Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How to succeed in marketing your own perfume

I once knew a not very good artist who, to my amazement, sent me an invitation to a show he was having at a prestige gallery. I went, out of curiosity, (the paintings were junk) and observed him making sales!

We can argue over tastes in art but the fact was he was a far better salesman than he was an artist. And this should give us all hope.

Creating a successful perfume is not easy. Just ask anyone at Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Inter Perfumes, IFF, Givaudan, Firmenich, or whoever. For every fragrance that "makes it" in the market place, an uncounted number die -- because they weren't "the right" fragrance at the right time and place, and because they were not SOLD successfully.

Yes, you can make profitable sales with a less than brilliant fragrance. If you couldn't, the perfume industry would be quite different than it is today.

Marketing people often don't have much choice about what they are called upon to sell. In advertising circles, the mantra is, "there are no dull products, only dull copywriters/artists/art directors."

The simple fact of business life is that you have to work with what you have ... sell what is in front of you ... generate a profit for your company from a product that might not be as great as what your competition is selling.

If you don't, your company will be out of business, your employees will be out on the street, and your spouse and children might start to wonder about you and your business sense.

Yes, you have to learn to sell what you have, to be enthusiastic about it, to find its good points, to find customers who can appreciate it, and convince them to pay you, not a "fair" price, but a price that allows your company (especially if it is a 1-person company!) to flourish.


But while you are selling the perfume that you HAVE, the perfume that you have made already, it is essential that you keep working on your NEXT perfume, using the feedback (or lack if it!) gained from your current fragrance, working toward new fragrances rather than sitting idle.

I was recently reminded that, when Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel first tried to make a comeback in fashion, at the age of 70 after being out of the business for 16 years, her collection was a disaster. But when her financial backer tracked her down, she was already working on her NEXT collection. Which proved a huge success.

Life does not revolve around a single fragrance. As a perfume creator, you have the opportunity to create many scents. You don't know which of them might be your big breakthrough. But if you keep selling hard with what you've got, and keep developing new fragrances, there's a good chance that you will, in time, find yourself with a very good business.

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