The Profumeria is an Australian e-commerce platform specialising in importing locally crafted fragrance and skin care brands from Italy.
It was launched in the midst of the pandemic last year by sisters Elissa and Vanessa Bartuccelli, who both have retail experience as buyers for international brands and department stores.
“With Australians not being able to travel and get access to these brands themselves, we wanted to curate fragrances to create a bit of nostalgia and remind them of overseas travel. There’s a huge market of Australian tourists in Italy,” said Elissa Bartuccelli.
In the past few years, the Bartuccellis have observed a tremendous shift in the fragrance world. Most notably, that that consumers are no longer looking to the big brands to tell them what they should be.
“There’s a whole notion about using fragrance for ourselves to be enjoyed by ourselves in our own space. We’re seeing a focus on unisex fragrance and its encouraging consumers to select fragrances based on their mood or their personality or individuality,” said Bartuccelli.
These artisanal fragrance brands have been excellent at re-educating consumers on how this ‘new’ way of choosing and wearing perfumes, gender-neutral scents are here to stay. According to Mintel, gender-neutral fragrance launches accounted for 17% of the market in 2010 and by 2018 that figure had grown to 51%.
While consumers may be clamouring for lesser-known brands, these brands are not necessarily accessible to the wider global audience.
One of the reasons the Bartuccellis established the company was to give their fellow Aussies a chance to purchase cult labels from Italy, which can be subjected to exorbitant shipping costs as well as duties and taxes.
“The whole beauty industry has changed. It’s about making it easy for the new generation to shop. It’s about accessibility as people now accustomed to picking up their mobile devices and making a purchase. It’s about speed to customer because they expect products then and there,” said Bartuccelli.
While the firm currently only operates in Australia. It is working to expand into New Zealand and is interested in expanding into the Asian markets, where niche perfume sales are soaring.
What consumers want
Since it launched, the company has brought in Italian perfume brands Via Del Mille, Ortigia Sicilia, Nasomatto, Meo Fusciuni, Oway, and most recently, a fragrance line from Italian fashion house ETRO.
“There are a lot more emerging brands coming forward now because of the trends in the market. I think it will be very interesting to see what happens over the next 12 months. We’re definitely scoping for brands that sit within the portfolio,” said Bartuccelli.
In particular, the company is looking for brands with products that are made with natural ingredients and have interesting sustainability stories to tell.
ETRO fragrances, for instance, are crafted in-house with natural ingredients and the packaging reuses extra fabric from its fashion line.
Bartuccelli said: “Consumers in this space are really looking for brands that have strong value, particularly around, production and packaging. We see this huge shift in the beauty market in general towards natural ingredients and sustainable products. Consumers want to make sure they know where products are coming from and what they are investing in."