The Le Labo Experience
So what is the hype with luxury perfume? Is $200 a reasonable price for a 3 oz bottle of perfume? I went with my friend and fellow classmate Paulette Markarian, to Le Labo to see if this brand is as valuable as they claim to be.
At first glance, the ambience and vibe of the Le Labo store I entered in Manhattan was very aesthetically pleasing and appealing to the Millennial in me. It was like walking into an old-school apothecary, like you were taking a step back in time from the modern-day busy streets of New York, into a quaint and serene space. Once I laid my eyes on the employees, I quickly felt out of place.
Customer service is the backbone of the retail and fashion industry. Being the poor college student I am, I probably do not look like someone who can afford a $270.00 bottle of perfume. That does not mean employees should be treating potential customers like they are not worth their time. You could tell how the two employees were almost annoyed that we were in their storefront, walking around and testing out the luxury fragrances. These two were more willing to judge us, rather than help us at first. This attitude continued as they helped an older woman in the small store figure out which perfume was best for her.
It was almost like a Pretty Woman moment once I declared I would be writing a story on them. The workers changed up their attitude real quick and started to actually give my friend and I the attention we deserved.
Alright, for those of you who have never heard of this company before, here’s some background on this luxury fragrance brand: Le Labo is a luxury perfume company founded back in 2006. According to their website, Le Labo believes luxury lies in craftsmanship and personalization. The goal is to provide you with the most long-lasting and best smelling perfume possible that is made just for you. Personally, the only scent that was even semi-appealing to me was the fragrance named Rose 31. All of Le Labo’s perfumes are named this way, with the main ingredient as the name, and the number of other compounds within. They currently have 28 different scents available for purchase.
The point of an experience at Le Labo is to have your perfume of choice made right in front of you. Le Labo wants you to know and feel that this bottle of perfume was made especially for you. The fresh-blended perfume ensures about a three-year lifespan (a little less for citrus-based ones). Going into the store you may be excited for this experience, especially as a new customer. But unfortunately no. The older lady I mentioned earlier bought a perfume. They made it while she paid and she did not even get to watch. I did not notice an emphasis on making the perfume right before your eyes, much unlike how it is marketed through their social media and website.
While I was in the store, I posted an Instagram story and the brand actually responded with a red heart. This does not make up for the experience that I had. I went into Le Labo expecting a great experience as a potential future client, but instead was left feeling like I did not belong and was not wanted. As someone who is willing to spend a couple hundred on a perfume I really love (even as a broke college kid), Le Labo did not leave me with a memorable impression. It’s all about consumer-based experience upon entering a retail store for the first time. This impression ultimately leaves you with a positive or negative outlook on a brand. The experience that is being advertised was not what my friend and I got and, to be frank, it turned us off. Honestly, I got better customer service at a packed NYC Starbucks this morning than I did at Le Labo.