When you look up the word “transparent” in the dictionary, you’re greeted with a typical definition: easy to perceive or detect.
For some direct to consumer brands, the ability to be transparent doesn’t mix with their company ethos—company patents, secrets, or misguided practices. But for brands like Everlane, Boba Guys, and Miami fragrance atelier A. N. Other Fragrances—transparency comes to the forefront of their model.
We ask you—what perfumery tells you exactly like it is and involves you at every stage of production. Honestly, the pickings are slim. And those who stay relevant are even slimmer. Which is all the more reason that A. N. Other Fragrances takes the step to show the reality of the perfume industry. “Gone are the days when slick marketing agencies on Madison Avenue could package almost anything and sell it with a little glitz,” the A. N. Other team tells us, “customers these days are savvy, inquisitive, and seek transparency. They want to know exactly what goes into the bottles.” Customers, shoppers, those interested in what they’re buying have the world's encyclopedia at their fingertips—the world is completely connected but when it came to the ecosphere of perfumes, celebrity nor influencer can’t express the actual process of developing a scent that lingers on your skin.
The word “fragrance,” companies can hide thousands of ingredients and keep it as a proprietary secret, they can hide seriously endocrine disrupting chemicals, carcinogens—you’re at the mercy of your fragrances. “Our collection is clean. It is free from toxins, preservatives, dyes, animal products, Parabens, and & Phthalates,” A. N. Other assures us when we asked about their rather small ingredients list, “our fragrances are not all natural because natural is not always the most responsible choice. Some natural ingredients are endangered, other are over-harvested. Additionally – some natural ingredients trigger allergic reactions.”
And priced affordably, we wondered how, when, and why? How had the 2019 perfume world not caught up? “A. N. OTHER was sparked by the article “Behind the spritz: what really goes into a bottle of $100 perfume” by Barbara Thau. We were shocked to discover how little money is invested in a product that costs so much, we felt that consumers have the right to know what they are paying for. We captured the broken fragrance industry in an infographic that shows the breakdown of a $100 paid for perfume and posted it on our CONCEPT page. The sliced bottle visualizes the tiny sliver of money that actually goes inside the bottle.”
A.N. Other was built on the notion that if consumers were going to buy fragrances, they should make smarter buys ultimately. “Consumers demand value. They want high quality products at honest pricing. The only way consumers can be assured that they are paying the right price, is to disclose materials costs and provide pricing transparency. Consumers deserve to know the costs of the ingredients that go into the bottles, not only the quality of the ingredients.”
Forbes customer experience writer Blake Morgan shared the sentiment in a recently written article on the concept of transparency in brand experience, “The marketer is faced with two roads. One road is paved with gimmicks and tricks that confuse customers into clicking. The other road is lined with, nothing. At the end of the road is the product that was promised.”
We surround ourselves in the glamour of luxury goods—the spokespeople are celebrities of high calibur, models of unattainable beauty, surroundings of the 1%. You go into a perfume retailer to view of a smell can idyllically change your life, which is ultimately untrue. “When consumers pay for a high-end luxury fragrance, they are paying for everything but the fragrance,” A. N. Other shared the sentiment, “brands spend significantly more money on distribution, overhead, marketing, licensing, celebrity endorsements, leaving a disproportionately small amount invested in the product itself. The ingredients that go into the bottle and onto the skin. All that money spent in all the wrong places is charged back to the consumers in the form of a “Vanity Tax”.
An industry untouched and unparalleled, as our personal care products become cleaner, transparent, and backed by radically different founders, A. N. Other agreed that is was the only way to growth, “Perfumers must stay within strict budgetary confinements, while Big Fragrance literally “nickels & dimes” them. The typical budget for “juice” for $100 fragrance is $2. We don’t think that the “juice” is where cost-cutting should be done. On the contrary, we think that this is where money should be spent generously. So, we made a simple adjustment and eliminated budgets. This means that our perfumers use the same ingredients and raw materials that they use in fragrances that sell for $300. And by the way, these $300 fragrances are made by the same “juice” manufacturers and by the same perfumers that created COLLECTION/18. The result, we redefine how fragrance is born & sold. We call it REWRITING FRAGRANCE, which is a twist on the fact that our brand name is a literary term.”
You, as a customer, want to trust the brands you spend good money on. You want to proudly announce to your friends over a cocktail what perfume you’re wearing, what shoes you’re sporting, what choices you’ve made in your personal routine. You become informed with what the brand tells you and if you’re questioned on the how, when, and where—you draw a blank. You sold a smoke-and-mirrors effect that doesn’t go beyond the spritz.
Though you may be thinking, A. N. Other is expensive, look at their aesthetic. But that’s a wild misconception, A. N. Other has kept the affordability aspect alive and well. “Our biggest misconception is, ironically, our prices. By pricing our collection honestly, we make high-end luxury fragrances affordable. Yet, consumers are highly biased by pricing.” The thought that if it costs more, it works better—which has started to be rewritten in most industries, A. N. Other paving the way in this industry.
So how do we fix a inherently almost-broken system? It doesn’t seem like we started out on a great foot when the perfumery behemoths started slinging product. “The only way to fix a broken industry is to do everything radically different,” A. N. Other shares with us, “so, we set fire to the fragrance rulebook and replaced it with a simple rule. Less is more. We broke down the entire process, from fragrance manufacturing to sales and distribution, and stripped everything to the barest essentials.”
Though everyone has the power of preference and what they love is what they love—A. N. Other has, since day one, stood unwavering behind their product and practices. “We start with people in mind. We make clean, sustainable, and ethically sourced fragrances that people feel good about. We price our fragrances honestly. And our brand name's a reminder to everyone that people come first.”
// an-other.com, you can find A. N. Other Fragrances at Veer and Wander; 6 Brady St, San Francisco, Mid Market. Read more about how the brand continues to practice ethical business. Want to shop the collection? Shop the newest here. Photography by Anthony Rogers, video by Anthony Rogers, styling by Danielle Wallis.