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Expedition Perfume: How niche perfumery conquered the world. A case study in cultural economy

Welcome to an Art Initiative lunch seminar with Jenny Lantz, Ph.D., Center for Arts, Business and Culture (ABC) on December 1. Jenny will give a lecture based on her book Expedition Parfym and research project “Scentmaking – exploring value creation in the field of perfume” .

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Archaeological digs and ancient texts bear witness to the existence of perfumes in some of the earliest human civilizations, often as a means to ward off odors but also as a way to enhance one’s personality. The methods have varied: From burnt resin in ancient Egypt, to sulphur and essential oils in Medieval Europe. In the 20th century modern perfumery emerged and gradually came to focus on marketing and packaging, celebrities, and fashion houses. 

However, over the last two decades so-called niche brands have completely transformed the world of perfumery. Today niche perfume represents half of the world market. What caused this mature industry to undergo such a change? How is value created in the perfume industry today? In her talk, Jenny elaborates on these two questions, based on her research findings. It’s a story about how the perfumer stepped into the limelight, revolting against the dominant marketing perspective on perfumery. How the art of perfumery took center stage. How social media has made it easier to discuss and engage in perfumes. How the urge to experience and learn about perfume means that perfumery defies the death of the high street – perfume shops are still thriving. How, in a time of digitalization and demystification, we still need the elusive, intimate, and sensory experiences that perfume offers. In short, it’s a story about a positive cultural-economic spiral.  

The lecture takes place in Room Ragnar at 12:00 on December 1. Welcome! 

Sign up here.

A light lunch will be served.

Photo of Jenny Lantz by Kajsa Göransson

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Art Initiative

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