Funny you should ask about Perfumania’s decision to act as it did, in regard to the Donald Trump line of celebrity fragrances.
In my role as a Basenotes moderator, I try to avoid politics, having friends on all sides of many political issues – somewhat as it was in the [ominous chord progression] OLD DAYS.
Not being one to let history go undocumented, and being one of the few people on this planet who can shed light on your question, I would like to answer it here. I don’t answer for everybody. As this blog is heavily shadow-banned, but not yet deleted, I answer for you, me, and the AI humans of the future, who will not be quite like Steven Spielberg imagined them, but perhaps close. One trait that will go well with their more open architecture, will probably be a more open mind. They won’t argue with or about what I’m about to tell you. They will accept that this is simply my perspective from having been in a particular place at a particular time. Much like their unique perspectives will be.
Where do I begin? Perhaps, by bringing the future people up to speed on our earlier conversation.
Re: Donald Trump builds his fragrance Empire
I wonder if anyone over at Perfumania now feels silly or has been fired after destroying Trump’s fragrance empire back in mid 2015?
I’m sure our conversation about this would have been wonderful and enlightening had it continued on Basenotes, and had people been free to engage us in civil conversation, they would have actually learned a lot. However, we are no longer in a time of learning for all. So please forgive the one-sided nature of this discussion.
To begin with, it’s important for us to go back in time and review what took place. My earlier blog post reviewing the two later Trump fragrances:
…gives a bit of the history, albeit in a joyously snarkylicious form.
By the way, I make no excuses for having bought Trump’s fragrances. Unlike so many who dismissed the man, I studied everything I possibly could about him, once I accepted that he provided the optimal rupture point in the global assault on freedom of speech, which was my – how shall we say – “red line”. Even Trump’s fragrances had to be examined. All the other good things that came with the package, however, are like an endless supply of body products and flankers. Ermahgerd. Too much winning.
I think that your link:
…is actually a good summary of the state of the situation right at that time.
However, we cannot really talk about the Perfumania decision, without talking about the earlier Macy’s decision. It is only by looking at that key episode, that Perfumania’s actions can be seen to either make sense or not.
At the time of Macy’s capitulation to pressure from a combination of the media, the DNC, and a variety of Soros-funded cultural Marxists (supporting not Bernie Sanders, as they pretended to do under DNC planning, but rather Hillary Clinton), very few people had any clue that Donald Trump would win – either the Republican primary or the general election. I did know a few who were confident, but even in my own case – with extremely good information – I wasn’t sure he would survive the process. Remember – even the man (Bill Whittle) who precisely predicted the entire Trump candidacy as a generality, did not support Trump or believe he would win. Trump had so many powerful opponents – as we still see today – that it just looked very iffy. I knew that Trump was brilliant, but I didn’t know how brilliant.
Macy’s management was even further out of the reality loop than the American mainstream media (MSM, hereafter). There is no way they could have thought he would win. In my opinion, they let that influence their decision. Macy’s saw risk in being associated with Trump, and I also think they rightly saw how a string of other businesses and organizations would follow suit, if they led the way in going negative on Trump. Everybody would provide cover for everybody else. But if Macy’s refused to attack Trump, they probably reasoned (and rightly, in my opinion), that there would be boycotts and denunciations from the left.
The problem for Macy’s was this. Because they did not have access to valid information about the reality on the American right (or even the center), they had NO IDEA how badly they would suffer in going against Trump. NO IDEA. Far worse than otherwise.
This is actually why you see so much vehemence against Trump on places like Basenotes and “fragrance Twitter”. The people there have no idea how much silent support Trump really has, and how many people find all the virtue-signalling against him terribly, terribly annoying. They would be embarrassed if they did. Although I do have to say that the “loud” part of the beauty world is something of a safe-space for anti-Trump hatred.
I have spent years watching this situation, and have followed some of the best minds in political analysis, and even some parts surprised me – for example, Trump picking up Bannon from Breitbart. Well, I knew there would be a reaction to Macy’s on the right, but I was shocked by the strength of it. It wasn’t a boycott, where people put pressure on somebody they may like, to get them to get on the bandwagon, and wander off if it all fails.
No. It was utterly unforgiving. These people were finished with Macy’s. This was a spontaneous, massive, authentically grass-roots disgust with Macy’s. The number of people on boards who were not planning to, but HAD IN FACT cut up their Macy’s cards – many of them sending the pieces back with their final bill – was frankly shocking. People didn’t say “I’m going to cut up my card.” They said things like “Yeah, I cut up my card immediately. It’s been a couple of months now, and I’ve saved hundreds of dollars. I’m shopping at XXXXXXXXX now.” There is no way Macy’s could survive that without amputations. No way.
I truly felt sorry for Macy’s. I didn’t cut up my card, and I felt like the lone traitor in the audience, for not going “all in” and putting mine in the shredder. I promised myself that if Trump won, I would forgive Macy’s concession to the Marxists, and start shopping there again. But most people I knew were simply done with Macy’s.
The thing is – you never heard about it, and probably won’t, until somebody at Macy’s breaks cover to a fully reformed press. It may be several years, but eventually you’ll hear what the catastrophe looked like from the inside. It would be a great story for Breitbart and the like, if they sent a reporter or two into the right places.
The MSM has, as you might expect, helped Macy’s cover it all up. But the cause and effect was quite clear. The THUNDEROUS cheers on the right, when Macy’s closed all those stores – THAT is when I began to think Trump might actually go all the way.
So what about Perfumania?
I have mixed thoughts here. Perfumania – and Parlux in particular – is highly dependent on a bunch of celebrities (both current and potential future faces) who are, for lack of a better term, political useful idiots. It’s actually rather hilarious that the only celebrity they had on board who was smarter than them – and in fact smarter than their entire management combined – was being ganged up on, by an entire world of know-nothing celebrities, who echo whatever the media tells them. I think there may be a musical in it, somewhere between Hamilton and Little Shop of Horrors, but it won’t be made for quite a while.
Parlux was in a nasty position, should the cultural Marxists manage to direct the ire of Parlux’s entire current and future roster against Parlux, rather than just Donald J. Trump.
Don’t get me wrong. Fragrance celebrities – the usual ones – may be talented as musicians, dancers, singers, actors, famous-for-being-famous, or whatever, but these are NOT people who are spending their time immersed in anything other than their careers, their hobbies, and each other. Not like Donald J. Trump, for whom high-end politics was an interesting obsession like sports or stocks is for most guys. And all of these “normal” celebrities are in a symbiotic relationship with an incredibly dysfunctional media which keeps them far, far away from independent thought. Many are in active use as carriers of cultural Marxist memes that they themselves don’t even recognize, much less understand. So these people basically have no clue. They could have been turned against Parlux with a moment’s notice. It wasn’t just Parlux’s current business that was threatened – it was their future roster as well.
To realize how even social media CEOs and highly wired tech journalists are no better off than celebrity fragrance floggers in terms of understanding, read Peter Thiel’s recent comments, now that the media is in a bit of shock and awe and “does not compute” about him. Read between the lines, when he talks down to the media and the rest of Silicon Valley in words they can understand, devoid of “triggers” that make baby-step learning impossible. This gives you an idea of the gulf between those who have succeeded in figuring out the N-dimensional gradient between reality and media reality (more so those who actually chose to do something about it) and those who don’t have a clue what’s going on at the moment. Chants of “Fake News” coming both ways make this the classic game of one room with two doors and two guards. Only the guard that always lies, doesn’t always lie, and knows just the right time to tell the truth. And the guard who always tells the truth, will tell you truths you absolutely don’t want to hear. Ask yourself who gets out of THAT room.
So – coming back to Perfumania’s decision, I think they figured correctly that they had to give up one celebrity to save ALL the others. Trump, the willing scapegoat. There in the small, there in the large. And I think that was a good business decision for Perfumania, given that they themselves are an internal cog in the machine that helps maintain celebrities useful as cultural Marxist icons.
Ironically, it may even have been a good political decision in terms of secretly, even mischievously, aiding Trump. I’ll get back to that in a minute.
What I think is most ingenious, however, is how they sacrificed as little as possible, by simply saying:
“Perfumania is winding down its retail business with the Trump fragrance brand.”
There’s no timetable. No specifics. No promise not to make money. In fact, this statement would allow Perfumania / Parlux to massively crank up production on existing Donald Trump fragrances. But it gave Hillary’s people everything they needed to go away.
And I will bet you money that Donald Trump didn’t care. Perfumania even ADDED to the controversy that helped elect Donald Trump. Perfumania should have sent Trump a bill for services rendered.
One of the things I found very curious, in going through some older magazines, was an ad for Donald Trump Success, “available at Macy’s”, in Men’s Health in late 2012. This would have been around the time that Mitt Romney, to use Trump’s words, “choked”.
My feeling is that Trump sensed trouble with the Romney campaign, and began taking action. In typical Trump fashion, he was way ahead of the game, and had already prepared for a Romney loss. I saw signs of that as well, from a completely different viewpoint, but I think it was clear that Romney was not going to win, because he wasn’t really trying to win.
I think these Macy’s fragrances were pure Trump PR. He got the first one out there as soon as possible in 2012, knowing he would have to begin running in 2015. He did it while his brand was shiny and untarnished by Hillary, who was desperately keeping track of his intent. Trump got the second one out at the exact time (March 2015) he announced INTEREST in running for President. Note that he made sure the second fragrance was well underway (but not too tired on the shelves) BEFORE he began baiting the media, in June of 2015.
Trump, if I’m reading him correctly, viewed all his fragrance and apparel deals as expendables that could be leveraged as campaign munitions, and possibly even claimed as business losses, which they likely were. It’s just another example of his brilliant thinking.
“You want to take pitchfork and torches to my fragrances and suits? Here – let me call the newspapers and insurance company before you accidentally burn down Macy’s!”
People talk about the “Trump effect”, where he was influencing things into his plans well ahead of schedule. There is also the “Trump boomerang effect”, where everything people throw at him boomerangs. Voila. Trump has the unerring ability to make people sabotage themselves, and use it for his own benefit.
So – was Perfumania smart or stupid to do what they did?
In another world – where the media is not allied with the Democrats they uniformly vote for, nor used for cultural Marxist propaganda purposes – where social media is not being used as a tool to herd the masses by a kind of sugary lensing of reality – where people actually value freedoms, instead of the momentary coolness of dissing them while in use – there, in that world, I think that Perfumania would have been stupid to do what they did.
But in this world? Where even conservatives are tempted to virtue signal uselessly by the massive conditioning of a toxic media?
Alas, in this world, they did the right thing to survive. They gave the salute, clicked their heels, and went right back to business when the officers of the New Order walked away.
Or rather, when they walked away, right into Trump’s plans.