Max Forti, ScentXplore founder: “Our main goal is to connect brands, consumers, perfumers, experts and content creators”

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In 2019, Max Forti launched ScentXplore in New York, connecting perfume professionals and enthusiasts. After two virtual sessions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event returns this December 2 and 3, 2022 in a hybrid format, both in-person and online, with Nez as its new partner. Interview.

How and when did your crush for fragrances began? What about your business activities today?

Scents in general intrigue me for as early as I can remember. I was fascinated by my mother’s Poison by Dior as a kid, and fell in love with the original Dolce & Gabbana pour homme as a young adult. Bottle by bottle, over the last 30 years, I built a very comprehensive collection. Exactly a decade ago I started making YouTube videos so that I could share my knowledge and passion with other fragrance lovers. My entrepreneur spirit eventually crossed over to perfumery. Apart from organizing ScentXplore, I work on projects with multiple brands around the world.

When and why did you create ScentXplore? 

Over the years, I got more and more interested in niche perfumery, where I was able to find novel concepts, diversity, real artistry… I invested a great deal of time researching about it. That included attending specialized events in Europe. Nothing like that existed in the Americas, and bringing the concept to this part of the world was a way to make a real contribution to the fragrance community. My main goal has always been to bring people together, in this case connecting brands and aficionados. The first edition of ScentXplore took place in 2019 at Fashion District in New York City.

Does this event fill a gap in the US perfume market? In which way?

Historically, the perfume industry has been concentrated in Europe, mainly in France, Italy and the United Kingdom. It’s understandable that top-tier niche fragrance events have been restricted to those countries. Over the last years though, with the boom of social networks and platforms, American consumers got to know the fascinating world of niche perfumery better. With ScentXplore they now have the opportunity to meet, explore, discover, share and connect – virtually or in person in New York City – not only with dozens of brands but also industry specialists, perfumers and content creators from all over the world, in one place – literally bridging and filling many gaps accordingly.

What kind of audience do you target with ScentXplore?

We aim at fragrance enthusiasts who are particularly passionate about niche perfumery, a very select and cohesive audience. People who want to have direct access to exclusive brands, try out their new and existing scents, meet with industry experts and perfumers. People who want to have first-hand knowledge of news and trends, learn more about perfumery through our panels, workshops and masterclasses, connect with other members of the fragrance community around the world. This year, we expect to receive over 2,000 plus visitors, from over many different countries. For instance last year we had 77 different countries connected and enjoying ScentXplore simultaneously! 

Could you tell us what will be the main highlights of this year’s issue?

Due to Covid-19, the second and third editions of ScentXplore were virtual. This year, for the fourth edition, we will work with a hybrid format. The event has been structured in a way that everyone, whether in-person or online, is able to experience the full program. As such, ScentXplore is the first and only hybrid international niche perfume convention in the world. In addition, the number of participating brands has increased from 28 to 53. Apart from the much-anticipated Michael Edwards’s masterclass, we’ll also have others performed by Amouage and Parfums de Marly, just to name a couple.

You launched ScentXplore during Covid-19, with a 100% digital position. Retrospectively, was it an asset for the event, even for this upcoming edition?

The event industry has suffered a huge impact during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many shows and conventions were either canceled or postponed. We decided to take on the challenge of holding ScentXplore 2020 and 2021 on a virtual platform. The upside was that hundreds of people outside the US could then attend the event from the comfort of their home. As a result, our audience has broadened worldwide. Now, with a hybrid format, we expect to reach an even wider audience and reinforce our main goal, which is to connect brands, consumers, perfumers, experts and content creators. To spread real knowledge in a fun, entertaining and engaging way! 

This year, Nez is a partner. What do you think about the role of olfactory culture? What about the development of this culture in the USA?

I believe this is a great mutually beneficial opportunity for everyone involved. The role Nez éditions play in the landscape of niche perfumery or fragrances in general, really allows people to understand and learn all facets and nuances of the industry, the importance of fragrance, and the olfactory sense has in our lives. As the olfactory culture grows in the US, and especially through the niche perfume segment, I believe that Nez will contribute greatly in regards to assisting the spreading of knowledge and solidifying this culture even wider and stronger in the US market – ScentXplore is proud to have Nez as a partner to allow this to take place in a very inclusive, cordial and structured manner. We look forward to making this memorable event together with all parties involved and couldn’t be more thankful in having Nez as an integral and special partner this year – and for years to come, I hope. 

Main visual: © Max Forti

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