Bond No. 9’s Meatpacking District Shop

I’ve been ambivalent about Bond No. 9, the niche fragrance brand, for a few years now. On the one hand, I love New Haarlem, a rich coffee and amber scent, and my wife wears Chinatown, their woody, fruity floral. But I’ve had very bad service from their Bond Street flagship store on two occasions. So bad that I had no interest in going back. In each case, the sales person was creepy, rude, and dismissive.

Figuring one of their outposts may be different from the flagship, my wife and I stopped into the Bond No. 9 shop in the Meatpacking District. It was very different.

Luis, one of two sales people in the small shop, was the perfect salesman: not pushy, patient, knowledgeable, chatty but not annoying, and charming. He took us through some new fragrances (the light and summery Sag Harbor, $240 for 100ml) and recommended others (like New York Oud, $310 for 100ml, and Andy Warhol Success is a Job in New York, a “warm and spicy gourmand,” $230 for 100ml) based on our favorites from the collection. He showed us Bond’s new lower priced I Love NY collection ($175 for 100ml—this is “lower priced” at Bond). And finally, he loaded us up with samples of everything we smelled.

It was a reminder of how much impact a good—or bad—sales person has on one’s perception of a brand. We consumers can be awfully fickle. Like it or not, the staff at fragrance boutiques and department stores can be seen as personifications of the brands. If they make a connection with us, we’ll find ourselves trying to rationalize bigger purchases. If they offend us, we may be gone for years—as I was with Bond. Luis is a welcome reminder that two bad salesmen are not the brand.

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3 Responses to Bond No. 9’s Meatpacking District Shop

  1. laniersmith says:

    Hey, great post. So glad I found your blog. Yes I am so with you about good professional service. It makes all the difference in the world. I just had a great experience here in San Francisco at the Chanel Boutique. Because of that I will go to them over the department stores every time I need to buy a Chanel perfume.

    • Thanks! I’ve had very good experiences with Chanel, as far as customer service goes. That said, the Chanel counters at department stores these days are often staffed by Chanel employees, not the department stores. I remember when Saks, one of the last holdouts in NYC, finally laid off about 115 people in its cosmetics department to make room for the vendors’ people in 2009.

      It brings to mind a story that showed up when I searched for that Saks cosmetics counter story; it aired on the public radio show Marketplace a little over a year ago: It was about thank you notes from retailers and how far they can go toward customer loyalty and goodwill.

      • laniersmith says:

        Funny you should mention thank you notes. I sent a thank you note to the lady who helped me at my Chanel Boutique. I was just so impressed. Thanks fot the Marketplace link I will check that out.

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