Mr. Sudhir Gupta became a connoisseur by chance. He came across his passion by accident, but just then realised it to be a reason enough to drive him throughout his life. One of the rare few who get the chance to turn their passion into their vocation, Mr Gupta today has successful businesses that are out-of-the-box and still tied to bottles — from niche, discontinued fragrances to outstanding factices. Today, he has the biggest collection of factices in the world. His passion has not only driven him to make a world record, but also helped him accomplish his ventures, right from the fragrance house to the new store and museum. Committed to the preservation of these bottles, the entrepreneur aims to expand his projects to support his unique collection of factices.
Eau De Luxe initially explored the most exclusive boutique perfumeries producing some of the world’s most captivating scents. It was everything about niche and discontinued fragrances, but later diversified to skincare and cosmetics. Today, the online retail platform is devoted to selling luxury perfumes and skincare products for better value. Eaudeluxe.com comes with a great look focusing on simplicity, better navigation, and promotions on a daily basis and on special occasions.
Mr. Sudhir Gupta also runs a retail perfume store, Maison G, and a factice museum, Facticerie: The Factice Collection, which opened in Hackensack, New Jersey, in October. The avid collector of oversized, custom-crafted glass bottles manufactured by fragrance houses for purely marketing and display purposes believes that each of these bottles is an eternal expression of a lost art as unique as its fragrance. While pursuing these bottles, he also realised that as the retail fragrance industry was growing, these amazing replicas of iconic fragrance bottles were becoming rare artifacts, as perfume makers were no longer producing these labour of love. The realization set him on the path of preserving these bottles for the future generation of admirers. He made contact with antique dealers and auction houses all over the world to collect these glass bottles. Today, he has been successful in conserving more than 3,000 factices.
A COLLECTOR ALWAYS
Mr. Gupta moved to the United States from India in 1992. He only had an engineering degree and plans to work tirelessly in the US to earn money and study for a master’s degree. His goal was to build a future his humble background in India could not provide. To sustain himself in New York, he took up a low-paying, entry-level cleaning job in a perfume shop on Canal Street. As luck would have it, he came across a factice in the basement of the store. It was an oversized Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps perfume glass display bottle with ornately entwined frosted doves on top. The extraordinary bottle was one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen. The enchanted man was obsessed with possessing it and started saving money from his meek weekly paycheck of $200. He was finally able to pay the shop owner $2,000 to buy his first factice perfume bottle.
But then, the collector did not stop at just one bottle. The fascination of owning factices soon grew over him and he now needed a way to fund his passion. He moved on from the thought of accomplishing a master’s degree to buying and selling extraordinary, niche perfume brands from home, and used the profit to collect more factices.
BIGGEST LESSON OF LIFE
In 2008, Mr. Sudhir Gupta opened his first business, a retail store in Westchester, New York. The time of the Great Recession proved to be a bad time to launch any business. The shop had to close down, as Mr. Gupta could not pay his loans. But, he also refused to sell his factice collection to come out of debt, and instead decided to give the business another try. He took more loans and ventured into the wholesale perfume business.
Mr. Gupta worked relentlessly for his new business, giving 80 to 120 hours a week. He was the only employee of his company, and so, bought the products, took their pictures, and catalogued them for sale. In due course, the sales of perfumes to wholesalers on online platforms reached $1 million, and he could finally hire more people and give power to his venture. He also made a name for himself through his niche business, as resellers and customers admired his venture and difficult-to-find fragrances. Eau De Luxe took off with word of mouth and soon became the company recognised as one of the most successful companies in America by Inc. 500 five times in a row, from 2014 to 2018. This year, Eau De Luxe was recognised in the Inc. 500 Honor list.
Looking back on his journey, the leader has one piece of advice for the young entrepreneurs – to follow their passion. “Only passion can keep you going. Follow your dreams, do not look for results. You have to keep failing to rise again,” he says.
THE WORLD TITLE HOLDER
Mr. Gupta’s first collectible, the Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps factice has led to an exquisite collection of factices. The collection includes more than 1,400 rare and historic factice fragrance bottles valued up to $1,00,000 from world-renowned fragrance houses such as Hermès, Nina Ricci, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Gucci and others. The collection features a 1920s Caron urn, “Les Fontaines Baccarat,” from the estate of Madame Alexander, created by Baccarat, and estimated to be worth $1,00,000. The treasure also includes a PARERA Tentacion factice from 1927. One of only two in the world, the other is on display at the Museu del Perfum in Barcelona. The oldest factice in the collection is a unique 1920s bottle for Gardenia by “the first American perfumer,” Richard Hudnut.
In September 2022, his rich collection of factices helped Mr. Gupta enter the Guinness World Records title for the largest collection of factices in the world. The honour was celebrated with a reception thrown at Bergdorf Goodman’s BG Restaurant, with guests such as Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu and official Guinness World Records adjudicator Michael Empric present. The restaurant was ornately decorated by Mercedes Acosta, the creative director of Facticerie: The Factice Collection. More such occasions are expected, as Mr. Gupta vows to strengthen his collection further. He believes that these bottles made throughout the 21st century by artisans of fragrance houses mostly based in France are part of our heritage. The collector and curator initially kept his exquisite collection private and safe at home, warehouses and other storage spaces.
This, however, changed in October, when the entrepreneur launched the perfume store Maison G and factice museum, Facticerie: The Factice Collection, in Hackensack, New Jersey. The objective of the exhibition space is to create awe for factices and drive sales at the store. It has been aesthetically designed for the tasteful collection using bits and pieces from the interior of the iconic Upper East Side pharmacy, Lascoff Drugs that closed in 2012 after 113 years in operation.
The pharmacy store was frequented by dignitaries like Albert Einstein. Mr. Gupta was able to retain all the wooden fixtures and cabinets of the store to maintain its old-time appeal and showcase his collection of bottles appropriately. Every time any admirer visits the store, the proud collector picks each of his acclaimed bottles affectionately and shares the story of its origin and journey to the collection.
NEW AVENUES OF BUSINESS
After launching a fragrance house, store and museum, Mr Sudhir Gupta now plans to re-launch his fragrance line, Ode Paris Love Potion. This range was launched in 2019 when he signed an exclusive one-year contract with Lord & Taylor — America’s first department store that is making a comeback as a modern-day digital collective store. However, the American retailer went out of business during the pandemic.
For the existing business, he plans to widen his marketing approach. Unlike his previous approach of marketing by word-of-mouth, he is keen to add social media marketing to attract Generation Z for promoting both his brands, Maison G and Ode Paris.
While the entrepreneur goes on an expansion spree, he has not shifted his focus from his passion of life. He still gets calls from antique houses and individuals in possession of factices world over to contribute to his collection. After giving 30 years of relentless service to these bottles, the man only has words of gratitude to everyone who was part of his amazing journey.