The importance of a formula
and a production "fail"

While perfume creation can be spontaneous and freewheeling, without a thought to recording what you are doing. But, if you want to duplicate your creation, having the formula is essential.

You can create a nice smelling fragrance by mixing together a little of this and a little of that, you can share it with your friends and win their praise, you can consider yourself an authentic perfume creator, but if you want to create more of it — more of the exact same fragrance — you can't do it unless you carefully annotated how you made your fragrance. In short, to produce more of the same you need a formula.

In a series of YouTube videos I demonstrated the use of a formula I had created in the production of a new perfume. The formula had been developed using dropper bottles — "equipment" easily available to anyone aspiring to create their own perfume — and then this formula was rewritten in grams with the aid of an electronic balance (a modest expense for the aspiring perfumer).

Once my "by drops" formula had been converted to a "grams" formula, the percentage of the formula of each ingredient could be calculated. Using these percentages, the fragrance could now be produced in any desired quantity, large or small.

When producing finished perfume that involves mixing the fragrance oil with alcohol and water, it is helpful to know the weight of the fragrance oil per liter — or gram, or ounce, or gallon — so that we can calculate how much oil we must produce to produce a particular volume of finished, ready to bottle and sell, perfume.

All this is pretty simple yet while shooting the video showing these stops I made an error that, in effect, canceled the formula and made the fragrance I had bottled non-repeatable because I no longer knew the percentages of the ingredients I had bottled. I had created a nice smelling fragrance which now lacked a formula. Here's what happened.

I was producing 900 ml of finished fragrance. This called for 135 ml of my fragrance oil — from my formula — to be mixed with 688.5 ml of 200 proof alcohol and 76.5 ml of de-ionized water. This was all being done in front of the camera.

If you follow the video, you'll see at the 2:26 minute mark that I have produced the required 135 ml of oil. Next the video shows the oil being poured into a Pyrex measuring cup followed by the water and alcohol. All was fine up to this point.

The next shot was of me using a funnel to pour the perfectly good 900 ml of finished fragrance into a quart bottle. A quart (32 ounce) bottle easily holds 900 ml of liquid but a pint (16 ounce) bottle does not. Somehow it was a pint bottle that found its way under my funnel as I poured. The result can be seen in this "fail" video, an outtake from the "official" video.

So the first and most obvious problem was that I spilled some fragrance. Annoying but not a total disaster. After all, this was production on a small scale. And I still had the 16 ounce (473 ml) bottle filled with my fragrance. So what's the issue?

A fragrance without a formula

OK, here's the big problem. When I filled, and overfilled, the 16 ounce bottle, the fragrance was not yet blended. That means I now have no way of knowing the "oil to alcohol to water" ratio and, even more important, how much of each aroma material in the oil ended up in the 16 ounce bottle.

From the video you can see that the oil was at the bottom of the measuring cup with water next followed by alcohol and, you can see, that, as soon as the alcohol was added, the three elements started to blend but the blending was far from complete. In fact, my plan was to allow 30 days or more for the components to blend and to shake the bottle vigorously several times during those first few days.

So, sadly, what I have in my 16 ounce bottle is NOT the fragrance called for by my formula and whether anyone likes what I have or not, I cannot produce another batch of that exact same fragrance since I don't know its composition. The 16 ounces — 473 ml — is all there will ever be.

Sure, I could call it a "Limited Edition" (which it is!) and bottle about 15 bottles for sale, and I may do just that, but I'll have to give it its own name and story and, for 15 bottles, even at $45 each, is it worth the effort?

The message that should stick with you:

Formulas are important. They are the tool that allows you to keep producing and selling more and more of a particular fragrance.

When you create a fragrance,record what goes into it. Record how much of each ingredient you have used. Record the sources of those ingredients so that you can get more of the same when necessary.

All that record keeping can be trying when you're just experimenting, just fooling around, but what if you suddenly find yourself with a great fragrance? Think how frustrated you'll be if you never bothered to record how you made it!


Making Perfume By The Quart
Making Perfume By The Quart: A do-it-yourself project book

Many who love perfume dream of having their own -- but it can seem too complicated, too "from another world." Making Perfume By The Quart brings it down to earth for you in ten remarkably easy to understand chapters of instructions that guide you through the complete production process, from concept to finished perfume. But you make just one quart.


Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup! (3rd edition)

Perfume is famous for the markup it can achieve, even for a middle market fragrance. While "everybody knows" that perfume costs next to nothing to make (not completely true) the making of it is often considered an esoteric secret. "Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup!" details how a 3-person company with no experience created their own fragrance in response to a marketing opportunity that was too good to pass up. The book explains exactly what was done to create a fragrance for that opportunity but it is far more than a history of the author's project. "Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup!" lays out every step in the process of creating your own perfume, either as a do-it-yourself project – and without the benefit of automated equipment some compromises and workarounds are required – or full bore professional production under your supervision. Either way you will be producing a quality fragrance at a remarkably low cost. Do you have a marketing opportunity that would be wildly profitable if only you could obtain your fragrance at a ridiculously low cost? "Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup!" is the guide you need to do it.


Naming Your Perfume And Protecting Your Name

A really great name, a special name that is just right for a particular perfume or perfume marketer (or entrepreneur with money to invest!) can be worth a ton of money. But few individuals with great ideas ever manage to cash in on those brilliant ideas. Instead they wait while others "discover" their idea, acquire legal rights to it and make all the money while they are left out in the cold without a penny having been earned for what was once THEIR idea.

If you are struggling to name your perfume and are looking for a name that will have real value, "Naming Your Perfume And Protecting Your Name" will help you weed out low value names and point you to names that have better marketing value plus the potential to become valuable assets in themselves.

If you have a great name you want to protect but no fragrance, "Naming Your Perfume And Protecting Your Name" will guide you through the simple steps you must take to acquire a legal right to that name before someone else grabs it! Best of all, "Naming Your Perfume And Protecting Your Name" shows you how to gain strong legal protection for your name without a lawyer and without spending more than pocket change.

Never had an idea for a product name? Never thought much about perfume? "Naming Your Perfume And Protecting Your Name" may stimulate your interest in a whole new game that, when played well, can make you lots of money without your having to leave the comfort of your home office.


How To Launch Your Own Perfume Company: A Simple Business Plan

You can build a perfume business of your own using this business plan as a guide. By following its detailed strategy you learn to identify motivated groups of potential perfume buyers. Members of these groups are near the tipping point of desire for a new perfume. You don't know these people and they don't know you but you know a marketer they trust, one who does not currently sell perfume and might never think of selling perfume were it not for your approach. Here is where you step in with a professional plan, promotion, and perfume to take advantage of this ripe opportunity for mutual profit. Before your first promotion has peaked, you will already be developing a relationship with your next marketing partner. Following this plan, you will gain more and more profit with each new marketing partnership.


Creating your own perfume from dropper bottles: Methods, mechanics, and mathematics

Now when you make your own perfume you can make it fully "commercial" meaning you will be creating a product ready for regular, continuous sales to friends, relatives, and the public! If the fragrance you've made has already won praise, why not share it with others? Some might pay you for it and want it for their web stores or retail boutiques! Creating your own perfume from dropper bottles: Methods, mechanics, and mathematics guides you through steps that can turn your hobby project into a perfume business. Discover how close you are now and how little more you must do to take what you made with essential oils and dropper bottles into a business of your own! For an introduction to this book, watch this video.


How To Create A More Valuable Name For Your Perfume

When you name a perfume you create a valuable asset – the name itself. To sell your perfume you want the most effective name possible. But a good name can have value beyond the edge it gives your sales. In naming your fragrance you are creating a trademark and a trademark can have value independent of the product. The value of that trademark can vary. Much depends on how well, in naming your perfume, you follow the trademark "rules." How To Create A More Valuable Name For Your Perfume first helps you develop a name that will be effective in selling your perfume. It then prods you to make use of certain techniques that can turn a good name into a great trademark, strong and valuable. If you have questions about how to protect a name, How To Create A More Valuable Name For Your Perfume will answer many such as:

  • Can you protect your name yourself or do you need a lawyer?
  • Can you register a trademark without a lawyer?
  • What does it cost to register a trademark?
  • How do I enforce the rights I have established?

How To Create A More Valuable Name For Your Perfume covers both state, federal, and international protection.


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Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.