Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Finding Your Own Niche (It's going to be small!)

    If I had the key to helping perfume makers get their perfumes into Macy's and Walmart, I could make a lot of money very quickly. What I try to get people to understand is that the "problem" is not that Macy's or Walmart doesn't want your perfume. The problem is that Macy's and Walmart know that in their stores, your perfumes will not make sales. Even if a few bottles were sold (which might be exciting for you!) the loss the stores would take by giving you valuable retail space, that could be making money for them with someone else's product, would simply make no sense to them.

    Add to that your cost of preparing your product for sale to one of the large retailers. Have you looked into their "Vendor Requirements" which can be found at their websites. Most large retailers publish their requirements for vendors and if you're just making perfume without some serious money, serious promotion, and serious business management behind you, you simply won't qualify to be accepted as a vendor by a large retailer. It's nothing personal. It's just business.

    So that do you do to make money with your perfume?

Think business!

    Your artistic side goes into creating your fragrance. Then your business side has to take over to develop a way to sell it.

    Business means profit and loss. When you spend more than you take in, you've got a loss. If you were trying to prepare your perfume for sale at Macy's and you didn't have a following like Justin Bieber, you would take a loss -- a big one.

    But, using your business head, think out ways you could sell your perfume that can be worked within your realistic resources.

    Look at a simple element -- a UPC (universal product code). Most larger retailers and many mid-size ones will expect you to have a UPC on your box. Box? Think about it. If your operation is really small, just producing a box can be a big investment. Then the UPC. To get that you have to spend money. And remember, each individual product you sell -- say three fragrances -- has to have its own UPC. The cost begins to add up.

    But there are ways to sell your perfume without a UPC, and even without a box. If your perfume is good, and it looks nice just in its bottle, you may find one or more small local shops that will take it. Then it's up to YOU to make sure you're doing all you can to get people to BUY your fragrance in these stores.

    Look at it this way. Local stores will often agree to display a product by a local person. But to display it isn't the same as making sales. To make sales happen YOU have to DO something. This is the moment that decides whether you have the start of a business or whether to hang it up.  If you can't make sales locally, where people know you, don't expect larger stores somewhere else to be interested in your perfume.

    There are other ways to get started. I've written about many of them in  61 Ways To Sell Your Own Perfume! But if you seriously want to develop a business selling your own perfume, you simply must fight to make SALES -- to the public, not the stores -- and start by doing it on a small, affordable scale where you really do stand a chance to make money with a stripped down product (perfume bottled but not boxed or UPC's) and a very modest budget for your promotional campaign.

    If you can succeed at this, the sky's the limit.