Sunday, August 26, 2007

A wide open opportunity to sell your own perfume -- if you can make it sell

Yesterday I was talking to a woman in a small clothing boutique. I had taken her for a sales clerk -- which she was -- but, when she started talking, she revealed that she was much more.

This lady had attended a rural college for fashion marketing and was now employed in a rural fashion boutique in a college town -- a town in which she had grown up. She had no interest in working or living in a big city.

In addition to her duty as a sales clerk, she also was responsible for purchasing and displaying the merchandise -- women's garments, for the most part. This boutique happens to be a magnet for women (such as my wife) who are looking for clothes that are a bit more fashionable and unique than those found in the mall stores. I suspect that they have a strong turnover as they have survived for a number of years in a tough market and have a constant flow of potential customers ... with money.

Now in this boutique, soaps and a few decorative items were on display, but no perfume. Could they sell perfume? Would they sell perfume? I don't know. (And I was caught without samples, having just returned from vacation.) But I do know that it would be easy and comfortable to talk to this woman about the possibility of their carrying a perfume -- yours or mine. So here is an opportunity.

But wait. There is more. It won't do you any good to have a store display your perfume unless that display can make sales. Making a display that will sell your perfume is still up to you.

This, unhappily, is the biggest challenge that confronts the independent perfume maker. Any store will be happy to display your perfume if it is making money for them.

In my mind, to make your display successful, it must have some kind of a hook ... a device that compels the consumer to purchase a bottle of your fragrance. A "hook" is more than just a nice looking display. A hook is something that gets into people, draws them to the product, makes the product fascinating to them and tips the scales in favor of their spending money they hadn't intended to spend ... because your perfume, as it was displayed, offered them a gratification that went beyond the aroma itself.

How do you do it? Perhaps you don't. Perhaps you enlist the assistance of somebody who is very clever at developing sales gimmicks. And, of course, you or this sales promotion guru must be able to relate to people like the woman who is working in this boutique, and to draw her into your plans, and get her feedback as to what her customers want and what they will not go for. The intelligent retailer must be your partner too!

But if you can put this all together, it is an opportunity for you.

By the way, did I mention that the woman in the boutique hopes to own her own boutique some day and has taken this job, in part, to gain essential experience?

I think I will go back and talk to her some more. This time, about perfume!