Galeries de Parfums: Setting New Standards in the Region’s Niche Fragrance Market

In Hyde Park Corner, an ultra-luxury niche perfumery raises the bar for African fine fragrance connoisseurs.

By Busi Manunga

When envisioning luxurious fragrance experiences, one often imagines the blooming fields of France or the heady Oud-scented trails of the Middle East. While some of the world’s best scents are found overseas, Africa boasts a gem within its borders that caters to the refined tastes of those seeking ultra-luxury niche perfumery.

As the only fragrance store in the SADC region with distribution rights for niche luxury brands such as The House of Oud, Fragrance du Bois, Atelier des Ors, and Ormonde Jayne, Galeries de Parfums has established itself as the premier purveyor of ultra-luxury niche scents in Africa.

In the niche fragrance world, less is more, as shown by the global success of niche fragrance sellers in e-commerce. However, in the African context, having a brick-and-mortar presence can make all the difference. As the world began to awaken from its COVID-induced slumber in 2022, Galeries de Parfums sold over 100 units of its ultra-niche fragrances in 10 days through a pop-up stand in Sandton City’s Diamond Walk. These fragrances averaged between R4 500 and R35 000 per bottle, highlighting the profitability of allowing South African consumers to sample the product. This success led to the opening of the Hyde Park store.

Galeries de Parfums’ Manager, Itumeleng Mbonani, considers ultra-luxury niche perfume selling to go beyond the bottle’s contents. “The fragrance houses we work with are luxe niche as a result of the investment they place in the raw materials as well as the traditions they keep in creating the fragrances. As we sell these fragrances, we aim to provide the experience that one would find when visiting the fragrance houses themselves in Italy, the United Kingdom or France.” African fragrance connoisseurs are as discerning as any in the world. Stepping into Galeries de Parfums offers an experience of sublime luxury: personalised service during your visit, education on the scents, storytelling about the fragrance houses, and a complimentary glass of champagne. As the niche perfume category grows and department stores eagerly host non-designer brands, staying ahead of the competition requires consistently providing world-class service. After all, your next client often comes recommended by a friend.

The age of social media has also played a part in shaping the ultra-luxury niche perfume client. “The clientele of the fragrances we carry has always been the well-travelled fragrance lover who is looking to discover something new, and yet through our own Instagram and our store being tagged in the social media accounts of the brand houses we work with, we have managed to draw people to our door who have not had the opportunity to travel but who are willing to invest in a scent few others will have,” shares Nkgodi Kekana, Galeries de Parfums’ Sales Assistant.

Next time you’re at Hyde Park Corner, make sure you take the time to immerse yourself in their exclusive range of scents.

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