If you missed The Observer on Sunday, you’ll have missed the news that Katie Price’s fragrance has been pulled from Superdrug shelves for ‘ethical reasons’. The Observer claims that Indian workers in the bottling plant are being paid 26p an hour to make the bottles for Stunning and Besotted fragrances. Superdrug say they have a robust ethical trading policy and are investigating the claim themselves.
I’m feeling that it seems quite typical KP and slebs in general not to bother to do any checking into what goes on behind the brand. Plenty of celebrities sell their name to a fragrance company; very rarely though do they have direct involvement or any clue of how the process might be achieved. I remember attending an event where an influential Asian actress had put her name to a fragrance and while she stood to do her endorsement speech, she literally forgot the name of it. That’s how interested she was. I’d be surprised if she actually knew any of the ingredients. There are one or two celebs who are involved in the ‘does it smell nice?’ process but I’ll bet my last bottle of Chanel No5 that not one will have looked into whether it is ethically produced on any level. I suspect Superdrug might have one heck of a lot of investigating to do, because KP’s fragrances can’t be the only ones that use suspect routes to packaging and sales.
I’ve just given the distributors, Jigsaw Esl a quick buzz to see if they are still distributing the fragrance, and yes, it appears they are. So, clearly they’re not that bothered. Interestingly their website still holds a page for Jade Goody’s fragrance that they also distribute, but they’ve not bothered to mention she isn’t actually even alive anymore. Mind you, it doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2008.
While I do hate a perfume snob, I really do feel that fragrances that have been devised by a ‘nose’ actually do have some thought and heart to them, particularly from smaller, independent companies, and are far less likely to use cheap labour or ingredients. The whole question of how much a fragrance actually costs to make, from the bottling to the labelling to the minute quantities of perfume ingredients vs water in so many perfumes is one that when I have time, I’ll look into further. It’s well known that whenever a celeb gets a fragrance it is known from there on in as the ‘cash cow’ and production costs are so small in comparison to counter price. My secret fragrance insider says that because there is little or nothing natural in fragrances like these, the actual ‘juice’ can be made by the bucket load in a lab, ensuring that the cost of what you’re smelling amounts to nothing more than pennies. My expert felt an approximate price of 20p was being generous. Bear in mind that you can get as little as 5% juice and as much as 95% alcohol. Costs after than are attributed to paying the celeb, bottling, labelling, distributing, PR-ing etc, etc. Quite frankly you’d be better off making old fashioned rose water with rose petals from the garden and some tap water. At least you’ll know your workforce wasn’t paid a disgustingly low amount…and of course, alcohol is optional!
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