July 26th, 2011


There are several hundred new fragrances introduced annually, but you would be hard-pressed to find the great majority of them in your favorite or even not so favorite store in the year of their introduction, let alone by the second or third year of their existence. One reason is the sheer number of new introductions on top of a huge base of existing fragrances that is probably too much for the market to absorb. Imagine even the largest department or specialty store carrying all the new introductions in addition to those of just the three preceding years, including all the different sizes and line extensions, such as body lotions and bath gels. You might as well close accessory, shoe, and several other departments just to provide the space to house them and the staff to support their sale. Though by no stretch of the imagination is the lack of available space the reason for the paucity of extended retail shelf life of new introductions. Even the most incompetent retail buyers would ask for and likely get additional space for their fragrance departments if they had the sales to warrant it; however, the fact is they don’t, and that is the crux of the problem. Read the rest of this entry »

July 12th, 2011

“The Old Boys Club”

In recent days there has been much news about the arrogance of French men and their treatment of women. The most celebrated case occurred in New York where a Frenchman, the former Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) resigned amid rape charges while in France the Junior Minister for Civil Service resigned after being charged with sexual harassment. Now it seems that more women are speaking out in France against “the Old Boys Club” environment that has kept women in their place, subjecting them to sexual harassment and limiting their advancement.

In the mid 1970’s after becoming president of our company’s international division I was unhappy with the performance of our French subsidiary and appointed myself as its president. As I delved into the company’s performance it was clear that certain changes had to be made, including a restructuring of organizational responsibilities and the reassignment of personnel based on merit as opposed to their longevity with the company. One of those changes called for the establishment of a new division and the appointment of the most qualified person to run it—who just happened to be a woman. Read the rest of this entry »