Thursday, December 16, 2021

Extracting yourself from a messed up perfume project

Turning a failure into at least a small success

Last October (2021) I was sampling one of my own fragrances that I had almost forgotten.

It had not been a success. The fragrance wasn't great. Now when I sampled it I felt something was missing. I was in Canada at the time and I resolved to "fix" this fragrance when I got home to Walden in November.

Now for several weeks I've been working to "fix" that fragrance (Rough Day) but, although I've assembled a collection of aroma materials that I thought could correct its shortcomings, I'm feeling frustrated at my progress and I'm not sure I'm taking the right approach. Should I just set it aside and go on to something else? I'm almost at that point.

Perhaps I took a double wrong approach. On the one hand I wanted to tweak Rough Day as it already existed. On the other hand I wanted to redevelop Rough Day, keeping some of the original theme but enhancing it. Working mostly on the second approach, the real problem hit me like a rock. Rough Day had no personality. It was what I thought it should be "intellectually" but lacked any note, theme, or riff that could grab me, or anyone else. Zero personality.

This is something that can happen in any of the arts. You develop a creative project thinking the world will be at your feet only to find nobody has much interest in what you've done. In time you realize that YOU have no interest in what you've done either. Yet you keep examining it, sampling it, hoping that by some magic it will come to life, but it doesn't.

I'm giving the "Rough Day Project" a few more days, to see if I can create some gem of personality for it, a memorable note, a new heart, a new core from which I can then rebuild Rough Day, hopefully into something worth marketing.

Last night sniffing a sample I detected a faint smell of something that, if blown up, could be interesting. Now I want to see if I can do something with it. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Perfume Making -- the vital step people ignore

(Which is why their perfumes tend to fail)

Are you preparing to develop a new perfume? How do you plan to get started? If you were Coty or Chanel or Elizabeth Arden your first step would be to define, with words, the perfume you wanted developed for you. Your words, which could run dozens of pages, would be called a "perfume brief." But you're not Coty, you're not Chanel, you're not Elizabeth Arden , so how do YOU get started? If you want to develop a perfume to make sales, you start by creating your own perfume brief, before you start smelling anything; before you start mixing anything.

This first step stumps many because they haven't defined what their perfume should be. More important, they haven't thought clearly about who they expect to buy this perfume. To write a perfume brief you need a well defined target market. The fastest way to begin your brief is to select ONE PERSON who will act as the center of your target market. Then it all becomes easy.

Now you just write up everything you know about this ONE PERSON. What are their likes? Their dislikes? Where to they shop? How much will they pay for a bottle of perfume? How would they like it packaged? You want your perfume to be pleasing to this ONE PERSON.

Spend a few days – or weeks – writing down everything you know about this person. The work you do now, which you may think is silly, will make your life a whole lot easier once you start to select materials for your perfume.

Now find a name.

You want a name that will appeal to your ONE PERSON, that will entice him or her to want to try your (their!) perfume. All the rules of naming apply of course but, although some of your ideas might have to be rejected due to conflicts with existing names, keep trying until you have a name that "fits" your target and is available for use, i.e., not in use by anyone else.

If you really "know" the ONE PERSON you are targeting, a name will not be that hard to select. Think of all the nicknames that ONE PERSON has been given, nicknames that are unique to that ONE PERSON. This can be a good starting point.

Where will you go from there? My suggestion is to watch this video. I've watched it three times in recent weeks -- and I've sat though the same lecture "live" another three times -- but it takes time for the lessons to sink in.

Pinning down exactly what you want your perfume to be is the hardest part of the creative process. It is easier just to sniff a bit and experiment a bit, which can be useful, but if your object is to develop a perfume that people will buy, don't skip over this first step of closely defining your target ONE PERSON and they tastes. Think in your head that all of this fuss of making a perfume is about selling ONE BOTTLE to this ONE PERSON you have targeted. From this, everything else will follow.