Thursday, January 27, 2022

Can you afford to produce the great fragrance you just made?

I was ready to go into production with the "revised" version of Rough Day, the fragrance that had been lacking in personality. Now I had a formula. Now I had a solution. Now I had to order supplies for a production batch or send the formula out to be made for me by someone else. Now I suddenly realized what Rough Day is going to cost to produce.

I have mentioned previously that the "new" Rough Day would make use of Myrrh — lots of it. When I purchased the supply for my tests I bought just enough, because of the cost. From my source, a kilo runs about $3,000. That's enough to give pause.

Now let's look at the problem. I want to produce a batch of the new Rough Day without making any substitutions. Possible solutions? I can plow ahead and invest more money than was my intention. That would be fine if I knew I could sell out at the price I would need to make the deal profitable. Originally I had thought to price the new Rough Day at $45 for a 50 ml bottle, and maybe run a special, limited offer at $35, to get some feedback on the revised formula. But now, confronting the production costs, a bottle will have to sell for from $85 to about $115. This puts it in a whole different market.

Then, as to the bottle. I have a supply of 50 ml sprinkler neck bottles that I favor for men's fragrances. But the new Rough Day could be equally enjoyed by woman as well as men. But at the higher price, and thinking of women, a more elegant bottle is called for. And it should have a spray. That will add even more to the production cost. This now becomes a whole new marketing adventure.

How should I address this new situation? I'll start by scaling back my production goal and make a smaller batch which I'll use for some marketing tests. I may buy some new bottles that will be more elegant than the bottles I have on hand. I'll try some old tricks. Then I'll watch what results come in. If the new Rough Day starts to gain traction, I'll make a larger investment, "take it to the next level." But unless it proves a runaway success (which would be very rare, even for the best of fragrances), I'll take it "up" in measured steps. This is the plan.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

It's not a pyramid. It's not "one of each." You have to know what to leave out.

When you've got it right, stop. Forget what your formula looks like. Your goal is not to match some academic standard of perfumery. Don't try to match your formula against the classic pyramid of top note, middle note, and base. Don't try to include aroma materials from each of these categories in your perfume to make it "right." If you've nailed the scent, that's it. Stop. I'm telling you this out of current personal experience.

If you've been following my messages you'll know that I've been working to reformat a fragrance called Rough Day. It had no personality. I was

determined to give it one, a personality that would harmonize with the vision behind it. Have you ever had a rough day? Would you like to come home at the end of that day and find a scent that commiserates with you? A scent that tells you that, really,l everything is all right? In my case I found the scent I was looking for but it didn't match any template for fragrance design. It was just "right."

Perfume is about the nose, about emotion. The worst sin you can commit with perfume is to overwork it, to go beyond the point where it's giving you all that you wanted but you feel compelled to keep tinkering and tinkering until you've killed its heart and its personality is lost. What could have been great is now nothing. No one will notice it and soon you will not notice it either.

You can get tricked. I almost got tricked. I had something I liked but couldn't believe this was really it. It seemed too simple. It must need more (I foolishly reasoned.) and so I tinkered and tinkered, adding and taking away this and that. But each time I tinkered I lost the heart, the personality, the individuality. Only after several weeks of small trials and adjustments did I come to the conclusion: "leave it alone." Stick with what worked and forget trying to make it more complex because someone made up a rule.

So I've stopped. In a few days I'll go into production and produce a small batch. I'm a little nervous. What will happen when I test it with a little alcohol and perhaps some water? But these will be small tests, to see what combination of fragrance oil, alcohol and water will be, in my eyes, the most pleasing. Likely none of these combinations will be "bad" but hopefully one will stand out as being the best.

One more point that I want to discuss with you: cost. But I'll share that conversation in my next message.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Have you given your perfume the right personality? (for your target audience)

I've been struggling for about a month to reformulate Rough Day, a fragrance of mine that was lacking in personality. I had tried taking it in several directions but each try was a failure. Each new personality I gave it was wrong. I didn't have a clear vision of what I wanted and thus could not fix the problem. I was experiencing a perfumer's version of writer's block. I needed an idea but was coming up with nothing.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas my wife and I were involved in a church study group focused on the birth of Jesus. Whether you're Christian or not you may be familiar with the story of three kings from the East bringing gifts to the baby Jesus: gold, frankincense and myrrh. I had a small bottle of frankincense and a few drops of myrrh on hand so I sniffed them to get in the spirit of the Nativity story. The myrrh caught my attention.

Historically, myrrh has been associated with sadness and preparations for burial. Both the odor and the story seemed to fit Rough Day perfectly. With only two drops on hand, I sent off for a new supply.

Myrrh has a mild but somewhat unusual aroma. Since it's not a strong odorant I'll take care not to smother its aroma with the other materials I'll be using but I'm confident I'm now on the right track. I'll tell you more about this when I'm closer to what I want.

Meanwhile I have another scent adventure to report. My wife and I had driven down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to spend Christmas with the kids and grand kids. To put us up, my 12-year-old granddaughter relinquished her bedroom for the better part of a week. On the drive back to Walden I thought I would thank her by sending her a bottle of perfume. I had some nice bottles with gold trimmed caps and press-on sprays and I thought I'd fill one with one of my own fragrances but put her name on the label, in pink. Besides making the label (I have a supply of sticker paper for this), all I had to do was select a fragrance.

Certain of the fragrances I had on hand were not, in my opinion, age appropriate for a 12-year-old: too pronounced an aroma; too unique. I wanted something with a mild aroma and just a subtle character, something that a young person might enjoy -- or at least not gag at. Manama was too rosy; Summer Air was too clove. Several others were just too bland. It became a runoff between Mimosa and $timeout.

But Mimosa is a strange and exotic scent. Too much for a young person. On the other hand, $timeout looked good... and the more I sampled it, the better it looked for this project. Although not my personal favorite, it is a pretty decent perfume. And it has personality.

This brings me to another point. Not only will a good perfume have personality, it will have a personality that is right for the audience for which it was created. Of all my fragrances, my favorite for personal use is Xotic followed by Blackberry. These are not fragrances most wives would buy for their husbands but my wife finds both quite pleasant on me. Her favorites are Summer Air and Manama, fragrances, perhaps too strong for most American women. For my granddaughter I wanted an easy-to-live-with, non-controversial fragrance she could show off to her friends without embarrassment, whether she decides to use it herself or not.

Perfume should be enjoyed. Selecting the right fragrance for the right person is important. When you have a few scents to select from it's easier. And when none of your scents seem quite right for a particular person, you have a gap in your inventory. This can give you inspiration for new fragrance... to fill that gap.