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Finding Your Niche: A Tale of Perfumery, Kicks, & Fros

Updated: Mar 16

NICHE. You've likely encountered this term before. In the realm of perfumery, "niche" signifies an alternative to mass production. Often, it involves limited accessibility and production in smaller batches. Niche fragrance companies typically fall between the larger houses like Firmenich or IFF and the smaller, independently operated perfume houses owned by individual perfumers.

In every day terms, NICHE refers to a specialized segment in a market, area of expertise, or personal preference. When someone sets out to "find their niche," it usually means identifying and focusing on a specific area where they see an opportunity to thrive or connect with a distinctive audience.

It took nearly five years for me to discover my niche in the perfume space. When I entered the community, it was a more intimate space where everyone knew each other. During that time, individuals were primarily bloggers (myself included), vloggers, or YouTubers. The term "influencer" or content creator had not yet been coined but was on the horizon. YouTube was the go-to platform for vloggers, while Instagram was gaining prominence.

Discovering my niche proved to be a challenging journey. Unlike others, I didn't feel entirely at ease in front of the camera, and I resisted the urge to focus solely on fragrance reviews. I felt immense pressure to stand out, to "be different," until I allowed inspiration to guide me. This led me to a profound desire: to introduce Black and brown individuals to the expansive realm of niche perfumery. At that time, people of color were often sidelined in scent conversations, relegated to the role of consumers rather than active participants. Recognizing this exclusion fueled my determination to become a conduit, a sort of muse, encouraging others to immerse themselves in the fragrance world.

Early MUSE days. 327 Convent Ave, Harlem (2017)

My perspectives evolved over time. Trust me, it wasn't a swift process. MUSE today, is a labor of love and vision; hence, why I'm consistently intrigued when I come across individuals who've undergone a similar journey, like Melissa Chanel. Melissa, is the visionary behind Kicks and Fros. She established this lifestyle brand and community in 2017 with the mission to educate, entertain, elevate, and inspire black and brown women in the sneaker community.

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Embracing the title of a self-proclaimed "sneakerHERhead," Melissa recognized an opportunity to spotlight and amplify brown women in the predominantly male-dominated realm of sneakers. What began as a response to a noticeable void soon blossomed into a thriving business—a narrative that might sound familiar! She successfully found her niche and carved out a distinctive space within it. Today, Melissa continues to flourish, most recently appearing on platforms like the Jennifer Hudson Show (where I first discovered her). Her Instagram handle, @kickandfros, serves as a vibrant showcase of her personality, unique style, and unwavering commitment to helping women discover their individual sneaker style.

The term "niche" holds diverse meanings depending on the context. In the fragrance industry, it transcends mere market segmentation; it represents a philosophy centered on craftsmanship, limited production, and establishing a special connection with the audience. Both mine and Melissa's journeys in finding our respective niches underscore just how important it is to have a unique perspective and be unafraid to share it with the world-YOUR WAY!

Any thoughts or reactions? Do share!

Thank for reading!

Kimberly, MUSE

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