Thursday, June 7, 2018

How well do you know your perfume bottles?

    If you're working with a filling house which will guide you through your choice of bottles, all you're really interested in is the shape -- what it looks like visually -- and the capacity -- how many fluid ounces or milliliters of fragrance it holds.

    If you're bottling your own perfume and are hoping to sell more than a few dozen bottles of your fragrance, selecting a bottle with the right neck becomes important because (a) you will have to fill it and, (b) after you've filled it you'll have to attach a cap or spray pump. If the cap and spray pump are mismatched for the bottle, either you won't be able to attach them at all or, if you are able to force them onto the bottle (which sometimes can be done) there's a good chance your improvisation will cause a difficult to remove cap or a leaking spray.

    The simplest (and cheapest) solution to close your perfume bottle is with a screw-on cap. The cap must be the same "finish" (neck size and thread configuration) as the bottle but there is also an issue with the opening of the neck. Will it be wide open, which would make it "normal," or will the neck be constricted -- a "sprinkler" neck?

    If the neck is wide open, what happens when someone wants to use your perfume? Will they pour it out? (Messy!) But if your bottle has a sprinkler neck, how will you fill it? You'll find it's not so easy.

    These are some of the issues we deal with in How To Create Your Own Fragrance With A 1700 Percent Markup!

    But now suppose you want a spray pump on your bottle. This would be the preferred choice for a woman's fragrance. Again, the "finish" of your pump must match the finish of your bottle. But, with a spray, there's more to it.

    For a screw-on spray pump, all you need do is match the finish of your bottle. But suppose a lower profile bottle catches your eye -- one that has a crimp neck finish. You can't screw a spray pump onto a crimp neck. You need a crimp-on spray ... and a crimp-on spray can only be attached with a crimp machine ... and it's unlikely you have one or are ready to spend the money to buy one (hand operated models start around $2,500 and can be awkward to use).

    But, for your low profile bottle, you could find one that takes a snap-on spray. These are not so easy to find in the United States but they can be attached to a bottle by hand -- sort of. There's a great video on YouTube of a woman attaching a snap-on pump to a bottle. She places the neck of a second bottle over the pump to be attached ... then hits the second bottle with a hammer a few times to snap the pump onto the bottle. It seems to work but it makes me a bit nervous and she warns in her video, "Be aware you may encounter a few disasters initially..."

    I am testing snap-on spray pumps, on a very small scale. And yes, I've written about them in Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup! It's not all that hard to put together a good perfume or cologne you can sell. But it does help to have some guidance.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Perfume marketing headache

The problem with throwing all your money into marketing a perfume

    Before my first success with a fragrance I was involved in marketing vitamins. They typically cost us about $1.10 a bottle and sold for $21.95 -- a good markup. Our first successful fragrance cost us less than $1.50 a bottle and sold for $26.95 -- also a nice markup. But there was a difference between the two products that went beyond the markup. The difference was repeat orders.

    A mentor once told me never to launch a product until I had a second product ready. The point is, even when your product, by itself, is a success -- maybe even a large success -- the real payoff is in the next order, the second product or a reorder for the first product. Why? Because there are almost no marketing costs involved in making that second sale.

    The issue is lifetime customer value. Your best -- most valuable -- customers are the ones who buy from you again and again. Without repeat sales it is difficult to sustain any business.

    When I sold vitamins, customers placed reorders monthly, for years. This was a good business. But look at perfume. Think how long a bottle of perfume can last. Think of how, even when someone loves your fragrance, they might reorder one or two times a year -- and that would be a really good customer. Most perfume users can make a single bottle hold out for years. Thus, while your first order may be quite profitable, the followup business -- the repeat orders -- the lifetime customer value -- isn't there. That's why you need that second product.

    Few companies -- perhaps no company -- whether they be marketing giants or indies, try to make their money on perfume alone. There is always something else that the happy customer can buy from them -- room scents, candles, cosmetics, soap -- anything to increase the value of the first sale.

    Today I sell books, books on fragrance development and marketing. The problem is the same. Someone buys a book and that's nice, but it's nicer if that someone buys two books, or three.

    Look what major book publishers do to squeeze money out of a book. First there's the book, then the movie, then the soundtrack and DVD, then maybe some toys. The book is just a starting point for the marketer.

    So, for your perfume or cologne, by all means go forward with it. Keep your costs down and your quality up. Make money. But think about what else your customers might buy from you. Plan your second promotion. Have your second product available when people order your perfume.

    Sound out your market. See what they want and see if you can find ways to give it to them. Then your perfume becomes the bait that pulls customers in -- and those other products make your first sale far more profitable.
Off Topic
    The greatly revised, updated, and improved version of Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup! is now available at a greatly reduced price over what was once charged. If you are producing -- manufacturing -- a perfume either on your own or with professional help, you will find it useful.

Again, thanks for following these messages.

-- Phil