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Monthly Archives: January 2014

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  • facing this

    So there we go: Friday! Creative Friday, partly at least. This week has seen me carrying around a more or less dysfunctional nose. Interestingly enough, it was dead as a dodo before the cold really hit. Somehow the receptor were down. Whatever! There are just enough recpetors left today to play bit, and do dilutions of experimental trials.

    But first, I will have to hit the factory, though, where I face this:

    Returned shipment, returned by Fedex USA.

    I have to see that I can keep my promise to a client, and will need to re-ship, but not to the US where -at least for this shipment- Fedex USA was pretty much out of control. And pretty silent. Yesterday, I had to spend my later afternoon waiting for the above shipment. I looked probably like this  illustration that I did using my finger on the ipad with Adobe's Ideas App, yesterday after 4 pm.

    It was a great test for my packaging, though. And unpacking it was a pleasure. All perfect!

    So, you see: nothing new under the sun. Logistics. From here to there. And administration.

    Later, after the factory, we hope for flow and energy. The energy, I will need for the gym, fighting those negative thoughts, and the flow, I will need to paint.

    Have a great weekend, everybody!

    Today's picture: The flow hitting me this morning at 7am, cintiq, photoshop.

     

  • 4 coming in, 1 leaving for the moment

    Today's picture is a scaled down version of a 10 MB rose that is super dramatic. It blooms these days here in Zurich, together with a bunch of others, and the light shining into it and reflecting from the petals was spectacular. Actually, I took the picture yesterday, but today's sky continues to pour light and hope over us.

    So that's good.

    I picked the rose picture today to bring to you a sad and at the same time happy news:

    PHI - une rose de Kandahar is out of stock now in full bottle size. Yep. All gone. And in an instance the Explorer Set size will also be gone. And the next batch? well... there is hope but uncertainty for Q3/Q4 this year. We will see. This scent, une rose de Kandahar, was an incredible success. I wish I knew what it was, really.

    So there we go: 4 scent arriving in the 15 ml size (being Le Maroc, Rêverie au jardin, Vetiver dance and Zeta) and one leaving (PHI).

    Finally, if you have a facebook account: I will uplodad the rose picture in higher resolution. I just love its color and surfaces. Have I told you that I love my flowers (sometimes) when they come around with drama?

    Sometimes.

    And sometimes, I love their whispering. Stephan, a regular commenter, actually made a perfect comment the other day (on me getting organized for the Gardenia launch in September) "While I see the importance of coming up with a coherent way of presenting your latest creation “Gardenia”, I would love to hear more about the ideas behind it and the special characteristics you gave it. " I guess, I will have to talk about it, indeed, but have not really decided yet, wether my gardenia is an opera queen or a jazz session under the moon.

    So... I need some time there.

     

  • hightlights upcoming

    Today's picture is one of this weekend's highlights. Very little blue bell like flowers sitting on a stem, a litte spring greeting. In real life, their size is about 3 cm and I do not know their name. They sit in a pot, in the warm house and bloom while it is grey outside and uncomfortable. I took a picture, using a macro lense, with the sun shining into the little bells, from behing, worked on it a bit with photoshop and just love how the light plays in the little bells.

    We are not really a 24/7 company, but still: Weekends don't mean no work, really. But, besides work as usual, photoshop was my distraction this weekend, with a sketch here and there and a few pictures, still trying to learn more about all the goodies this piece of software offers. Amazing what a few extra layers can do...in the end, however, the more I work with photoshop, the less I believe any picture.

    Another highlight, upcoming, will be a meeting with my design guru this week, discussing ideas for the labels of Sotto la luna: gardenia. I have sent some text, such as notes and allergens, and realized that besides the visual presentation we will need to come up with a decisive way of writing "sotto la luna gardenia". Large letters, small letters, double point, you name it.

    When I started, with Le Maroc pour elle, or Lonestar Memories, I was not really concise: You find all possible combinations, from le maroc to LE MAROC. Does it matter? Not really. But I remember that -to my amazement- there were some discussions online about the deeper meening of it all. So there we go: Learning, and trying to get things done a bit better. The same is true for launches, by the way. This time, I want to make sure that all retailers and clients worldwide get their gardenia from Andy more or less at the same time with more or less the same information.

    Having said that: Ultimately, what matters, is what's inside. So there we go: Another January week's ahead!

  • raised eyebrows

    sometimes, down time, waiting time, being-in-the-loop time is great: I try to fill it with stuff that I want to do but do not find the time to do it because I think I have more important things to do. So I fill with with activities like sketching, or playing with software, or following the stock markets or blogs with raised eyebrows. Those of you following this blog since 2005 know that I follow the stock markets, mostly when they are turning bizarre or odd or out of touch, in my opinion.

    raising eyebrows, body language meaning: interested and wants to know and see more, but also being a bit surprised. And it is a bit an invitation, too. Answers: Please.

    Or I just waste this downtime, because it came for free.

    Which is fine.

    Although, to be honest, I am convinced that what might look like wasting time will end up being part of a bigger scheme, one fine day.

    Yesterday's waiting time playtime while hoping for computer no.1's stuff getting finished: sketching on computer no. 2 a bunch of roses, trying to capture what makes the yellow buds and the leaves and stems special. It is also an eye training session. And it is interesting. We recognize a rose immediately, but what actually makes a rose a rose? Looking at the raised eyebrows further up: I feel that we humans are really good in recognition of patterns and forms. Deers, for instance, are not.

    Reverie au Jardin flacon, 15 ml size, sketch, done on ipad

    Anyhow. The other sketch I did yesterday is less a downtime sketch, but I figured that an illustration for the upcoming newsletter might be nice. So there we go...one word here: I did it on the ipad. The ipad is about 2.5 years old and since the update to the new iOS it is just too slow. Because it got too slow, for certain apps at least, and because it started to crash sometimes, and more and more regularly, I should get another one, really. But I am not willing to invest into a tool that feels like it is rendered dysfunctional "on purpose" or better "by plan" after 2 years use. Contrary to my Mac computer, all apple tools that I got lately did not last that long. And many of my friends got quite unhappy, too. So, there we go, raising eyebrows.

    Today, that's the plan at least, early in the morning, will see me working a bit on orders in the factory, followed by newsletter putting together activitie. And it will see me mixing and smelling around my woody creamy vanilla. This is playtime with scents that I do not like to mention too often, as I do not want to raise wrong expectations and have you all raise your eyebrows, too high.

    Have a great end of the week!

  • soon, more explorer set variations

    Yesterday, in my two room factory, I filled ZETA- a linden blossom theme, one of my underperforming fragrances, into 15 ml flacons of the explorer set. Underperforming is a bit misleading, though. The scent performs wonderfully on skin, and it blooms and is gentle at the same time. I personally love it very much. In a certain sense, with its richness in sandalwood, it feels a bit like a neroli-linden-attar. In that sense,I find it quite special, in comparison to many other scents that  I did. To produce it, it is one of the more expensive scents, too. Not like Miriam, from the Tableau de Parfums series with Brian Pera. Miriam is like super expensive. But still.

    Underperforming means here: we do not sell that much. But in a sense, this is not very important. From a creator's point of view: It is nice that it is here. And should stay, for a while. There are three more scents still missing (besides the Pentachords that won't go into the explorer set size right now): Vetiver Dance, Le Maroc pour elle, and Rêverie au Jardin.

    The labels for all these are done and I hope that I will soon have a more complete offering in the explorer set. Once I have the 15 ml flacons prepared, I will need to make the cards and put the products as selection for the explorer set in the shop.

    And I should let a newsletter out, I guess. Next week, maybe.

    When it comes to newsletters: I am always a bit reluctant to click this "PUBLISH NOW" button. But I feel that 4 more explorer set size scents might be worth a little newsletter hello! from Zurich.

    What I have not decided, yet... should I make another introduction price for a limited time?

    Questions, questions, questions.

    But first things first: Get the Rêverie au jardin into 15 ml flacons. Now!

     

  • Pareto principle

    "Quite often, I d0n't ask myself whether I do things well, but whether I do things sufficiently well."

    That sentence came to my mind yesterday afternoon, and I took a note, writing it down on the pad, for today. Paret0's principle, 80/20 rule: There we go! Doing things sufficiently well can actually mean doing less to gain time and energy for other tasks or opportunities. An example: I spend 80 of my emailing time writing mails that are sales related but are not relevant for more than 20% of sales. I spend 20% of my emailing time for mails that are sales related and are relevant in the context of 80% of my sales. Doing things sufficiently well means: Cut these 80% of mailing time. The same is true for geographic sales, or sales to retailers. Or maybe stop working on a sketch after 20% because you already reached 80%, but of what?, that's the question when it comes to creative projects.

    Following strictly the pareto principle and optimizing my creative and business life accordingly, I could do 80% of my sales in 20% of the time I spend these days. The remaining 5-6 days of the week I could actually do whatever I wanted. How fascinating is that? Of course, we all do not work like that. Why? Because the 80% wasted are often the most thrilling and exciting slots in our days; interesting email communications with clients, fascinating twitter distractions and well, ... discussions where we all learn about many things, that are more or less relevant, or more or less amusing.

    Still: One of my missions in 2014 is to optimize and adjust. Pareto's principle will be helpful.

    Today's sketch was done with Pareto in mind. Enjoy!

     

  • like a squirrel finding stuff, or not

    Here's another gardenia picture for you: it is a scanned flower (500 MB, 10500x8000 pixel, 48 bit), optimized by photoshop in lower scale, removing dust particles etc. and once again scaled down to fit in the  featured image section of this blog. Today's topic: Gardenia, the upcoming first scent in the Tauer line "Sotto la luna" (under the moon) and me finding stuff like a squirrel, and allergens.

    Let's start with the allergens. The EU cosmetics directives make it the law in Europe to label fragrances and other cosmetic goods in a certain way. If you wish to experience the dark side of Europe: the COSMETICS DIRECTIVE  overview page is a starting point . On a side note: Most consumers here in Europe have no clue what the labels mean and what not. Some think  that the allergens declared are actually a perfume's formula. Others think that the number of allergens declared tells you something about a perfumes complexity. And who knows what this means?

    source: Cosmetics Directive. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:1976L0768:20100301:en:PDF

    So there we go: a lot about nothing. My opinion. The allergens for sotto la luna: Gardenia

    are Coumarin, Linalool, Limonene, Benzyl salicylate, 2-(4-tert-Butylbenzyl)propionaldehyde, Geraniol, Cinnamyl alcohol, Farnesol, Benzyl benzoate, Benzyl alcohol, Eugenol, Citronellol, Citral, Isoeugenol, Cinnamaldehyde

    In this order of decreasing concentration down to a limit of 0.001% in the diluted fragrance.

    How do I know? Every essential oil and other ingredients comes with a certificate that declares the allergens and other stuff. I get almost all my raw materials from Essencia. Based on my experience: I trust them 100%. This time, I did not have to do the calculations of allergens myself. I will get the fragrance concentrate mixed by my supplier of essential oils. Thus, they provide me with the list of allergens of the final fragrance mixture.

    Why not mix it myself? Good question! Here we come to the squirrel part of this post. Mixing per se is not a lot of work. It is actually nice, as it feels like a deep, very deep immersion into a fragrance. Pouring rose absolute is fun. Except if you spill it.

    So, it is not about the mixing actually. It is about keeping stock and keeping stock under control. I have a large complex excel file that tells me what essential oils and resins and all other goodies I have in stock. I try to keep it up to date. But, to be honest, from time to time I forget to tell the excel file that I got more of something. You get the message: one fine day the squirrel is in the essential oil stock room and finds what it put there, months ago. Happy surprise! But it may also work the other way.

    Thus, gardenia from sotto la luna will be mixed by the guys who supply me with the raw materials. And yes, it is not more expensive than doing it myself, but much less hassle. Another miracle.

    This fragrance is also going to be  a spring-board into getting organized and getting help a bit more.

  • on fragrance being too subjective and other epic fails

    Today' s picture shows you an illustration that I did with photoshop, emulating pencil and watercolor, having a closer look at my left hand, painting with the right hand,  while waiting until the time was right to make a phone call to the US, about trade mark protection. That actually fits with a link further down this post.  I am glad I did this illustration as there will be not much time to sketch today: Another pick-up day in the factory; so I will be down there, taking some "creative" work with me, like musing about notes that should be communicated with gardenia, the upcoming scent from the sotto la luna®  line. One more word about that in an instance.

    I will sit in the factory with shorter hair, after a visit (finally!) at my super friendly, super competent and super young hair dresser. We were talking about hair loss, and I mentioned that it is no issue for me (anymore), that I got used to the idea of loosing my hair. Simple enough: Mirrors don't lie. So my hair dressers tries to cheer me up, going like "oh, I totally love bold men. They look gorgeous, the problems is just old men with bold heads, like in their forties or fifties. " Fail, total epic communication fail.

    But when you are around on this planet for half a century, like I am, almost, then you know how to deal with communication fails >smile.

    So, yes, words can make a difference, and I will use my time in the factory to fill some samples, maybe pack this or that perfume, making use of hands that -as the sketch shows- are in existance since 50 years and show some degenerative defects that ask for anti inflamation drugs. To be honest: I know the formula of my gardenia scent, but to communicate notes is not easy. I do not want to head into sweet and sickly territory, these "über" words in all aspects. It is all too subjective. And still, ... we will see.

    Ah, yes, I need to come up with these lines, and a bit more text as I have this GANTT file, where my design buddy has the task of coming up with the labels and visuals and at the same time I have to come up with the words and the two lines come together in the near future. Arrgh.

    Words and perfume: They don't go well together, for me.

    Here's a few more words that are worth reading. The first link points to Victoria's blog, Bois de Jasmin, where  she writes about a topic that sounds more boring than it actually is: Copyright protection and court  decisions there, in France, on fragrances. One of the punch lines there, in court: FRAGRANCE IS TOO SUBJECTIVE TO BE CLEARLY DEFINED. Hallelujah!   It is worth your 5 minutes, and the following 10 minutes for a thorough read of the comments section. I do not want to bring that discussion to this post here, thus I invite you to comment there.

    And then, there 's a lovely review over there, on Now Smell This, by Robin, about PHI-une rose de Kandahar. One of the aspects that I loved most about her review: How she came back to a scent that ended on the "not sure whether I like this" list. Here's the thing: Quite often, love needs time. Love on first sight happens, but usually a fragrance like a person needs time.

    Sometimes, I feel that we do not give us this time anymore. Be it perfumes or guys or whatever: maybe we don't because the next guy is around the corner, and like the other guy he promises flowers and all the good stuff. But wait: The first guy, wasn't there something special?

     

  • No poodle notes in Le Maroc

    today's cover picture shows you an older sketch, done (I think) about 18 months ago, procrastinating, and maybe I have even shown the sketch here on the blog: I do not remember. I have sent the sketch to go with a long interview in German (sorry to my English native speakers) here, where I am brave, and where I got the chance to speak out , a bit. Actually, the photo collection there, going with the interview, turned out interesting, a panoptikum of tauer, almost.

    I cannot tell you why, but I sort of love this sketch"Le Maroc pour elle". Like the scent, it is a bit odd. Almost everything that makes Le Maroc special is in there, the exotism, the art déco,  the feminity, the High Atlas with the cedar wood,  the animalic aspect, although there is no poodle note  in Le Maroc!

    Anyhow: What's up today? Today, I will pack perfume in the factory, using the next batch of bakelite caps that were delivered yesterday. A precision landing! Yesterday was the day, when I used the last ones of the first batch, delivered last year, I think early spring, some thousand pieces. Actually, I was so relieved when the truck arrived yesterday. The precision landing was not really planned with that precision....

    So you see: ordering stock and keeping balance and trying to get precision landings after flying in scented wonderland is keeping me busy. Of course,  Gardenia, the first "Sotto la luna" fragrance, starts to play  a role there , too. The scent is finished, of course, but I am still flying over wonderlands of design ideas, of illustrations, stickers, yet I have to plan the landing soon. And pump up stock. More flacons. Uff. But at least, the flacons for Gardenia will be blue, that simplifies my landing approaches....

  • another gardenia flower

    Here in the house of tauer, we face a bit of a white flower overkill. The jasmine in the basement is exploding in flowers and scent. And in the living room, the gardenia makes a new flower almost daily.

    Not that I would "need" the gardenia reference right now. Sotto la luna is on its way, with the Gardenia being the first scent (think Q3 2014). So that's done. And by chance, I got the WIPO confirmation that in the EU nobody objected the trademark "sotto la luna", thus nothing really can happen there anymore. Gardenia: On the horizon.... But the gardenia bloom is highly welcome as distraction in between my writing of invoices and mails etc.

    Today, I scanned a flower, on my super trooper scanner and I happily share two views of the same thing....

    So you see: The scanner (picture below) is bringing the flower out super realistic. And the sketch brings out how I see this little twisted flower. The fragrance will be comparable, to the sketch, I guess.  An interpretation.

    Gardenia scanned, on an Epson V600, and scaled down to 300px x 300 px.

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