Monday, November 20, 2017

Packaging your perfume when you have no money -- ebook

    I've already written a bit about packaging your perfume when you have no money for packaging. I've put some of what I've already written into a small ebook that I'm selling at my website. I've added a few details that weren't in the original article along with some real world examples -- with photos -- of what I've seen done.

    The purpose of all this is to help someone -- perhaps yourself -- turn a hobby interest into a professional and commercial product. Packaging is one important step along the way.

    We are exposed to hundreds of smells daily. Walk by a perfume counter and you may be exposed to half a dozen or more fragrances. Likewise in certain public places you'll smell perfume in the air although you may not be able to determine who is wearing it.

    But do any of these smells make an emotional connection with you? When you smell a perfume you like in the air, will you go from person to person asking, "Are you the one whose perfume I'm smelling?" ... "I like it and want to know what it's called."

    It is far more likely that any emotional connection you make with a perfume will come from an emotional connection you have with the source of the fragrance -- the personality or company in whose name it is being marketed. The secondary likely factor in making that emotional connection is the "look" of the fragrance -- how it is presented in its packaging.

    You with your new perfume may not yet have a personality or brand with emotional pull so you'll need to focus on your packaging.

    If you've raised the funds to produce 10,000 bottles of your new perfume, you have, no doubt, budgeted some of your money for a box and nice graphics so that your fragrance will have a good professional, commercial look.

    If you're producing only 25, 50, or maybe 100 bottles of your new perfume, it's unlikely that you'll have money to spend for a custom-fitted, professional looking box.

    If you want to dress up your fragrance to give it a bit of push when you put it up for sale, you'll have to find another way to dress it up and that is what this small ebook is about. It's called "Packaging your perfume when you're selling to stores and you have no money for packaging" and this is a shameless pitch. But I would welcome your feedback on what information would be helpful to you when you're trying to launch your business by launching a new perfume.


-- Phil


Friday, October 13, 2017

Packaging tips for small time perfume creators with no money

    The packaging you give your perfume is important but packaging can be expensive. It can be particularly expensive if you are producing a perfume you want to market but only dare (or can afford!) to produce a handful of bottles -- a short run... or even a very short run.

    The glorious packaging you see on display at perfume counters was expensive to develop and, in most cases, expensive to produce. It is affordable only because the global companies behind these fragrances can spread their costs over hundreds of thousands of bottles and because they know that what they spend on packaging will be returned to them through greater sales.

    If your production runs are more in the range of 500 to 1,000 bottles or even less, the cost of fancy or even just typically beautiful packaging will crush you. At most you might afford a simple, printed, custom die-cut box. Then, to be effective, the artwork -- the graphics -- for this box must be excellent; well designed, well executed, well suited for your potential market. The problem will still be that if your need is for only 500 to 1,000 or even fewer boxes, your unit cost -- your cost per individual box -- will be high, perhaps even higher than the cost of your bottle or your perfume itself.

    I know of no single alternative to get around this seeming obstacle. The first step however is to recognize that you cannot match the packaging you see on global brands. And, if you try to mimic them with your pathetically anemic budget, your results are likely to be ugly.

    Some "small timer" perfumers do solve the packaging problem effectively. Their solutions are innovative, original, and cheap. They find ways to bring touches of class to their perfumes by demonstrating their artistic sense and sensitivity goes far beyond the creation of the fragrance itself.
    While I cannot suggest what might work for you, I can suggest a method for finding effective solutions. The method has four points
    1. Know what packaging products and supplies are available to you. Knowing what products are available to you -- and there are many that you can afford -- will give you ideas. Pour through craft supply catalogs (here's a list of some!) for ideas that can help you decorate your bottles or bag them artfully with stock packaging.

    2. Know what others with little or no money are doing and have done. Search online for small perfume creators and study how they package their fragrances. Go to craft fairs. Go to trade shows. Spend time in boutiques looking at everything. Ideas can jump out at you when you least expect it.

    3. Know your limitations. Don't overstep and make a mess of your perfume. Avoid at all costs making a sloppy presentation. Avoid trying to get too fancy when you don't have the artistic skill to carry it off. If you don't have the decorator's touch, perhaps you can find a friend who does and who is willing to work with you.

    4. Read trade and other publications (here's a list), both online and in print. Trade magazines show you what the leaders in the field are doing. While you might not be able (for a long time!) to afford what they are doing, you can pick up a sense of style and even get usable inspiration.

    Overall, when you don't have money you can still win excellent sales if you have taste, creativity, and the ability to discover and use resources and materials others haven't yet exploited -- because they haven't yet seen your perfume presentation solution!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Why making perfume without a formula could cost you thousands

    When I messed up a small production job -- because I was making a video at the same time I was producing it -- it drove home to me the importance of a formula and the need to adhere to it strictly when you're producing your perfume, whether the batch is small or large.
    Without a formula you can't repeat what you've done. Without a formula you can't match the original scent you created.
    Writing out a proper formula when creating a fragrance distinguishes the professional from the hobbiest. The hobbiest mixes a little this with a little that and calls it a perfume. Nice. But if it's good, that "good" perfume is limited in quantity to the original batch that was made (usually quite small!) because the hobbiest doesn't keep a record of what he or she has done. So more of the same cannot be produced.
    The professional keeps a record of every trial, every test, ever small adjustment. Maybe one out of twenty or even one out of one hundred of these records will survive and become a "go to market" perfume. For the hobbiest this record keeping seems too tedious. For the professional, record keeping is just a natural part of the work flow.
    Why should record keeping -- writing out an accurate formula of every variation of every fragrance you work on -- be such a burden? One issue that may never have occurred to you is equipment -- having enough mixing pots and whatever to dedicate a clean container for each new attempt to develop or modify a perfume. Each time you start an even slightly different variant of the perfume you're working on you need to start with a new, clean, mixing container.
    When you start work on a new fragrance you may have to equip yourself with dozens of small mixing pots.
    A second impediment for the hobbiest is an inadequate supply of the aroma materials being used. Say you are mixing a perfume and you've gotten to the point where your formula calls for twenty drops (from a dropper bottle) of a rose scent mixed with two drops of an herbal scent. If you want to try another version with three drops of the herbal, or four, or five, each time you make up a new trial you're using twenty drops of the rose scent.
    To test the effect of a small change in the herbal, you could be using quite a lot of the rose and, frustrating to the hobbiest, you already know (or think you know!) how much of the rose you need.
    So the hobbiest just adds a bit more herbal to the rose in the original measuring cup. It may make the fragrance better, it may make it worse, but now there is no way of comparing the two concepts because all has been entrusted to a single pot.
    The starting point for the hobbiest who wants to turn his or her creations into marketable products is the discipline of keeping precise notes, precise formulas of every step in the development, ever change of ingredients, however small. In a sense, the formula is the final goal for the professional perfume creator.
     A few more notes on this can be found here.
    The illustrative video of "the right way" is found here ... and the "wrong" way here.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Perfume Production Up Close (Video)

Last week I posted a video on YouTube showing the production of 900 ml of a new fragrance. The video shows both the production of the oil -- 135 ml, from a formula which is shown -- and then the mixing of the oil, water, and alcohol.

The video is posted here.

The "footnotes" to the video are posted here.

And -- for your amusement only -- a "fail" in producing the video is posted here.

Or just view it here:

Thanks for your interest.

-- Phil

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Perfume Production: weight vs volume

    I posted a second YouTube video, this one showing how I converted a "drops to grams to percents" formula to a volume (milliliters) measurement to allow me to produce my fragrance by liters or gallons (or milliliters or fluid ounces).

    The point is, it is easier to develop a formula by the weights of the aroma materials you are using. But when you want to produce a few liters or gallons, it is easier to measure your alcohol and water by volume. But what about your fragrance oil?

    By knowing the weight of a liter (or milliliter, or fluid ounce, or gallon) of your oil, you can calculate the weight you'll need to produce to fill a certain volume.

    I've discussed this on my PerfumeProjects website but the video tells all:

    Thanks for your interest.

-- Phil

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Perfume Production -- drops to grams

    When I develop a new fragrance, I work with dropper bottles. Because of this, my initial formula is written out in drops.

    To scale up the formula for production, I convert drops to grams and then convert then to percents. Once I have calculated the percentage, by weight, that each material contributes to the formula, I can scale up to any size batch I want.

    I've posted an article describing the "drops to grams to percents" conversion here, at my website.

    I've also posted a short video on YouTube showing how to set up an electronic balance to do the measuring.

    Thanks for your interest!

    -- Phil

Friday, April 21, 2017

Cleaning up a sour note

    I was almost finished with the new fragrance. I had my formula worked out, ready to go into some final testing.  But there was a problem. For one split second -- for less than a split second -- when I dipped a test blotter and smelled it, there was a momentary disconnect, a non-harmonious moment, before the fragrance settled down ("evolved") into what I intended it to be.

    This non-harmonious moment was very short. Perhaps a split second. But it was jarring to my nose and put me on notice that something wasn't right. Should I ignore it (since it smoothed out so quickly!) or should I obsess with trying to discover what was causing that little problem and, hopefully, fix it?

    If a perfumer tried to hand a perfume with this "problem" to Estee Lauder or Coty, he or she would be fired. Professional, full time perfumers know how to fix these issues before anyone calls the problem to their attention. I'm not that good. Still, I wanted very badly to fix this problem. Everything else about the fragrance had come together very nicely.

    For me, correcting this problem, which just barely needed correction, meant trying to find exactly what was causing the problem and then making a small change that would leave everything else alone.

    In this case I'm happy to say that I overcame that bad spot, that single sour note that was bothering me more than it might have bothered a person wearing this fragrance. It was an issue of balance. Too much of something (two somethings in this case) that had to be toned down to blend more perfectly with all the "something elses." While I may continue with a few small trials that will help me better understand what role each ingredient is playing in the formula, as for the "commercial" version, it's done.

    So what comes next? The answer: some mathematics. I have to decided how much I want to produce -- perhaps no more than 12 bottles -- and then how much of each ingredient I'll need for that production.

    Working backwards now, if I'm bottling just 12 bottles which each will take one ounce of fragrance (I already have bottles on hand), that's just 12 ounces of finished fragrance I'll need; the fragrance mixed with alcohol which, itself will be mixed with water.

    Twelve ounces of finished fragrance is a pretty small amount so, as a practical matter, I'll make up a somewhat larger batch of the fragrance oil. That amount will still be small. But I want to go through the step that will allow me, should I decide to do this later, to "scale up" and produce any size batch I want, and even be able to have a professional lab create that larger batch for me, from my formula. Here are the details on how I will do this.