8 years ago
I'm also a bit skeptical, but for different reasons.
I rather appreciate some democratization of the market, but I do wonder about how the incentives to produce quality scents are influenced by the minimization of overhead/startup costs. On the other hand, these imagined incentives don't seem to work particularly well on established firms, so perhaps the point is moot.
Even more than that, though, I really prefer to smell a fragrance first in a bricks-and-mortar shop, then to try a sample at my leisure, and finally to consider whether or not I am interested in some sort of purchase. Etsy and the like don't seem to provide a platform for that kind of exposure.
And while I've only sampled a few scents from BPAL and maybe just one from Alkemia, I found them all repulsive, unfortunately. If I'm being honest, that might be the main source of my skepticism.
I think the naturals issue is completely separate. I won a giveaway once from Roxana Illuminated, and the scent was fantastic. I got a Phoenix Botanicals mini from a perfume buddy and found it very lovely. I think the BPAL and Alkemia scents I tried were so awful precisely because of the poorly-judged use of overpowering aromachemicals. Mind you, I tend to dislike smells that feel obviously synthetic to me, and I tend to enjoy naturals, so this is also a matter of taste.
But I do think that it must be easier to produce something bad when using synthetics. The couple dozen aromachems that I have smelled are really terrible on their own. The couple dozen natural extracts that I have smelled are all quite wonderful on their own. I understand that once the materials are blended together, the properties of the blend are different from those of its constituents, but still, it stands to reason that starting out with good-smelling ingredients should make it easier to produce a good-smelling mixture, doesn't it?