. To be clear, we’re talking about the way the perfume is sold, not necessarily the perfume itself. As reported by Ashlee Vance in Bloomberg Businessweek (2/7/14), the two women have developed an online venture, Pinrose, that "presents customers with a series of questions and then uses an algorithm to pick out three scents that should prove appealing … In the future, they hope to mine a person’s Instagram feed or Pinterest board to" tailor their offerings.
"We didn’t want this very heavy-handed, serious approach where you walk into the mall and get sprayed in the face," says Christine. "There is room to have a brand that is fun and speaks more to our generation." Their "sales pitch revolves around an attack on the idea of a signature fragrance. Women have been cajoled into picking one perfume that ‘defines’ them and sticking with it for years." The Pinrose idea is that "women should be able to hop from fragrance to fragrance depending on their mood."
"There are brides who want a special scent for their wedding day or their engagement," says Erika. "Scents are tied to our memories, and this lets you go back later and recall those times." For now, Pinrose offers "10 scents that cost $50 each." They keep costs relatively low by eschewing celebrity endorsements and "selling direct via the web." “The fragrances have playful names, such as Rooftop Socialite and Campfire Rebel, and come with a booklet that describes which personality type they will likely appeal to … All told, the market for perfume is about $6 billion in the US and $30 billion worldwide."