I have recently reached over 2000 sales at Black Baccara perfumery. This marks a turning point in this project in which I must consider what is in my best interests artistically. I have recently come to the conclusion that it’s time to phase out this arm of my creative work.
I have been open for almost three years, and in this time I have amassed a huge fan base for my handmade perfumes. The reviews for each of my blends have been outstanding and inspiring and I am appreciative of such a supportive and wonderful group of devoted fans of this line. When I first began Black Baccara, I never would have imagined that I would go on to be one of the top selling artisan perfumers on Etsy.
The primary reason why I have decided to phase out Black Baccara is simply that it’s taking up too much of my time and I am feeling burnt out by it. I started out making perfume because it was another way for me to express and evoke my artistic ideas. Over time, I have become less passionate about it and I am feeling that it’s taking too much mental, physical and creative time away from my primary work.
Another reason is that Etsy is changing and is turning into something that I no longer want to support longterm. They have recently made some drastic changes to their policies and have decided to turn their back on the handmade values that they once stood for. Etsy is now allowing mass manufacturing and outsourcing of work. They are no longer a handmade marketplace, and many artists are closing up shop as a matter of integrity. This has been a hot topic within the handmade community over the past few weeks. You can gain a deeper understanding of it by reading these articles:
Finally, I have been undercut for a long time now by many perfumers on Etsy who are mimicking my aesthetic yet charging half of what I charge for a quality perfume. There is no way a handmade perfume that is selling for $5 – $10 a bottle is a complex artisan blend. Because there are so many of these people on Etsy selling cheap fragrance oils and trying to pass them off as artisan blends, it has drastically affected my enthusiasm for this project.
Having my aesthetic and leitmotifs stolen and/or poorly mimicked and used to peddle cheap one-note scents is annoying to me. I sense that with the changes Etsy is going to implement, this will be occurring on a much larger scale. When cheap, artless products begin to outweigh handmade artisanal products in a marketplace, there is no way that the real artists can thrive within that marketplace. It’s similar to what the cheap print market on sites like Etsy does to the perception and value of fine art photography.
Earlier this week, I experienced the Orwellian arm of Etsy censorship when I brought up the topic of the proliferation of knockoff Versace and other couture on Etsy. I was immediately muted by Admin. I began another thread asking why my thread pertaining to knockoff Versace was shut own and that thread was immediately shut down as well. In conversation with other sellers shortly thereafter, I learned that Etsy mutes any mention of counterfeiters, resellers, or blatant copyright infringement within their forums. Many sellers agreed that Etsy does not want to address these topics because the policing of these items would result in a massive loss of revenue for them. I’m not down with being silenced for pointing out the obvious.
All of the above factors have influenced my decision to start phasing out Black Baccara.
I know that many Black Baccara fans will be disappointed in this decision, and so I am not going to be closing abruptly. Instead, I will be gradually decreasing the number of blends in the line until I am left with 10 of my most popular blends. After this, it will be easier for me to start to sell off my inventory and supplies. I am considering selling off Black Baccara as a complete business, so if anyone might be interested in this opportunity, please contact me.
The fading away of Black Baccara will be a gradual process, with the discontinuation of perhaps 2-3 blends a month. If any of my customers are worried about losing one of their favorites, I will be taking bulk orders for the perfumes that are being discontinued (blends keep well for a year or more if stored in a cool, dry place). I haven’t figured out all of the logistics yet, because disassembling this project will be as difficult and time consuming as it was to start it. It’s possible that I may actually keep a handful of signature blends longterm, though I haven’t decided if this will be the case.
I am grateful that through this project I have discovered another talent -that of perfumer. But as a polymath, it is integral to my process to know when I am engaging in too many projects and to learn to walk away when I find that using one of my talents has stopped becoming enjoyable. It is also important for me to stand behind my convictions and not continue to support a company who has turned their back on their founding values.
In closing, I would like to thank everyone who has made Black Baccara such a success. I intend to offer the best, most unique perfume blends until the last bottle is sold, whenever that may be.