Malaysian Designer Perfume Subscription Service
For many of us, shopping for perfumes is an experience.
We would usually go to a store and smell different types of scent, then try it on our bodies to see what works best for us.
With such a physical presence required when purchasing perfumes, how do you overcome this as an online perfume subscription service?
Sadira, who co-founded Scentses + Co with her sister Sabreena, explained that they provide enough information and a brief personality profile for each fragrance listed on their site.
It’s like dating without a commitment
Scentses + Co is a fragrance subscription service for those who want to try different designer fragrances without obligation.
Subscribers can choose any designer scent listed on their website and have it delivered in an 8ml spray bottle.
3 sprays per day can last up to a month of use for each bottle.
This solves the problem of spending a few hundred ringgit on 50ml designer fragrances that may never be finished in the first place.
Therefore, the subscription model eliminates the commitment that customers have to make when purchasing bottles full of perfume.
What’s worse is if they realize they didn’t really like the scent, which I imagine could happen with freebies.
Sadira joked, “Think of the idea as dating perfumes before you marry them!”
Outsourcing was not an option
From the outset, the sisters prioritized building their clients’ credibility and trust in their business.
This meant that the profit was secondary, as it was not about promoting the products, but about pleasing their customers.
In return, subscribers would send positive reviews and messages of appreciation.
This is what they attribute to the source of their strength in difficult times.
“Every day we print out each of their comments and put them on our ‘Wall of Gratitude’ so that we can keep working harder,” she says.
When they first started, however, it wasn’t a walk in the park. The business was full of challenges.
Because nothing was outsourced, everything from web development, UI, and UX to the design of their packaging was done by the sisters.
“We had to grow and learn fast every day, not to mention issues like system issues, customer skepticism and naysayers from the online community,” Sadira said.
They used these challenges as fuel to propel the company forward.
A lot of time was spent on technical skills such as learning computer codes from scratch and general communication skills to build relationships with clients.
“With courage and patience, we try to do things one step at a time. ‘All we can do is the next good thing ‘– this is our favorite quote from Anna from Frozen 2! ” she says.
Entrepreneurs since childhood
This drive and passion is what you get from the founders who were bitten by the entrepreneurial bug when they were schoolchildren.
Sadira’s entrepreneurial journey began with an online blogshop at age 16. There she found her strength in B2C e-commerce.
She also ran a tech startup called Readpublic, which was a book comparison app.
Funded by the Cradle Fund, it has won several awards, including second place at the Entrepreneur Organization’s (EO) Global Student Entrepreneur Awards held in Frankfurt, Germany.
Sabreena’s entrepreneurial journey also began during her school years.
Despite the busy schedule as an undergraduate in chemical engineering, she spends her free time dropshipping. Sadira said it helps her sister develop marketing skills.
With the strong entrepreneurial tendency imbued in us, we always identify the problems to be solved. It is very fulfilling because we have the chance to discover our own entrepreneurial vocation and to associate our lives with it.
Sadira, co-founder of Scentses + Co.
Building a perfume wardrobe
Launched in June 2020, Scentses + Co already has more than 600 active and inactive subscribers.
They have a community of over 1000 fragrance enthusiast members who seek fragrance knowledge and recommendations.
“Scentennials” is what the duo calls its members.
Scentses + Co. currently has 2 subscription plans:
- LITE, priced at RM 49.90 / month with unlimited selection of up to 170+ designer fragrances
- LUXURY, priced at RM 59.90 / month with unlimited access to over 30 fragrances with more premium brands.
“In total, we have a selection of over 200 designer fragrances for our subscribers to discover as their fragrance of the month, SOTM,” said Sadira.
The platform also showcases up to 10 new bi-monthly fragrances to expand their selection for subscribers.
The idea of only ever getting tiny bottles of perfume means less waste for each perfume.
However, it can lead to more environmental waste if subscribers throw away the bottles every time they finish them.
Sadira pointed out that she had thought about this.
They already have plans to allow subscribers to return their empty glass atomizers in exchange for rewards.
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I did a bit of Google research to see how the price of the Scentses + Co subscription plan measures up to purchasing an entire bottle of perfume.
An example of a designer fragrance (8ml) that you could get in their LITE plan (RM49.90 / month) is the Eau de Toilette 3 L’IMPERATRICE by Dolce & Gabbana, which retails at Sephora for 340.67 RM.
By doing the math, 1ml of perfume would then cost around RM3.40. 8ml would cost around RM27.
On the other hand, an example of a premium fragrance from the LUXE plan (RM59.90 / month) would be Miss Dior by Dior, which sells for RM620 for a 100ml bottle.
This means 8ml cost around RM49.
If you are really particular about the prices, it may be more interesting to buy the original perfumes.
However, the prices indicated above do not take into account the delivery costs when purchasing online.
Thus, despite its pricing plans, Scentses + Co offers some interesting advantages for perfume lovers:
- The power of choice, which can be changed monthly,
- Access to fragrances that may not be easily purchased in Malaysia (in physical stores or online),
- International perfume delivery charges are absorbed and there are no shipping charges across West and East Malaysia for Scentses + Co.
These alone could justify his plans, especially if you take the scent seriously.
- You can read more about Scentses + Co here.
- You can read more about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Sadira and Sabrina, Co-Founders of Scentses + Co
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