Influencers: Singing Praise or Slinging Snake Oil?

If you regularly use social media, then you know the reach of influencers today — especially throughout the fragrance community. But do they add value to the perfume discourse?

Shortly after I launched my perfume studio, a seemingly endless river of influencers would contact me for free stuff. Many offered upfront to review it positively. Some instead said they wanted "to collaborate," which attempts a more innocuous way of framing what is actually begging for perfume with a willingness to say anything to get it.

In that first year or so I handpicked individuals who appeared to have a more critical nose, sent them a Perfume Discovery Set — never full bottles — to try out and discuss, and explicitly discouraged forced-positive critiques. But over time, it became clear that the influencer hype train poorly connects with the types of collectors who most appreciate and admire my work or the diehard perfume nerds who support my studio ethos.

More importantly, it feels dishonest to flood the market with free bottles seeking hopeful praise because if one believes in honest advertising then allocating free merchandise for influencers can quickly turn shady.

Since then and still today, it is my studio policy that in fairness to all of my collectors whose purchases gratefully keep my studio alive, I do not provide complimentary samples or bottles to any "influencers". This policy is posted on my Info page for all to see.

I believe it's important to underscore and publicize this policy — not to denigrate anyone who shares their opinion about perfume on social media, or those who try to turn their social media profile into a marketing business — but to affirm that integrity is an important factor in my work. When I speak about my work, I do so honestly and directly, and I believe my marketing practices should reflect that, too.