Monthly Archives: November 2014

9 Item(s)

  • Happy Thanksgiving

    First and most important: A happy Thanksgiving to you all! Enjoy the warmth of the season and let us indeed all be thankful for a moment.

    Whatever the year might have brought to us, wherever we are, and however we might feel after another year inside the movie theater where the film of our live is playing: There is always a reason to be thankful. And be it just the fact that we are still here, and most of our family and friends are.

    When leaving the hotel in LA, one of the cleaning guys wished me a "happy thanksgiving". I smiled and said "thank you. I wish you a happy thanksgiving, too. You know, I am on my way back to a place where we do not celebrate thanksgiving really. But we have Christmas. " Seriously?", he commented, and went on with  "oh, that's sad! But then: Happy Christmas to you!"

    Leaving the hotel, I left a view that looked a bit like that:

    Looking over to 101, water color looking over to 101, Hollywood, evening


    And yes, you bet: I miss this view already. It is not super spectacular: Just overlooking highway 101, cars and stuff basically.

    And, yes, you bet:  I miss the light and serenity of the desert where I was for a couple of days, but I am very grateful that I could visit at all, again. And that there was time, besides business that brought me over, to enjoy a couple of days in solitude.

    You know: Getting out of town has become quite tricky for me. In the sense of ... getting out of town for more than a day or two and without taking care of the daily business. August sees me preparing September. September sees me bringing new fragrant things to Italy (and other places), October sees me filling the shelves of my factory and the distributor's shelves, November sees me sending out tons of orders for the holidays additionally and December, well...

    So it is not always easy to get out, but you have to do it! Why?  See today's picture on the left.  These boulders, the crisp air in the morning, the bright sun during the day, the stars blinking in the night, the cleansing peace of silence, the relieve when the sun goes up and the first beams hit your face, the grace when it goes down and you can start the fire; it's energy, pure.

    So there we go: Back in Zurich where the sun shines too, but differently. Back to work, with a big smile on the face.

    And, although this year brought also dire news to friends and family, a happy Thanksgiving to you all!


  • husch und weg

    Today's picture confirms probably all conceptions of tauer's "factory life" being fun and easy going. Well, yes and no. Last week was kind of crazy, very tiring to be honest, and the weekend was super busy; packing stuff in the factory and getting things ready for shipment.

    I did the illustration Friday afternoon, at the end of a long week, in anticipation of next week, that started today. Of course, it is a highly allegorical picture. I am out of town for a couple of days, flying west now.

    The task for the coming days: To think.

    It is very close to ten years now that I started this venture "tauer perfumes", a fun little nothing, not really serious back then. A bit more serious after a couple of years; my salary coming for there for 4 years now. I have seen a lot during these years; a lot has changed. I guess a lot of perfumer friends and perfume lovers would agree. The other day, a perfumer friend and me discussed and came to the conclusion that  "there is a lot of negative energy in there these days". "Covering all areas. Which is a bit saddening, actually", we both said, "as perfumes are to be enjoyed".

    So you see: There's a lot to think about about. And to plan. Because, ... well... me thinks: the only way to fight this negativism out there is to smile, make perfumes and be confident that the sun will always shine on those who smile.

    So I will think about perfume, the liquid dream stuff.

    Ah, and yes: I will paint.

    I'll be back soon and hope that your week will be sunny, and comes with lots of smiles. Enjoy!


  • vetiver md and superglue on a bright Friday morning

    The other day, I was looking into the formula of Rose de Kandahar (PHI) again. I think I wanted to know again how much musk is in there (this rose being the first of my scents where I actually use a classical musk molecule); so I checked the formula and rediscovered that I use Vetiver MD in there. This is a special quality of natural vetiver that I discovered when visiting the Salon des Matières Premières a while ago in Paris. It is a vetiver that is sort of deprived of much of the rooty earthiness, the dirt and brown aspects. How does it smell? A bit like "Vetiver extraordinaire", hence a strong vetiverol note, green aspects, citrus. And: It lasts for ever. And: It is a perfect fixation ingredient. Great glue. And you can use it without getting this overtoning dirty earth note that might not fit with your ideas and the delicate background notes. Yet, it is more natural, richer, less boring than vetiverol, that smells like... well: like a couple of vetiver fragrances out there.

    Yes, unfortunately: Most perfume lovers would fear that their noses fall off when smelling the real thing. Especially the Java quality of vetiver. Amazing stuff. A dark, almost black oil. Rotten. Not washed. Fur. Timber. Public restroom in Mumbai. Wet leather gloves inside a summer house in August. It smells like the dark version of a old worn out leather jacket, that collected the fumes of the Paris Métro, a  dog peeing over a dead geranium plant sitting in rotten wet earth, and a few other things that make it so interesting. But for sure not an easy ingredient.

    Nothing of that in rose de Kandahar, but vetiver MD. And a couple of other fixation molecules and naturals. They do not only fix, of course, but are part of the story that I tell with PHI. Tobacco, patchouli, amber gris, vanilla, tonka, et al.  And a super glue: The magic of okoumal. Here's what Givaudan says about it ...superglue!

    Today's picture shows you a detail from my bench. There, next to the keyboard, I have all the trial vials (30 ml brown flint glass)  that I am working on or that I test these days. In most of them, you find a bit of superglue. It is just magic. You can call these flacons the pipeline. The pipeline is actually too full and the space on my desk is limited.

    Anyhow: PHI-une de Kandahar is here again. In Europe, it is in the stores already (many of them). In the US, it will be in the stores shortly. We will all start selling Nov. 25 there. I am very happy that it is finally there.

    But when we will be out of it one fine day (again)  and when it will be all gone, then I will be happy, too.

    A lot of work: Bottles, packing and answering mails.... like "why we do not ship". So here's the ultimate last sentence of this post: Yes, we do not ship to most places in Europe; due to shipment restrictions for perfumes, enforced strictly here in Switzerland, and no, we cannot make an exception, not even for you. And yes, rose de kandahar is limited, and no, we will not make a special version of it, not even for you;

    Oh, you are a rich oil princess? never mind. not even for you.


  • 11/11

    good morning from Zurich, a day after 11/11.

    11/11, here in middle Europe, in some regions at least, translates into "carnival". I so understand why around this time of the year you need festivities, with laughter and drinks and heavy food: mid November can be so dark and grey around here. So there you go: "party!" our ancestors said, and the more catholic the more party.

    That was yesterday. No party in tauerville, though. Today's picture is a bit odd, I admit.  I took it yesterday , 11/11, before leaving the factory, and it sort of fits perfectly. It shows you things the way they are there, at "tauerville". I repeat myself here, but you know: Tauerville consists of two rooms down there (packing, storing, shipping), two rooms up here (office, creative space). That's where I do everything. Boxing, labelling, shipping, you name it. Recently, I was quite busy down there at tauerville, and 2015 will see some adjustments as we sort of grow out of our clothes there.

    Tauerville is also funville, although we do not do carnival there: Every day, before leaving after the work down there is done (continued by the work up there, like writing invoices, organizing shipments, answering mails), I try to paint something. Just anything. It is a nice ritual and motivates me being effective with the somewhat boring stuff. Like putting labels on bottles. I did so yesterday, and now that I look at yesterday's picture, I see the allegory in there. The line of air du désert flacons all point towards the picture ; myself in blue and red.

    Actually, this picture was a nice experiment. I used a large format paper and a brush that is flat, round, large and super stiff. It forces you to work in a particular way: Wet. Fast. Resolute. Uncompromising.

    Detail of the illustration Detail of the illustration

    When sitting there in the factory, I also work on new scents, all the time, not materialized, yet. Just in my head, juggling with notes and lines. There, I am getting more resolute, too.

  • unfinished

    I wish you all a great start into a new week! Today's topic: Unfinished things. The picture of today fits. A little mandarin painted yesterday, after a still life session in last week's aquarelle class where we did mandarins et al. It is not finished, but I haven't decided what to add, really. Maybe I won't change it anymore: I am getting better at leaving paintings unfinished. They come with their own esthetic qualities.

    There are other things unfinished where I am getting better just letting them sit there. Like emails. I get so many. And I learned to just ignore some.

    And there are perfumes, that are sort of "unfinished". Or better said: I thought that they were unfinished. But the more I smell them, the less I know what to add or remove. So they sit there, and wait, patiently. And me -sometimes- thinks that the white area, the outlines, the sketchy color splashes make sense.

    Other unfinished things: My website. First there's always something that you should or could adjust when it comes to the digital doors to the world of tauer. Initially, earlier this year, I planned for an update of the site. Adding a few features that miss, in my opinion, since years, like more interactivity, or like more and easier to catch information about tauer, news etc. But in the course of the year, I decided to leave it the way it is right now. I told this my IT guru the other day; I am so not convinced that the financial /banking/confidence crisis in Europe is over that I prefer not to invest there in IT, and here (in Europe). And I guess, I am not alone.

    I guess this is the core of the economic problem in Europe: No confidence. This, and encrusted structures. And there is no easy fix. Contrary to the US, Europe decided to leave some issues unfixed and unfinished.

    You know, I am up and running and building my brand for almost ten years now. For 7 years I did so in economies that are in crisis mode. I learned a couple of lessons there. One of them: Leave some things unfinished and wait.



  • more roses for you


    Here are more rose for you all: After having shipped PHI-une rose de Kandahar to perfume hotspots in Europe, the next boxes wait for pick-up, to fly west. "Düdeldi", as we say here, which does not translate really into English; maybe "hurrah", but more relaxed and easy going and taking things less seriously.

    So : Düdeldi. And I stop worrying about who gets what when first. Finally. The rose de Kandahar gets out and in about 2 weeks or so, my fans in the US can get it (again), from my shop, and my retailing friend's shops, too.

    And now that we are there (almost, actually, as you never know... boxes can get lost and shipments can get stuck): The brain area where I do not have to think about PHI-une rose de Kandahar can expand again. And, as our brains are super plastic, so plastic that almost all of us have the choice on a daily basis whether we want to become a saint or a sinner, an angel or a devil, my brain won't get bored, for sure.

    Today's picture: One of the roses done in my  aquarelle class yesterday.

    Have a great weekend you all!

  • feeling underdressed

    Today's picture shows you yesterday's result of my aspiration to do one sketch a day: Me sitting and waiting for a meeting in the evening. The location: Hyatt bar. A nice place with interesting guests, where I always feel a bit underdressed  and out of place.

    Today's topic: Not related, really... cache pompes. The things that are around the collar of your perfume bottles, some perfume bottles. Some bottles do not hide the crimping around the spray, but most do hide the crimping using a cache pompe, which is French for "hides the pump". As Annsmith mentioned in her comment yesterday: I use o-rings for that. They also make the bakelite top stick and seal the pump. Last year, I was considering to change this. The price for a simple cache pompe is comparable and in a sense, a nice silver cache pompe looks a bit  more elegant; using the Hyatt analogy: I felt that my flacon is a bit underdressed when it comes to the cache pompe.

    So I did a test with some. Ordered more. And tested again. And again. And realized that -you would not expect this- the crimping around the pump might get loosened by fixing this new cache pompe. So I wanted to play it safe and decided not to.

    Later this year, when talking to business friends, I heard stories that were indeed nightmares. Brands switching cache pomps and without realizing the whole thing started to leak. They tested first, of course, and nothing leaked, but when shipped by air, suddenly, the bottles leaked; because the cache pompe loosened the crimping. Quel horreur! What a nightmare. Imagine: You are the producer and realize that hundreds of bottles out there might leak, at least some of them.

    This, this can kill you, fast and efficiently.

    Thus, sometimes, feeling underdressed is not wrong, but rather: You are perfectly dressed for your journey that ends up being rougher than what you thought.

    Thus, my rule when riding a car: Always dress in a way that allows you to walk outside for a mile or two, or stand outside next to your car for an hour or two.


  • economies of scale

    Today: A raining day here in Zurich. Perfect weather to write packlists and for a factory day, packing perfumes.

    Today's musing here on my blog: Economies of scale. The other day I gave a little speech about the "life of a self made perfumer" to a class running a special project, high school level. The speech was nice and we crossed a lot of topics that all are important. I also mentioned that growing and building a company comes with contradictions. Here is one, dealing with the economies of scale, and the paradox that, under certain circumstances, growing does not always means more money coming back.

    Here's an example and the today's little picture tries to highlight the situation.

    The curves show you growing numbers of perfumes that you sell (x axis) and the profit you make  on the y axis. So you start your venture, sell more and you make more profit. As you would expect. But then, there might be a point where things change. Suddenly, you sell more and earn less. I call this the valley of death that a lot of small companies do not survive. A lot of factors can lead to this: One example is this: In order to sell more, you need to work with external sellers, your margin goes down, your costs go up, as you need a larger warehouse, more stock, maybe a coworker, maybe extra insurance etc. There are a lot of factors that might play into this picture.

    The bottomline: You need to try to make this valley of death as flat as possible, by reducing Delta y and keeping the Delta x small, too.

    Otherwise, it might not end, the valley, and in the end it will kill you. I know a couple of companies where exactly this happened: Making the next big step, falling into the valley and there was no time to reach the point where the return goes up again.

    I think this is super interesting, as it sort of contradicts a general belief that getting bigger always means more profit. It translates also into, for instance: Being willing to work for less, keeping costs down, making compromises in the valley....

    And now: Packlists. Have a great day!


  • bloom in November

    Today's watercolor illustration shows you a tuberose that is blooming these days in Zurich, outside, on the veranda. I painted it on Saturday in the factory, after having finished my job in there. Of course, I did not take the flower there, but rather used a picture that I took with the phone.

    The real tuberose can still be outside as it was a spectacular autumn so far. Soon, it might have to go inside, together with the lemon tree and the jasmine bush. It's scent: Amazing, nice, sweet, powdery, musky, creamy, fruity,  bright  and with an indolic touch. And much more: No words. But so inspiring.

    The job in the factory on Saturday: Shooting pictures of the PHI-une rose de Kandahar flacon. The job on Sunday: Getting it polished with a little photoshop help.

    So that's done, but there is one aspect that I might change today through photoshop. The label; there's too much grate showing through. I think I will change it by morphing the reality with illustrator generated pictures of the label. You know: Close to no flacon we see these days, printed or online is "real". The same is true for pictures of models, stars, cars, food, watches, animals. It is all worked up and nicer, cuddlier, more brilliant, more yummy than reality. Since I optimize pictures I do not believe any picture anymore. There is no picture that you could not create.



9 Item(s)