Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Put your focus on selling the best fragrance you have

In the book I just finished a few long weeks ago -- Making Perfume By The Quart: A do-it-yourself project book -- there's as chapter on selecting the fragrance oil you're going to use for this project. What it comes down to is a choice between using an oil you've made yourself, purchasing your oil ready made from one of the many available sources, or commissioning a fragrance house to create an oil for you, to your specifications. Your choice of which path to take will depend on the purpose for which you are undertaking this project.

If you have been creating your own fragrances and want to see one of them turned into a commercial product, by all means use that oil for the 'quart'. But if your goal is to sell as much of your new fragrance as you can... if you want that quart to be just the first stepping stone toward producing thousands of bottles of your fragrance, then you should strive to find the best fragrance you can get your hands on, regardless of who made it.

For ten years or more I've been working on a small scale with fragrances I've created myself. Before that I had larger success with fragrances I purchased from others, fragrances that were created by skilled industry professionals. Of my own creations there are only two I would judge outstanding. Both are for men and I use them daily. They are not, I can point out, everyone's taste. But they are good. But, while really good in quality, they are not every man's taste. Taste and quality are different animals.

A few other of my originals I would judge "pretty good." At least the scents are interesting. My wife will use them from time to time and I think she holds back a little for fear of running out. Others of my creations are junk. You could use them. They don't smell bad. But I know perfectly well they weren't well crafted.

If you're going to put money into a marketing a fragrance, you want that fragrance to be the best you can come up with.

So whether you're making a quart of perfume or ten gallons, if you plan to put money into marketing it your first and most important step is to find a fragrance -- an oil -- a composition -- a formula -- that is the best, most likely to sell, fragrance you can find. If you make your own fragrances but know, that while you like them and are proud of them, they aren't as good as what you could buy elsewhere, buy the one you know is better, even if it bruises your pride and vanity -- if you're doing this to make money.

Let me give you a personal example. I have a fragrance called Moonfaire. I can't recall how long ago I made it but, when I arrived at our vacation home in Canada last week, I found a bottle on my desk. So I tried it to see how I liked it. I wasn't impressed. It seemed to heavy. So I thinned it down with alcohol to make it more of an eau de cologne. Perhaps this helped a little. Perhaps in time I could like it. But I couldn't take pride in it. I liked the name but the fragrance had never really come together. It was something of an embarrassment.

Before you set out to develop a fragrance to sell, you've got to get familiar with what people are buying. Haunt fragrance counters. Sample every scent you can. Find out which are the best sellers and get a few whiffs of them. How do they smell? This is the smell of success. If sales are what you are looking for, find a scent that will be acceptable in a market where money is being made.

Hold up a bit.

Not everyone wants to be a copycat. In the distant past I worked with people who make very good money by being quick to invest large amounts of money in a products that simply copied the latest hot product. These people couldn't do something original to save themselves but they were very good at spotting hot products they could copy. They were acquired by a publicly traded company.

For me, the real excitement comes when an odd-ball product, a fragrance for example, emerges as a big winner and yet is truly original. These breakthrough products are rare and investing in them is risky. But you may have one. How can you tell? When you've sampled everything else and, although your fragrance is different -- not at all like the current big winners -- and yet you are certain it is quality, you may have something worth putting your money into. How do you go about it? Try making a quart or two and shopping it around to see if anyone stands up and salutes. But remember, start with a quart. Test with pennies. Hang on to your dollars. You'll need them for production and promotion should that quart turn out to be a big winner.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Technology for small scale perfume production

I've just published a book called Making Perfume By The Quart: A do-it-yourself project book. It's now available on Amazon. It has occupied most of my time during the months of July and August. The point of this book is simple. If you want to make your own perfume, your own brand with your own chosen name on the bottle -- on any scale -- getting started by making just one quart teaches you almost all of what you need to know to make 10,000 bottles or more. The advantages of getting started by making just one quart rather than 10,000 bottles are that (1) you can do it for pocket change and (2) you don't have to submit your idea to a committee or investors and, if you mess up, no one has to know. To me this makes a lot of sense and, along the way, I've met more than one person who should have tried doing a quart before jumping in with both feet and ending up with Christmas presents for the next few centuries. Disclaimer here: the first time I got involved with perfume we gave away a lot of unsold perfume at Christmas... and every other holiday for a number of years! The wonderful thing about writing a book is that you learn a lot along the way. You think you know something -- and you did, ten years ago -- but now there are changes. The most dramatic change has been the access to everything you need, in the U.S., through the internet. (Elsewhere there can be issues with alcohol and labeling.) One of the coming changes is in spray pump technology. In the book I tell readers they can only use screw-on pumps with matching threaded neck bottles -- and this is still about 98 percent true. But last week I capped a perfume bottles with a snap-on spray pump using a capper tool I got through an English source, Plush Folly. It worked very nicely and gave the bottle a much lower profile than it would have had with either a screw-on or a crimp-on pump. Bottles for snap-on pumps are easily available in the U.S. because they are the same bottles that take crimp-on pumps and crimp-on pumps are still the industry standard. But, in the U.S., snap-on pumps are hard to find. I can't name a single source. However, I have discovered several Chinese sources that will take small orders. Shipping time and cost from Chinese vendors has become quite reasonable so for me, snap-on pumps are the way forward. One more issue on my mind today -- continuity. Using the new capper tool I bottled the last of a fragrance which both my wife and I like. I want to produce more and have the formula along with the sources for each required material. But some of the natural materials were from a company no longer in business. That's a problem. No doubt I can find replacements for the resins but for certain I'll have to do some testing and adjusting. When it comes to natural materials, what you buy from one source can have very different characteristics than that what you might buy from another, even though both sell it under the same name. For perfumers the source of any natural material is very important for the effect of say oil from roses grown on one side of a hill might be quite different than the effect of oil from roses grown on the other side of the hill. Soil, water, sunshine, temperature, altitude all make for differences. This is something to ab aware of when developing your own fragrances. On the other hand, synthetic materials of the same CAS (chemical abstracts service) number should be identical and interchangeable, regardless of source. So these are my thoughts that I wanted to share with you today. Thank you for your patience! -- Phil