Great retailing is about great story telling and with impeccable timing, French perfume house Lubin launched Black Jade on Bastille Day 2011 - it's a fragrance that was created exclusively for Marie Antoinette and she is believed to have kept a small vial of the fragrance with her at all times, even right up to her death at the guillotine. Indeed, Luca Turin writes in The Secret of Scent, that it was the Queen's unmistakable perfume that gave her away as she fled the palace during the French Revolution.
Evocative scene setting
I read about the launch of Black Jade when I was lecturing in NYC and made a special journeying to Aedes De Venustas on Christopher Street in the heart of Greenwich Village to buy the fragrance as a special gift for my wife. It took me nearly 2 hours to find this wonderful little boutique in torrential rain but this incredibly romantic fragrance (a blend of bergamot, cardamom, rose, jasmine, incense, cinnamon, sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, tonka bean and amber) was extremely well received, especially when I recounted the history - a great gift and great story.
It's such a shame more retailers don't go out of their way to tell genuinely interesting stories as 'signature' call signs to entice customers to choose them, travel to them, giving customers a reason to genuinely feel differently about the specialness of the store and what they've just bought. With some determined research, there's always something that can be told about key products that makes everyone feel special - including the sales person.