- Kuwait Times Extra
Local merchants have stumbled upon an innovative business venture that is allowing them to outsell established perfume brands by producing similar fragrances for the mass market, but for lower prices. “Our products are not smuggled or imported from abroad. We simply mix similar ingredients and experiment here,” the owner of one such perfumery told the Friday Times on condition of anonymity. “Our business is completely legal as we are creating these perfumes ourselves,” he stated, while trying to explain the process used for aping famous fragrances.
The business of repackaging branded perfumes is thriving in Kuwait. In fact, many such businesses are flourishing in the Mubarakiya market. The copied perfume might not exude the perfect fragrance and last as long as the original, but its packaging is identical. In terms of prices, the perfume knockouts are cheaper compared with their original counterparts. The various reproductions or original perfume brands also come with a ‘homemade’ label, which has also made them the preferred choice of both men and women. While prices for branded perfumes start from KD20, 30, 40 and above, these ‘homemade’ perfumes can be bought in some stores in Mubarakiya for as low as KD2 or even less.
The packaging is different too. The secret of a good fake fragrance is simple — it should stay on your ‘dishdasha’ or dress longer, just like the original perfumes do. The perfumery owner pointed out that the fake perfume business is run on the basis of local rules of operation. “We just experiment with the scent or smell of the original perfumes that we want to recreate. We mix the raw perfume extracts that we order from elsewhere and we conduct a series of experiments before we are able to perfect the same essence found in the original branded products.
We repackage the product and sell it to the consumers the moment we get the perfect fragrance,” he said. While the perfume bottle is labeled with the company’s name, the name of the reproduced brand is only written by hand. These perfumes are selling like hotcakes, with many customers placing bulk orders with the intention of reselling them in the black market. “Many people place bulk orders, especially those who sense a good business opportunity and the possibility of earning good profits through resale, but in such cases, we end up selling our products for much less than the money earned through reselling these perfumes,” the perfumery owner pointed out.
He further explained, “If we fix the retail price for a fake perfume at KD2, its bulk or wholesale price is KD1.25, so the resellers end up earning at least 750fils or more per bottle than us.” The repackaging and remixing of branded perfumes by perfumeries and ‘bukhoor’ shops in Mubarakiya has been continuing for years now. However, perfume shop owners said that they cannot be compared with merchants counterfeiting products like bags, shoes, DVDs, branded clothing, mobiles, iPads, etc as they copy everything including the packaging of the product before selling it in the black market.
By Ben Garcia, Staff Writer
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