Testing — from the past

In the original edition of Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup! I explained how we tested the market before going to the expense of producing our own fragrance. Our media at the time was a print catalog mailed to a substantial number of customers who gave us regular orders.

Times have changed. That print catalog is long since obsolete and the simple testing method we used them would have to be rethought and restructured today. Still, the testing method we used worked. For a few hundred dollars we gained the assurance that we could sell a fragrance to the people who were already buying other products from us. Testing helps you avoid expensive failures and uncovers healthy opportunities.

What follows is a short report of how we tested our market for evidence that we could sell them fragrance.


I sold my first fragrance through a print catalog. It was a fragrance we had produced ourselves. Production expense would be about $2,000 but before making a commitment to producing this fragrance, I wanted to test the market, to see if we could sell a fragrance, any fragrance at all.

We had the ability to create and run an ad for the test but we would need a fragrance. Or would we? We could have run a dry test, advertising a fragrance that we didn't have on hand and which might never exist. We could then count the paid orders and refund the payments with the explanation "due to unprecedented demand, we are out of stock..."

Dry testing is risky business and maybe illegal and we didn't do it. The appeal of dry testing is that it is inexpensive and can give you solid sales data, not just promises from market research that asks people "Would you buy...?" We wanted to find out if people—enough people—would send us money. To run a live test we needed a product. We considered these possibilities:

(1) Private Label
"Private label" involves going to a source that offers a ready made product that can be imprinted with your brand or company name. For cosmetics, private label is a big business but it is difficult to find a private label source for perfume.

(2) Buying the same product a competitor is selling, if a distributor can be found that will sell it to you
If the item you want is being sold and it wasn't developed exclusively for the company you see selling it, often you can buy one, look at the packaging and track down the manufacturer who will point you to a distributor who will sell you a small quantity.

(3) Buy retail from a competitor if a distributor can't be found who will sell it to you
If lack of a product was holding up a test, I wouldn't hesitate to pay the full retail price in order to obtain a few dozen bottles for a test. But before doing this I'd want to make sure that the competitor didn't own exclusive rights to the product and I'd be in trouble for advertising it. To be on the safe side, I might put my label over theirs.

(4) Buy just about any inexpensive fragrance you can find and stick your own label on it
Remember, this is a test to see if your market will buy perfume from you. You wouldn't use the "real" name of your fragrance for a test like this and, if the fragrance is a bit stinky, you might not emphasis your company name. But this will give you a product to test, to see if you can sell a fragrance.

(5) Buy just about any inexpensive fragrance you can find and ship it as is
Sometimes you can buy a closeout where the price is great but there's no continuity. You can end up with more than you need but the price is so low that it doesn't matter. And, if you run short, it's the old "out of stock" message.

In our case
In the case of our first successful fragrance, we had been watching another company that sold a fragrance in a market similar to ours. We bought a bottle from them and found the distributor's name (not the marketer's name!) on the bottle so we simply contacted the distributor and purchased a few dozen bottles at wholesale for our test.

We paid about $7.50 per bottle and, as the other company was selling it for $14.95, we copied their price. Sales were made at a small profit.

Now now we had an answer to our most important question. Yes, we could sell a fragrance to our market. The question now was how profitable we could make it.

Right away we wanted to lose the $7.95 wholesale cost per bottle. We had experience in working directly with manufacturers—the source—so we rounded up the necessary components and found we could get our cost down to less than $1.50 a bottle. Then we made a bet that we could get a nicer fragrance, a more quality scent, than the one we had used for our test. Ultimately this bet paid off in repeat sales.

Finally we bet we could sell our greatly improved product for a higher price and, from $14.95, we moved the needle beyond the $25 mark without suffering a loss of sales.

In short, before investing our $2,000, we tested with a few hundred dollars. Had our test been a failure, the loss would have been small. But the data to be gained—either way, win or lose—would have been well worth the cost of the test.


archander
Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin

Steffen Arctander's Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin was first published in 1960 and is the classic, authoritative reference for natural products used in perfumes, scents, flavorings, foods, and medicine throughout the world. Part One defines and describes processing methods used to extract or refine the products into usable form; Part Two includes more than 500 monographs on the natural raw materials used to produce perfumes, flavorings, etc. Appendices include a classification of important materials by their scent, and worldwide production figures for major products. Fully indexed, the book also includes 62 pages of photographs, making this the standard reference work on natural materials for perfumers and flavor chemists. The preface contains practical descriptions of available materials, their origin, production and processing methods, appearance, odor and flavor type with brief notes on their main constituents, replacements and common adulterants.


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.