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Monthly Archives: October 2016

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  • Amber flush

    Tonight, I have to prepare the newsletter, wherein I want to announce that I will start finally! (By Nov. 1) selling the Au Coeur du Désert on my site, too. And the US retailers will start by then, too: I needed to wait as I could not deal with all orders at the same time. Bottomline: Exciting, and amazing. Amazing, because the tower of Coeur du Désert that I built in the storage room in the third floor shrank to a little Dutch hill. And you know Dutch hills....

    In the newsletter, I will also talk a little bit about what kept me busy the last three days: Amber flush, perfumed body oil. I put this online last week and since then I am shipping these. The scent: A rich, woody, warm amber (amber being basically a combo of Vanilla and Cistus ladaniferus extract), to keep it simple). I am loving it.  The oil: Pure jojoba, organic, cold pressed, the best quality. No sunflower, almond or any other oil that goes bad over the months, and hence no stabilizers, no parabens, nothing.

    It is available exclusively on tauerperfumes.com under "specials" ; and yes...it comes without packaging, in a simple bottle but this might change midterm if you tell me that I should.

  • interesting

    Yesterday, I had the pleasure to work on another fragrance theme that keeps me busy for quite a while. I have been working on it previously, but put it aside because there was something missing, or better said: It was not totally right, yet. Travelling is inspiring and coming back from Saudi Arabia I knew what I had to do there.

    Now, when thinking middle East, Saudi Arabia, Souq et al. , many of us, me included, think oudh.  And sure: Oudh is a big thing there, from super cheap to super deluxe, with the real thing being hard to find, for sure not sold in your average perfume shop in the middle of the Souq. I was blessed and was given a gift that is out of this world. A tiny bottle of the real thing, 30 years old, from the inheritance of a collector. I wore it and could indeed feel how the world changes. Amazing.

    With this in mind, it happened that I was given a ride downtown in Riyadh and we were discussing perfumes and guess what: "Clean would be nice. And powdery. And easy to wear.", I heard.

    The next logical question of course is: What means "clean", what means "easy to wear"? And I learned that clean means clean. No dirty patchouli, no oudh, no birch tar, no jasmine, no .... and the list goes on. Clean means gentle citrus, hints of neroli, maybe, some powdery notes ), some traces of freshly washed white fabric.... and the list goes on.

    So there you go.

    And to be honest: Long before heading for Saudi Arabia, I was working on a scent that runs under "clean" in my ever growing Excel file where I store all formulas, the failures and the zick-zack forth and back. Is there a need for this ? I am not really sure. Generally speaking: These days there is no need for any (new) perfume anymore.  There are enough perfumes out there to keep even a devoted perfume lover busy for years just smelling and wearing samples of many of them.

    And -I know that many of you won't like that - I learned a while ago that there is no need to always offer everything everywhere. So here's the irony: One fine day I might present a dark rich attar (or so) for folks here, in thewest, and I might present a nice bright eau for there. Funny.

  • a trip to the factory that produces my soaps. now.

    Yesterday, I visited a soap manufacture in Switzerland. Because.... I finally get my perfumed soaps produced. Some of you might know the soap "line": Perfume in a soap. I made these for friends and family, for special occasions, and for the store that my designer guru runs, fabrikat. (please check their website for pictures of their products. They have an amazing collection of things that are still made the way they were made a long time ago. Here's the link. Fabrikat.ch )

    So they sold my soaps in the past, a  couple of hundred per year and they could have sold much more but I could not produce more because it is time consuming and my time is limited.

    We were both looking for a solution and found one: There is a little factory, founded around 1920, in Switzerland, where they still produce glycerine soap in the good old fashioned handmade way. Today's picture shows you how one of my soaps gets ready to get the tauer logo imprinted into the glycerine.

    The glycerine soaps will hit the store in a couple of weeks at the latest. They are a joint venture with fabrikat and my designer guru created a great packaging that I just can't wait to share...

    We started with two scents, mandarines ambrées and the super heavy majestic tuberose. These two are actually not just soaps, but really perfume in a soap. Get them when they are ready and you will see.

  • Tea in the desert

    So I am back from Saudi Arabia, back to normal, with orders and packing perfume and water droplets sitting on the railing of the balcony after a night with rain. What a contrast!

    I have taken a lot of impressions and memories back to Switzerland. One of the nicest: Tea in the desert, with the sunset over sandy hills, and story telling until the stars appeared, organized spontaneously by Amer, a perfume loving fan from Quassim, the area where they produce the biggest and finest dates in Saudi Arabia.

    The hospitality that I was blessed to experience is unmatched by anything in the past. Often I felt humbled and did not feel like I deserve it.

    Scent impressions: Many. The strongest. An Oudh, bought in the souq, a gift for me, bought from a dealer who does not sell oudh regularly, sort of under the hand, a dealer that is trusted as he sells to the family for decennials. This, the oudh, I wore during the event at Harvey Nicols where the L'Odore store is situated  (my sales partner in Saudi Arabia, with 6 stores in the country): It is out of this world.

    Yes, this oudh is inspiring and will make me dream of the Arabian desert for many days to come.

    Today's picture: The smoky, heavenly scented smoky, fire in the desert.

  • PHI-une rose de Kandahar

    PHI-une rose de Kandahar was on my mind this morning, standing on the balcony, looking into morning mist and realizing how the cooler temperatures silenced the birds.

    Some of them were fighting over the berries that are gleaming in a bright orange on the bushes around the house. By the time winter has come they will be gone.

    Water droplets were sitting on the dying leaves of my mirabilis plant that finished blooming a while ago. I collected some of the seeds for next year, in about 6 months.

    With all this in mind I started my day with Photoshop.

    Enjoy the season!
    License: <a href='http://de.123rf.com/profile_stefanholm'>stefanholm / 123RF Lizenzfreie Bilder</a>

  • An e-shop is a boutique, too

    at the Pitti fair in Florence, I was chatting with one of gurus in the industry.
    "You need a boutique", he told me. And on my objections that I am too small: "An online store is a boutique, too", he replied.
    And the why is answered by: You need to show your world.

    So there you go. Here's a part of my world: The happy bright bunny scarf is part of the Tauer world. I offer some of my illustrations (watercolor) as scarves, 95x95 cm, high quality 100% silk (for the experts: 14 mm), digitally printed which means "ecofriendly".
    You can find the other pictures here (just click through the gallery).

    I guess, my "world" is colorful.

  • the price of things

    There was a discussion recently, initiated by Luca Turin on his highly appreciated blog, on pricing of perfumes, with some discussion echoes online, such as on Now Smell This -for instance. Links at at the bottom of this post.

    Here, well, here follows a contribution on my blog. I am not sure whether it is particularly interesting to most perfume consumers: I learned over the years that consumers want to be told how luxurious the contents of a flacon are and how many roses found their way into there. But then: I am Swiss and we Swiss tend to be down to earth, sometimes. So: Let's talk numbers here, and not flowers.

    To help understand, let's clear the terms first:
    Distribution: A sales model where a producer sells  to a third party, the distributor. The distributor then sells to stores, retailers, etailers and does the marketing, the communication in the market, sometimes through agents. It is important to take note that a distributor takes the risk of buying products that might not sell.
    Retailers, etailers: These are stores selling to end consumers directly. Either buying from a producer directly or from a distributor. The retailer/etailer again takes the risk of buying products that might not sell. And retailers/etailers have high operation costs (salaries, rents, infrastructure).
    Producer: It is the maker of things, very often it is actually a network of companies and the end result is a packed and ready to sell product. The producer takes the risk of buying inventory , in perfumery it is 6-12 months lead time, which means the producer invests now into products that are sold in 6-12 months time, and the producer has the risk of investing work/overhead into the production of a product that might not sell and has to be discarded or discounted at the end of the day.
    Margin: That's the difference between how much a party paid for a product and for how much it is sold to another party.
    Profit: That's what is left from the margin if you subtract all costs that occur to make the sales. For instance: costs for production, for shipment, rent, electricity, fees, certification costs, insurance, ...There's profit before taxes and after taxes, but let's keep things simple here.

    Now let's look into the numbers.

    First things first: Distribution determines the retail price because at the end of the day a producer needs a profit. Why do you -as producer- want to go for a distribution model? There might be markets that you cannot serve directly. You might aim for higher numbers of sold products allowing you to buy larger numbers of inventory and hence taking avantage of economies of scale (the more inventory you buy the cheaper it gets). Or you might simply not have the resources to talk to all retailers bilaterally, directly.

    In perfumery, the regular model is: a coefficient of 4.5 to 5.5 goes to the distributor. This means: A product that is sold in stores for 135$ US: the distributor pays the producer 135$ divided by 5.0: 27$.
    Now let's put this into perspective with production costs. (I use European prices here. You can source in China, too. I do so, too, but where feasible I try to source from here, Europe)
    A semiautomatically produced flacon, made in Europe, costs somewhere betweeen 3.5 $ and 6$ , not landed (meaning without transport and taxes), depending on how many you buy and where you buy them. If you happen to have a packaging that is not just a cheap cardboard box: Production costs in Europe are maybe 2-5 $.
    Then you need labels, pumps, caps: Add another 2-3 $.
    All buying prices above: No blingbling, not fancy gold decoration.
    Add whatever amount you want for the perfume.
    Then add work to the equation: Sourcing, scent production, dilution, filtration, bottle filling, crimping (fixing the pumps on the flacon), labelling, putting things into the packaging, cellophaning, and doing the paperwork like dealing with authorities, preparing shipping papers.
    And now you do the math.

    Ideally, the margin should be somewhere around 50% of the distribution price. And ideally, the profit should be higher than 50% of the margin.

    Here my thoughts about all this: It would be easy to just say "don't do the distribution". But - at least for me- there are good reasons to be present in markets that only work through distribution. Or in other words: You cannot survive these days by selling niche/haute perfumery/low volume perfumery in the US, UK and Germany only. You need a larger client base.

    I can "afford" to offer a scent like air du désert marocain for 135$ these days because I have a mixed model where I also sell directly to clients and each of these direct sales makes a difference. I can also sell it at 135$ because I do most of the production myself (not everything, though), because I am blessed and know how to use photoshop, and illustrator, because I dare to deal with a lot of regulation issues without the help of external consultants, because I do all the logistics myself, because I am working in Switzerland with a liberal tax and regulation regime, and because I do not pay myself a salary that truly compensates for 60 hour working weeks, because I made a strategic decision to be there where I am with my pricing (there's a price to pay for a luxury positioning), and because I love doing what I am doing.

    The very moment I sell my company, prices will double.

    Links:
    Luca Turin's blog
    Now Smell This Perfume

7 Item(s)