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.

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