Thursday, July 19, 2007

luxury is the pursuit

a couple of observations:

the other day i stopped by uwajimaya, a japanese grocery-and-then-some store in beaverton. unlike the 'global foods' in northern virginia, this is a place to find very high quality produce and other foodstuffs. there is an entire row of imported cookies and candies, tons of spices (not just japanese - i bought some indian chili powder, which is just made of chilis. american chili powder has salt, cumin and some other things in it.), kitchenwares, gift items, bath products, noodles, frozen foods. this place also has a japanese-language book store, and a shiseido boutique. i had a brief food list - yakisoba noodles and some other things - but i stepped into the shiseido boutique.

it's a small white room, where the products are arranged. there are testers. a woman popped out and offered advice, demonstrated a product on my face, gathered what i was shopping for, and included some samples in my bag. shiseido's products have nicely stylized packaging.

it occurred to me that this was much like being in the apple store - simple clean store, demonstrations, salespeople who know the products well, products that are physically attractive as well as highly functional. apple stores need to work well because they are selling higher priced products that have functions that can be found at lower price ranges. much like shiseido and other higher-end cosmetics need to be marketed through the specialized counters with exclusive staff - there's a world of experiential difference between buying that level of product versus picking up face goo from the drugstore. apple needs their buying experience to be a much more satifying one than that found in the lairs of best buy and circuit city.

i'm sure if i read some marketing magazines or books, the analogy's probably been made already. it's likely that apple studied this kind of consumer interaction when designing the stores.

the other thing that's been tempting my time away lately is reading perfume blogs. now smell this and basenotes have addictive amounts of information on them, and i find myself tracking down obscure scents that i hadn't heard of before, but somehow must smell. not that i don't already have a bunch of bottles - it's the tracking down of something new, and wanting to see if the written descriptions match the nose's experience. luckily for me, a number of online perfume stores will sell samples. i tried a couple of the variations on paco rabanne's 'ultraviolet', but didn't like them. a couple of other scents that sounded good online were not pleasant on my wrist. i'm trying a few more from luckyscent - mostly ones i've never heard of before reading these blogs.

the impression i get when reading the blogs and especially the comments on them is that for scenties (just a spin on 'foodies for the perfume fanatics), there is some ultimate perfume out there somewhere, and lots and lots to try out during the pursuit.

i am thoroughly aware that reading about perfume is like dancing about architecture. and that there are a lot more important things to spend time and money on. sigh.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Perfume is a very personal experience, they say... it's not enough to smell the perfume, you must smell it on your own wrist, because it interacts with your own scents.

I can appreciate the idea of being obsessed with perfume, and wanting to smell them. But in real life, usually I find men's colognes to be just too much.