Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Recruiting "helpers" to sell your perfume

'Magic Moment' by Daggett and Ramsdell, Distributed by the Fuller Brush Company

    Making perfume is on thing. Selling it is another. To sell perfume you can either develop your own brand, so that sales bring credit and fame to your company, or you can "partner" (i.e., "make deals") with other companies to have them sell your perfume under their name and brand.

    The idea of building a perfume empire under your own name and brand is a grand one. But the path is a difficult one, strewn with failures. Why? Simply because the marketplace is competitive. Consumers have many choices. And to win their admiration and dollars can be slow, difficult, and expensive. This is why companies explore alternatives.

    I've written elsewhere about my own efforts to find marketing partners and even now, after the first successful partnership, I continue to be open to new and additional arrangements. Why? Because I enjoy making perfume, I've developed a number of formulas which I would like to get out there, to consumers, and I have neither the time, nor the organization, nor the money to risk to make a big push to develop the "Lightyears, Inc." brand.

    Thinking about this issue, the selling of your perfume under another organization's name, I stumbled across a bottle of perfume on eBay that was produced by Daggett and Ramsdell but marketed by the Fuller Brush Company.

    As best I could find out, the fragrance dates from 1951 which was a time when the Fuller Brush Man still sold Fuller brushes door to door.

    Magic Moment -- or any small, inexpensive perfume -- was an enticement to garner the good will of the housewife before launching into the Fuller brush sales pitch.

    Also note that Avon's roots involves a similar practice -- the giving away of a small perfume in order to pave the way for book sales.

    Daggett and Ramsdell, like Fuller, was an old, respected company but, while it had marketed a number of fragrances over the years alongside its cosmetics, the brand never become famous for their fragrances. Thus a marketing partner made good economic sense.


In addition to Magic Moment, Fuller also marketed a line of Daggett and Ramsdell cosmetics, door to door. But by the 1950's, the "Fuller Brush Man" could also have been the "Fuller Brush Woman."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A new fragrance - the marketing begins

    I've written in this blog about "Confusion II," a fragrance I created for a marketing test, but I didn't say much about that that test was.

    I've now shared full details with members of our Perfume Makers & Marketers Club through our February Club Newsletter. Now I can share some of the details with you.

    The plan for the perfume was to market it as a minor scale "celebrity fragrance" but to do this I needed a celebrity who would be interested in making "Confusion II," under their name, "their" own fragrance.

    The fragrance -- all of it for the test -- was ready in January. Finding a "right" celebrity took a bit longer than I had expected but now it has happened. "Confusion II" is no longer and from it, "Children of the Rhythm" has emerged, thanks to The Big Takeover.

    The Big Takeover is a reggae band out of New Paltz, New York. "Children of the Rhythm" is their newly released CD. "Children of the Rhythm" perfume took its name from the name of the CD.

    "Children of the Rhythm" fragrance made its debut last weekend on the band's merchandise table at their show in Hudson, NY. Like the music, the fragrance got good reviews and has now moved on to their online store. Of course you'll also find it on their merchandise table at future gigs.

    If you like music, you can play a few of their songs and watch their video at their ReverbNation page. They are a talented group and very professional.

    Now a few remarks as to WHY I sought out this marketing path rather than something more conventional, like getting the fragrance in a few local gift shops on consignment.

    My first point would be, local gift stores aren't going to do much for you by way of sales. If your relations with local people are good, you might expect to sell a few bottles -- but now enough to make a business. And when you try to expand beyond the local territory where people know you, what happens? -- Nothing!

    But look what happens with a band -- especially one like The Big Takeover that writes their own original songs. As their fame grows, their audience grows. Of course you can't expect the same type of sales that Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift get. But YOUR PERFUME is now being presented to more and more people with the hope and very real possibility that more and more of their fans will give it a try and even talk about it to their friends.

    Marketing perfume successfully is a strategy game. There's more to it than just creating a "good" perfume, whatever that is. Today more than ever there's money to be made with perfume. But for YOU to be the one making money, you must understand the strategy side of marketing. There are no magic templates.

    If marketing perfume is of interest to you, you really should sign up with the Perfumer Makers & Marketers Club to get our monthly newsletter. (It's just $21.95 for the first three months.) Discover what strategy is all about, and what it can do for you.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Seeking the right person makes good sense

    If you've been following my blogs you know I've been working on a scheme to sell my "Confusion II" fragrance. I promised updates and, in time, an exposition of the full business plan for the project.

    At present the project is in a holding pattern while I recruit a person I need who can be a bridge between what I've done (manufacturing and planning) and what I need others to do (retail sales in a very special niche market.)

    In the past I've been fortunate in the people I've been privileged to work with. I want, once again, to find one of those special people -- a person who, with minimal guidance, can make things happen.

    But once again I'm reminded that these people are not so common, even in an environment where a great many people are seeking jobs or money making opportunities.  It has been a while since I've been in the hiring mode but now it's all coming back to me.

    Getting the right person really does matter.

    Fashion advertisers pay big bucks to the "right" fashion models -- because they sell the goods. They help ring up sales many times what they are paid.

    Likewise for athletes. It's not just about being good. It's about being special and bringing in revenue for the team owners -- many times more than what they are paid.

    Getting the right person or people involved in your project can spell the difference between success and failure.  There is a tendency among most of us to be willing to "settle" for the people we can get with little effort -- because they are willing to work cheap (they appear to be cost effective) or because they gave us a snow job on their qualifications (without proof they could really deliver.)

    I've done it myself, hired the wrong person, because it seemed easy and getting the people I really wanted just seemed so hard.

    But now I'm sitting back a bit. Putting the rest of the project on hold while I spend some time and effort recruiting one special person who I really want to work with.

    I'm betting that in spite of what seems like an annoying delay, the results will be worth my patience.

    If you want to follow what I'm doing, try this link.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Finished on time, on plan, on budget

    I've been writing about my "Confusion II" project for what seems like months now. The project involves a small marketing test which I hope will lead to a larger opportunity. I had written that the launch would occur mid-January. The program launched yesterday -- on time, on plan, and on budget.

    After pulling the trigger, so to speak, I noticed that, to date, the program has moved along smoothly with no trauma, no unexpected expenses, and no last minute discovery of an unanticipated blockade.

    I believe this "on time, on plan, on budget" was the result of three factors and I would like to share something about them with you.

    First, the SIZE of my project was strictly controlled. My plan called for the production of a small number of bottles. (This could easily be scaled up in the future.) I made as much use as possible of materials I already had on hand, many left over from other projects. Development time, from conception to finished bottles, took just over two months -- as planned.

    Timing was set to avoid the Christmas holiday shopping season, which now runs from mid-November through the end of Decembe and thus the scheduling of the mid-January launch date. For this fragrance, trying to sell into the holiday season would NOT have been an advantage.

    The quantity of bottles I produced was large enough for me to test my marketing concept -- but no larger. In other words, my test was as small as I could make it but not so small that I wouldn't be able to make projections from the data I captured.

    Next, the project was broken up into a number of very simple steps, as per the original plan. This resulted in checklists for the development of the fragrance, the development of a marketing "event," and the development of the marketing program itself.

    Each step on the checklist was clear and simple -- count the number of caps available, count the number of bottles available, check whether there is enough perfumer's alcohol on hand or whether more will be needed, and so on. When each task is accomplished, it is checked off.

    Finally, each step was given a completion date. For the fragrance compound, a month was allowed for it to age and another month for mixing thoroughly after alcohol was added. Producing a label design took only an hour or so but it too received a deadline.

    If, in setting a completion date for an item, you find yourself unsure how long that particular step will take, it's time to examine that step for the possibility that you might not UNDERSTAND what it requires. Studying that step, you may discover that you can understand it better by breaking it down into several smaller steps. Remember, you're doing all your preliminary planning on paper, which is cheap. Getting stuck in the middle of an ongoing project can cost you money you shouldn't have to spend.

    Setting deadlines forces you to think very carefully about every little detail that your project will require. The more attention you give these details before you get started, the smoother your project will go once you do get started.

    That my "Confusion II" project has gone smoothly I attribute to the planning, the planning that was done before I "went into action."

    Now, having launched, I can start tracking my results.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

A video for your perfume?

A quote from designer Foti Flogeras caught my attention

    I'm up to my eyeballs finalizing a video for a perfume, "Confusion II." I'll offer it for sale in mid-January. The project, since I am new at doing videos, has probably required more time than necessary but it is a learning experience.

    Among the headaches and obstacles were non-functioning video editing software (I won't mention the brand), trying to find replacement software, starting up the learning curve for the new software (I had used an older version of the other program before, without problems), and learning something about audio editing and music producing and discovering that I am not going to be the next Jay-Z. But by keeping it simple it looks like the job will get done on time.

    I mention all this for two reasons. First, there are some myths out there that you can achieve fame and fortune with perfume without investing any money and without doing any work.

    You can produce a small quantity of perfume for perhaps a few hundred dollars -- but you can't develop and successfully sell a perfume without hard work. In fact, the less money you have to spend, the harder you will have to work. I'll write more about that another day.

    But today (and for the last few weeks!) the video has been on my mind. The questions you might ask are, "Why a video for perfume?" and "Won't it cost a lot of money?" Let me start with the first question.

    The December 2013 issue of Beauty Packaging magazine ran a report from Luxe Pack Monaco, a trade show of Luxury packaging for fragrances and cosmetics. The article quoted Foti Flogeras, a European-based fragrance package designer with clients in the Middle East and China. Flogeras told the editors, "You have to win over Chinese consumers with the packaging because often they have no experience with the product -- what's inside."

    Isn't this exactly our situation when we small perfume marketers try to put out a new perfume? We have no history, we don't have millions of followers on Twitter or Facebook, and nobody is ready to rush the retail stores to purchase our perfume the minute it hits the shelves.

    So we must generate buzz. Video is one device that can help do that.

    Notice that we are all carrying video cameras in our pockets. What smartphone can't shoot video? So the first tool is at hand although other cameras may be more appropriate, depending on the "script," but we don't need to do it in Panavision.

    When my first video editing software pooped out on me I was surprised to discover how may affordable options were available -- in the "under $100" price range. (As mentioned above, developing and selling your own perfume does require that you be prepared to spend money!) So now I'm using (learning to use!) one of these and the work is progressing nicely.

    But what about all else? The cost, the music, the special effects, the props and sets? Here's where, if your budget is as limited as mine is, you have to get creative. You can get creative by reaching out and seeing what's going on right in your own neighborhood. Lots of young people are into all this. Or look at YouTube, look at websites featuring video, look at store displays for perfume that attract your attention (if you can find any.)

    Selling an abstract product like perfume requires creative thought and strategizing. And it requires money, some money, but not necessarily a whole lot.

    Start keeping your eyes open for video ideas. And don't forget to pay attention to the commercials on TV.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Creating an event to sell perfume

Shooting the "Confusion II" video

    I'm working on a video for a perfume. Shooting is finished; editing will soon begin. Why? How does it all fit together and how will it (hopefully) help me sell my "Confusion II" perfume?

    I'll describe the strategy in depth here, after it has been executed, regardless of whether or not it is a success. But for now let me make a few comments about what I'm doing and why there will be this (simple) video with its (simple) original music.

    It comes down to this. When a handful of select prospects are offered a chance to become distributors for "Confusion II," I want them to have a vivid image in their minds that connects with the fragrance. The fragrance is called "Confusion II." The artwork is called "Confusion II." The video is "The Confusion II Video." The music is "The Confusion II Theme." So even before my prospect gets a chance to smell this fragrance (and they are going to be asked to stop by my studio personally if they want to smell it and get their free sample), they will (hopefully) have a strong image of "Confusion II" in their minds.

    Think about it. What smells do you remember that are not linked to an experience? Does not the perfumer who remembers and can identify hundreds of smells play memory games, finding memorable mental associations for each?

    I want people -- prospects -- to become comfortable with "Confusion II," to think of it as a strange and perhaps mystical experience, but one that imparts a warm memory.

    So we'll see what happens. But I think this is going to work a whole lot better than just posting an ad with a pretty girl that says, "The new fragrance from ..."

Friday, September 20, 2013

Why writing a business plan can be so hard -- and why it is so important

    There are people who make their living by scouting for talent, writing a business plan, launching a company, scooping up a generous salary, and then maybe selling their interest for a nice profit. What the company does -- or was intended to do -- isn't as important to them as the money they can make ... by writing a good business plan. They know how to do it.

    But most of us don't. That's why it can be so hard to do when we need to do it -- and, if we are trying to build a business, we DO need to do it.

    Ask yourself, "do I know what a business plan is?" and "why do I resist preparing one?"

    The short and simple -- a business plan defines your goal, focuses your efforts, and makes your success many, many, many times more likely.

    With a business plan you don't ramble. You get up in the morning and go to work -- with a purpose.  There's no wondering what you have to do that day. It's all spelled out for your in your business plan.

    The first obstacle in developing a business plan is the need to set a goal. For the professional business plan writer (not you!) the goal will be formulated to please potential investors, thus it will be focused on achieving magnificent profits. But remember, the true goal of the professional business plan writer is to take a quick profit, then cut and run. You may actually want to develop a business that can grow pleasantly and profitably for years, providing you with both economic security and life satisfaction.

    But how do you put this in words? A good starting place is to write down your dream as your goal. After all, this first business plan is for you, not investors. You can adjust it and fine tune it later, when you begin to gather up the other parts of the plan.

    Those "other" parts of your business plan involve the "how" of "how you are going to do it." Again, putting this down on paper isn't so easy but again there is a practical starting point. Try this --

    Write down in simple words what you think you will have to do to reach your still somewhat vague goal. Now start to refine the "how."

    You refine the "how" by asking yourself questions -- and trying to answer them. Then questioning your own answers and finding out what data is missing. It's the missing data that makes the preparation of a (useful!) business plan so difficult for the non-professional. (The pros know how to wing it but this should be avoided, at all costs, by you.)

    As you get into this you begin to find out lots that you didn't know and, at first, you may be convinced that you can never known. But when you break down the big unknowns into their smaller component unknowns you find that yes, there may be ways to discover these facts. Call it detective work, research, or whatever. But the more you can substitute facts -- knowns -- for vagaries the sharper and more useful your business plan becomes.

    How hard should you work at it? How much money of your own are you planning to invest? How much money do you want to make from your investment?

    Preparing a business plan yourself, for your own business, can be hard work. But without a sound business plan you can work very, very hard for a long time while achieving nothing.