Claude Marchal, the creator of Parfums MDCI, talks about his line
Last Friday, on Aromascope and Perfume-Smellin’ Things, we had a lively discussion of Parfums MDCI. We wondered about prices and guessed about whom the company considered to be their target audience and I think we were all intrigued. Claude Marchal, the creator of MDCI wrote me an email, addressing the questions we had. With his kind permission, I am posting it below practically in its entirety. I must say that it made me look at the line with completely different eyes, and above all, it is always nice to know that some companies (usually, understandably, smaller companies) are concerned about the opinions of their potential clients and care enough to actually initiate a dialogue…that exclusivity does not exclude charm and willingness to communicate.
“Reading the comments posted on your blogs, it became obvious to me that some of your visitors like our designs, and others don't, which is perfectly natural. We have chosen a narrow road, trying to add value to fragrance with artsy presentations, exposing ourselves to critics (or praise!).
But our company seems to be perceived as elitist and overpriced; which is not our intent nor our philosophy, even if definitely MDCI intends to position itself somewhere near the top: there is no other way for a small brand which invests a lot in design and quality ingredients and components.
We also produce on a very small scale, not because of snobbism but because these crystal bottles are extremely difficult to make, a hundred a year is a realistic maximum! To compare with Lalique (good friends of mine, by the way), Lalique produces limited editions of 2500 to 4000 units a year. Industrial. Molded. Glass. Plastic seals. Ours are crystal, cast from manually-made individual wax models; each stopper is manually adapted and paired to its particular bottle, hand-finished, then numbered etc., etc...
Another comparison is with Clive Christian's top of the line perfumes, available for $2500.00 at select department stores...
In fact, I do not know exactly for how much our fragrances go for in Russia, prices which seem to annoy your readers.
I think that the problem originates in Moscow, where prices may have gotten out of control. By the time they get there, prices have more than doubled, thanks to retailer's margins, duties, etc., etc. (pretty much the same way caviar prices increase when it reaches fine stores in Paris). Add the weakness of the US dollar versus the Euro (1 euro= 1,30 US$), and our fragrances start to be out of reach, which we do not want!
In fact, we try to remain affordable: 1,5 fl oz of EDP can be ordered from us, in Paris, for Euros 120.00, and 2,5 fl oz for Euros 150.00 in the aluminum spray bottles used as refills for the pricey crystal flacons. This until our new presentations are ready next year. (Our website has to be quickly updated on this point: there is a real demand for the fragrances, and it would be foolish to stick to the idea of limiting refills to the happy few capable of buying the expensive crystal flacons).
Also, prices are not available on our website, for several reasons, none linked to any desire to fleece innocent customers:
1- Our merchant site is not ready, we are sort of overwhelmed by our workload: give us a little more time to improve on it!
2- We are still trying to figure out how to protect our direct sales business model, and make it compatible with a more normal distribution ( i.e. Neiman Marcus or some other high-end dept. stores).
3- We are working hard on new, more affordable presentations, which should be ready by the end of February 07: high quality glass spray bottle with what I think is a lovely and quite unique Limoges bisque stopper…
Expect retail prices in the neighborhood of Euros 300.00 to 400.00 for 2,5 fl oz of EDP, and glass spray refills available for around Euros 120.00 to 150.00.
OK, this is not cheap, but this is not only within the reach of successful suburban Mafiosi!
We want to stick to our low-key, small volume model, not by crass elitism, but to keep things manageable, creativity high, and customers happy. And yes, small volumes mean higher prices...and exclusivity! (…)
Thank you for reading this loooong message till the end…
Claude at Parfums MDCI “
For more information about MDCI, please visit parfumsmdci.free.fr
The image is from parfumsmdci.free.fr