general thoughts

Items 31 to 40 of 138 total

  • uiuiui

    "Do you carry your life in this backpack?" , asked me a friend a while ago while we were walking around in town. Sometimes it feels like that. I usually carry paper, pencils,water color, and a box with tools with me. And a pad, a keyboard, some brushes, glasses, adaptors, and a couple of other things that I am too lazy to unpack. Yesterday, after the weekend, I had everything with me, except for the watercolor palette. The most important part was missing. But, necessity is the mother of invention: I used the stuff that I had in the tools box together with black ink to muse during the lunch break in the factor.

    While I was inventive in the factory (see today's picture) I was listening to the radio where an economist, specialized in economic history, talked about Greece. uiuiui. Sometimes, in all the news about billions and quantitative easings and Troicas and more, we tend to forget that there are actually people living there, in Greece. The bottom line of the interview was: No chance for Greece in the Euro currency, except there is an economic union that goes far beyond what folks have these days in the Euro currency area. Because of many things. And another bottomline was: So many suffered and will continue to suffer beyond believe. He actually made the comparison to the great depression in the 30-ies and yes, Greece is there, on that level.

    Irrelevant of all the politics and obligations and rules and laws: so many suffer and it makes me feel sad. You know... no job, no hope, no future.

    And the Greek are not the only ones. There's a tectonic shift happening these days; it happens slowly, over years, but it happens.

    I mention this here, as besides all the painting and sniffing and mixing, I am running my little business here, in Switzerland. And whether we like it or not: I am sitting on these shifting tectonic plates, too. And, yes, I feel the tremor.

    Already in 2014, I was looking into building tauerville, anticipating further changes, opening a gateway to another galaxy, where I can continue to create and offer my creations, in an easy approachable way; easy approachable for both, me -the sender- and you -the recipient-. When doing so, I was evaluating a lot of options: First, it was clear that at least part of the production needs to be done by someone, other than me. Thus, I was looking into production in house by hiring someone, production in France, in Italy, in Germany, in Switzerland, ... and in the US. The US won.


    In house: I did not want to hire, rent more room and take the responsibility for a person here in high wage Switzerland.

    Italy: Too complicated. Just the idea to get perfume oil (the concentrate) over the border is a nightmare. It is sad, but it is that way. And: Do not even think about getting a company established in Italy.

    France: Too expensive. I mean way too expensive.

    Germany: Reliable, a real alternative, but: I have little trust in the EURO zone, and midterm, I expect production costs in Germany to go up, comparable to Switzerland's level, but at a lower productivity level. And I was worried that getting a company established there is not that easy, in comparison that is.

    In the end, I decided for the US. It makes economical sense to ship stuff there, get bottles filled there and packed, and ship part of it back. And I have my US company established there already (I did so 2013, with the snip of a finger, within 24 hours). This is all TAUERVILLE. Not Tauer Perfumes. But it is a start, a beginning, to get ready for the tectonic plates shifting even more.

    What's the bottomline of all this (thank you for reading all the way down here): I am really sorry. I so wished to provide job(s), for instance in Italy, on a very small scale, but still... But I can't. Because the market in the EU is far from unified, because it is too expensive, and because it is too complicated to deal with.

    Actually, this part of the post today is very sad. There is a happy note, though. Everything's changing these days, and I might reconsider tomorrow. Necessity is the mother of invention. And those who know and follow me.... After ten years bending and stretching and adapting: We got super flexible here.

  • so tired of perfume as an art

    Sundays, I always go for my half marathon jogging, not really ambitiously running for any time goal, but happily enjoying the fact that it still works and that I'll get it done.  In the second part of the run, the way the mind works sort of changes; maybe it is oxygen, maybe it is endorphins and other hormones: It gets sharper. During these last miles, I usually think about all that happened the last few days, mails that I got or did not, articles and posts that I read or did not, invitations that I got and did not answer, perfumes that I did not create and perfumes that I want to create. And I cut through most of these thoughts with a icecold knife.

    Like me telling the sales rep in the Zurich department store's niche hacienda what I really think about art in perfumery and why I could not care less about art in perfumery these days. Or me talking to a couple of trolls out there, cutting their egos down to the size of their brains.

    You get the idea: Towards the end of the jogging you get a bit bitter, also with yourself.

    Thus, as I mostly do not like what I have created during the week, I come up with plans to do better: Get a better hyacinth picture done that pays real tribute to what the flower is all about.

    Or redoing the hyacinth base because it is not what I really wanted. Actually, this I did Saturday. I simplified, switched the balance of a couple of ingredients and went brave with benzyl acetate. Benzyl acetate means: Sweet! Heady! Alarms ringing! Crazy flower!

    The base I was talking about last week missed the point. Missed my point. Not that the base is not good. Trust me: It could easily be bottled, and sold under big  letters declaring this perfume as an art. So you see: I am so tired of perfume as art; I guess this is my starting point for a scented week with a lot of joy and smiles ahead: Forget about perfume as an art, don't look for it in department stores, it will never make it there,  but look out for joy, here and there. Not more not less.

    Towards the very end of the run, you're meeting paradise. All the troubles seem gone, and there is the happy little post-it note in your brain telling you that it is all over son. And that the new hyacinth base might be alright in the end.

  • a wow! morning

    Good morning today, right from the factory. I was heading down here early in the morning to be up and ready for the glass fiber guys who want to install glass fibre. Not that I had asked for it: The fibre just comes and then it is up to us to decide whether we want it activated or not. I won't because I have 4G, air.

    So I am sitting here, writing this post, and wait as the cable guys did not appear, yet. Ah well: It will be a busy morning here and later in the afternoon will be another painting class.

    It's going to be a great day. It already started with the perfect sunrise, painting the far away mountains in gold. On the other side, there was the moon sitting in the neighbor's tree.

    Definitely a wow! morning.

    When back home in the evening, if all goes well, I will make more Rose flash, diluting prediluted stock. Rose flash turned out to be a troublemaker, when going larger volume. The concentrate, without ethanol, is rich in solid matter and resins and sticky glue is what you could call the concentrate. No chance to get it all dissolved and aliquoted. Therefore, I had to do 50% pre-dilutions of the concentrate. I had this sitting for a while, making sure it all disolves properly and aliquoted part of it. This 50% super perfume concentration will need to go down to 20% (part of it already did). What's 50% perfume like you might ask: Well, it is dark-red. It is amazing, beyond IFRA really, and a drop of it keeps you going for a LONG time.  Not that I want to offer a 50% perfume, really, but I can never resist there: Putting a drop on, just me, privately.... the heck!,  superperfume!

  • 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!


  • Your average Friday morning

    Here's my average Friday morning picture.

    To tell you the truth and nothing but the truth: Friday, I am usually tired. And happy that this part of the week is over. Which is sort of strange, as I rarely do not work over the weekend. But heading into the "factory" Saturday is different: This Saturday, for instance, will see me getting some pictures done, of PHI-une rose de Kandahar, just hero shots, but still.

    About todays picture: I shows you what I always do, early in the morning. Smelling something (And drinking coffee); usually, like in this picture, it is a scent strip that sits there for a couple of days and I see /smell how it is developing and how long a particular effect is there. You remember: Paper scent strips are like turning on the slow motion for a perfume. This picture is from the left side of the bench. The right side looks like there was a brown bottle tsunami coming from behind the computer. You see: I want my experiments near me, and am no good in cleaning up.

    What's next? Right now, waiting for the postman, expected to bring me raw materials for some experiments over the weekend. Then: preparing the palette for the next shipment going south, and waiting for the Fedex man picking up parcels. And while doing so: getting more scents into boxes. Yep: We are super busy these days.

    Totally unspectacular, but still super exciting. Have a great Friday!

  • magic realism

    Today's picture shows you my part of the stand at Pitti Fragranze, 5 minutes after 6 pm, Sunday September 14. It is empty as we started packing things after the fair was over. It is always amazing how this glitter world of Pitti falls apart within minutes when it is all over. All the golden flacons disappear. The high heels click clack towards the exit. What is left is the scent of a thousand perfumes, lingering in the air. The aftermath of Pitti is always, well: Troubling. After 3 days of living in a perfume bubble, talking, spraying, more talking, hugging, 3 days of taking pictures, of discussing notes and retail business, distribution factors, packaging, labels, after 3 days of living in the twilight between art and business, it is all gone within a couple of minutes.

    All perfumers leave, friends, clients, hug buddies, all gone. It is a moment of relief, as it is a bubble and the conscious self knows that it can't go on forever like that. It is a moment of sadness, too. A little abyss. It doesn't last for long as there is work before Pitti, work during Pitti and the work-up after Pitti. There we are right now: Following up on the contacts. Trying to cluster what I have seen and experienced. Trying to remember what was said.

    "Magic realism", that's what a client said when she smelled the Gardenia sotto la luna.

    How cool is that? Perfect! I wish I'd come up with that. Magic realism is perfect. Shortly after the client left, I was talking to a befriended perfumer who visited. He brought it to the point: The problem with Gardenia in perfumery is the gardenia that sits on the shelves.

    After Pitti is before Pitti. This perfumery year is (almost) over. Almost, as there is PHI-une rose de Kandahar, hopefully making another appearance in November. The only puzzle piece left there is the green flacon that should march into the factory end September; we hope so at least. Almost, as the work for Gardenia has just started. And for a few other things. We will see.

    Today, I got up at 4 (am), to finish entering the soap "plush GARDENIA" winners into the shipment system of shipwire, my US e-commerce fulfillment service provider. The happy winners (20 of them) will soon find a little soap bar in their letter boxes. And yes: this soap is not for sales. Sorry. And I did not do an European draw: It was US only.

    Why? Because I have the logistics and shipment infrastructure in the US that allow me to do so. I do not have alike in the EU. My company (Tauer Perfumes LLC), incorporated in the US, my warehouse: All not that easy in Europe, if you are not living in an EU country. Why is this?, you might ask. Well, I guess, one answer might be: What I did within 24 hours in the US, online, getting a company up and running, would take quite a while in many EU countries.

    And, although we always talk about the "united" market of the EU, with the same rules everywhere: it does not exist really. Sending perfumes to Lithuania is different then sending them to Italy, and different compared to the Netherland or the UK. Different rules, different papers needed: You name it.

    But still: It is somewhere up there, in my mind, to also build an EU Tauer logistics infrastructure. Why? Because I see the signs on the wall.


  • implosion

    Good morning and greetings to you. Today, I will try to answer a question that I got yesterday: Why I feel that niche is imploding, and not exploding. The picture in this post: A photo of an ad that made me dream: A train ride over the Bernina, in a full moon night. I will upload it on pinterest, now. For Sotto la luna.

    Wikipedia defines implosion in the following way: "Implosion is a process in which objects are destroyed by collapsing (or being squeezed in) on themselves. The opposite of explosion, implosion concentrates matter and energy. True implosion usually involves a difference between internal (lower) and external (higher) pressure, or inward and outward forces, that is so large that the structure collapses inward into itself."

    I think this definition is correct. The answer to the question "why implosion" lies in the perspective. If you look at the niche market right now and place the clients of niche in the middle of the system, clients buying niche in the middle of the system, then you see: The market is imploding and in destruction mode as the internal pressure by clients (other words: buying power, need, interest) is lower than the external pressure, coming from new brands and products. More and more niche brands head towards a client base that does not grow really, and with more and more products pushing into it, the niche market will collapse. Collapse means: The system gets unstable, brands disappear, clients move away from niche, and some brands will move forward, outward. And then, things look differently.

    Signs on the wall, for what happens these days, are there. Discounts, comments by perfume lovers, sales figures...

    I actually can directly feel it too: There used to be a time when I was visiting perfumeries and was anxiously expecting news. I haven't visited a perfumery with real interest, really, in the last few months. But I have my brands that I follow. There I am loyal and keen; but most of what happens these days goes by unnoticed by me. Why is this? It is because I got disappointed too often in the past. And I cannot take anybody seriously anymore who launches more than a couple of fragrances at once.

    There are a couple of brands who counteract: They do not move inwards (towards niche clients) but move away (towards the more mass market). Like Dyptique.

    Worries here? No, not really. It is just an observation that things change and a seemingly stable system is starting to move.




  • a couple of good news

    heading off into a week, we do so with a couple of good news for the coming weeks. Hossa!

    I registered for an aquarell class, hoping for some technical advice, and cheerful hours, starting end August. I can't wait. Today's picture shows you an aquarell that I did yesterday, after the usual Sunday half marathon jog, after chilling on the couch; basically it shows you just that: Me chilling.

    It also stands for me having decided for a summer break, a biking trip, starting somewhen towards the end of the month. The goal: Chilling, and catching up, and getting ready for autumn's busy schedule of launches and events.

    For theses (launches and events), here's the next good news: 500 boxed and packed Gardenia Sotto la luna in the factory. 400 samples, all ready. Heissa! These will start shipping in September.

    While biking through middle Europe, there will be ample of time to muse about what's next. For Sotto la luna it is clear and decided: Hyacinth will come autumn 2015 and my beloved Tuberose will follow 2016. But there's more in the sketchbook of perfume formulas. I met with a dear friend on Saturday, presenting some (finished) experimental scents, discussing how they might fit and whether they are any good. You know, as a creator, you are always very insecure about your creations. Let''s say: Creators are worrying much too much. The verdict: Great stuff! Great! From a creation point of view these experimentals seem to be fine. Having said that: The market for scents, be they niche or not or indie or not, this market is oversaturated. Thus, I am not sure what to do. There is time.

    I will have to make tough decisions there. Biking will help. That's the plan.

    More good news: I got the confirmation for a couple of orders that I needed to place the last few days. 5000 more bakelite tops will reach the factory mid August, from a factory in Switzerland. Imagine: Bakelite covers made in Switzerland, not in far east. Love that idea!  The same number of pumps for the  pentagonal flacons, and pentagonal blue bottles are more or less secured, too, and more sample vials. One of my biggest worries, not being able to fill bottles and ship them because one part is missing: Gone! Heissa.

    Thus, we head into a week with stock secured, but -unfortunately-  no stable Azores high visible in the south yet; but we do not worry about that yet.


  • DO's and DON'Ts

    Don't ask me where the "right" and -pleasing to the eye- appropriate apostrophes should be in today's post title. You find all sorts of recommendations for the apostrophes online; I picked one that goes with my esthetics. Today's post picture is inspired by what you get to see in airplanes: few do's and a lot of don'ts.

    So here's today's DO: spray 1-4 times, lasts for 12 hours. Works for most of my scents, as they tend to last for a long time and as they are quite potent. For most of them a good spritz is enough. Some may require 2-3. I think 4 is about the max level for most of my scents.

    I feel a series of pictograms coming. Don't ask me why: I think pictograms are funny.

    I might have to come up with one for students  in their final year, looking for a job in the house of tauer. The other day I got this by email. "Dear Recruiting Officer, blablabla.... wondering if there were any opening with the Marketing Department at Tauer Perfumes....blablabla..."

    Here's the don't: Do not apply before having done at least a one minute research about the company you are applying for a job. Please.

    To end this post with a happy DO note: When it comes to perfumes, do as you like. There is no gender boundary, no age boundary, every color and every shape might work. Just give it a try! I wonder how this pictogram might look like. Although: I learned that for many, gender is an issue and I get quite often questions about which scent is for men. Tricky one. Thus,  I see an unisex pictogram coming, and a do not spray in mouth, eye. Or better: Spray here and there, but not there. And a pictogram for "wait for one hour before scrubbing off", and one for "do not blind buy this one", and a few more.

    Here, I am getting ready to start into the new week. Curious what' s it going to bring....


  • important in perfumery: content.

    Today's picture shows you one of a couple of reasons why I did not post yesterday on my blog: I got a lot of work to get done. In this particular case: We got more boxes, and had to kind of reorganize the one room in the "factory" where I store ... things. Things being boxes, labels, paper, you name it! Planning stock is not always easy: You never know how much you will need tomorrow, thus I have to plan with some overlap, hoping that the room can hold all the boxes, or flacons. What you see in the picture: It is the left back corner of this room where I store boxed things, it shows you part of the boxes that hold the boxes with the boxes that got delivered to us yesterday.

    In a moment, I will head for Belgium, for a meet the press (and perfume lovers), and to get out of this stocking room feels actually very good.

    There, in Belgium, I will have to talk about perfumes and me and my perfumery and what makes it special and what is important in perfumery. And as always: I was thinking about this for a while. Thus, with perfect timing, I was sooooo happy that this "problem" is solved. It's perfect!

    This morning in the newspaper:
    Asked by a journalist about "what was important in photography", highly awarded Mary Ellen Mark -highly awarded and well known photographer working in her very way- answered "content".

    Thus, what is important in perfumery? -Content.

    And here's the thing: "Content" has a couple of levels and meanings when we are talking about perfumery. It is just a great answer! Content. ....

    I am ready to hit that plane.  Have a great day and see you again over the weekend.




Items 31 to 40 of 138 total