Friday, September 17, 2010

Overcoming Disappointment

Over the summer I worked on a theme for a men's fragrance. By the end of August I had three samples, all started with the same idea and then varied by the way each was developed.

The purpose of this exercise was to create a new fragrance that would be a delight to WOMEN who would either buy it for their man or prompt their man to buy for himself. This meant that my new fragrance would not be a Toxic or even a Blackberry – two fragrances I personally like very much but get mixed reviews (not all negative!) from women.

Just this once I was setting out to develop a fragrance that was not my style -- my “signature” if you would have it -- but something with “others” in mind.

The “test market” was to be my stepson and his wife – both in their 20's and both with an interest in fragrance. (She buys him pheromone powered body wash!)

Had I not made this promise to myself, to give Mike my three samples, I would have washed all three down the drain. Personally, to me, they were all “wrong” – so wrong that I wouldn't have wanted to take credit for their creation. Nevertheless I went ahead with my test.

On the day I gave Mike these three fragrances he was hanging out with a friend who he promised would also be given a chance to sample my creations. More embarrassment. Then, of course, there was my daughter-in-law who has a critical nose for scent.

The next time we all met, the report was a surprise. He LIKED one of the three. SHE liked it too. And my wife liked it. After a bit of discussion they convinced me that they weren't bluffing. They really did like it.

So how do I proceed? Sure, I'm happy that several people like this new fragrance. But, for all their compliments, I sensed they weren't raving about it. To them it was just another pretty fragrance. Should I consider that to be “good enough?”

In my summer reading I came across the statement by a writer I admire – “Genius is the art of taking pains.” So I'm not ready to release this summer project as it is. I want to perfect it. Make it better. Make it elicit a stronger positive reaction from both women and men.

It's frustrating to have gone through about 50 or more trials and still not have a product I can offer for sale. But I don't have a fancy store or website or name. I don't have a fancy box or bottle. But I can strive to do my best in developing each new fragrance. I want to take pains to “get it right.” All the way.