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  • cliché

    Today's picture shows you a little ( more or less post card sized) illustration that is one of the results of yesterday's watercolor class. Yes. It is very cliché. I painted it following a picture, and have no idea what mountains these peaks actually are. Maybe they are somewhere in the US?  No clue here: Any guess?

    So there we go: Cliché. I love them, we all do. They are all around us. There's tons of cliché when it comes to perfumery, and -sometimes- when giving presentations I feel like: Lets enlighten the listeners. Deep down there I am still a little bit a scientist. Thus, during the radio talk the other night, there was the cliché of perfumes and pheromones and how perfumes can be used by its wearer to attract the innocent, unknowing guys or girls. Cliché. Forget it.

    But then, we all love cliché, and why destroy them if we all love them.

    While travelling to the place where the radio talk took place (in a cool bar), I googled "perfume ad". Wow. Talk about cliché.

    Here's a nice "counter" cliché picture that I found there, too. I love this one. Here's the link. As I am not sure about the copyrights, I prefer not to publish it here, but please, check the link.

    "Cliché", is what I thought yesterday night, watching for some time Home Order TV (jewellery section), as I sometimes do before going to bed when suffering from restless brain syndrome. There is nothing more soothing than 15 minutes home order TV. It is like a church service. And they sell. That's a least what they tell us. It is selling, in the most professional way, and I bet: They are profitable. Which brings me right to the last point of this post: Amazon (still) running in deficit mode. How cool's that? There is nothing wrong with Amazon. From time to time I get stuff there, too. But here's the thing: There, in this industry, profit right now seems not to be that important. A classical cutthroat competition.

    One last point, so to say "something to think about for the weekend": Two days ago, when watching a show about money, a priest actually said something interesting, and it is sort of in line with me watching home order TV, and thinking "church service". The priest said, referring to `money makes the world go round`: Actually, this is heresy. So there you go. Have a great weekend.

     

  • belling deer and a rose flash update

    Today, en miniature, an aquarelle that is not finished, yet. It needs some fine grasses in the front. In about every 10th mid European hotel there is at least one picture of a belling deer in late autumn, or winter. A clichée. But I could not help drawing it. So there you go: Andy's deer in a misty sunset environment. Not belling, though. I think the "belling deer" is in the hotel rooms because one way or the other hotel guests are expected to like the picture. But how do you know? It is hard to say what people like and even harder why.

    Here comes Rose flash. What I got back, from the limited number of people who got the scent already: They love it. A lot! This is wonderful.

    If I say the "limited number of perfume lovers who got it": First it was a limited offering. And then, there were shipping delays and issues. Some of them are solved, some of these issues will be solved by me by simply shipping again. The Rose flash was back ordered for the last 70 orders. These back-orders ship now. Uff. And then we will see how the second shipment will work. Let's hope for best.

    You know: Rose flash was fun. It still is, and the world is wide and open there. For me, it was a fun test, of a couple of things. With rose flash, and other flash scents, I can come up with tons of ideas. I actually do come up with tons of ideas, there.

    But, again in order to be honest: We are walking up a steep learning curve here, and I have to admit that not everything worked the way I wished and that I did a couple of mistakes. The only way to get better is to accept the mistakes, learn your thing, and adjust properly.

    Lesson one: We got a lot of combined orders, samples and the Rose flash roll-on. This is nice, but I did not communicate properly that these two, samples and Rose flash, ship separately. This is confusing to many and I need a better way to communicate this. Or, alternatively, to streamline the process, offer Rose flash as product that can not be ordered in combinations.

    Lesson two: We picked USPS as shipper for the Rose flash, from my US warehouse. This did not work as it should. A lot of orders were not handled properly by USPS. I do not blame USPS. It might just be the way the system works. But fact remains fact: And evidence based decision making translates into a different shipper might be considered which ultimately will bring shipment costs up.

    Lesson three: We were overrun with orders and got more orders than expected, resulting in back-ordered product. The next time, we must ship more into the warehouse before offering the flash scent. And make use of my sales software tool: Manage stock.

    Thank you for reading all the way down here.

    Here's my facit so far: Rose flash is a great success, but needs a more integrated approach when offering it, in order to reduce the workload that comes with it. What I find fascinating, coming back to the deer, and me not knowing really why people love the belling deer motive:
    I was expecting that I get a lot of mails and comments where perfume lovers wish to get a little spray flacon, instead of a roll-on, for this perfume. I am still prepared to consider offering it in -let's say- 25 ml spray. Anyhow, I was prepared for all sorts of discussions about the format. But the world is full of wonders. I did not get any wishes for a different format for the Rose flash. So I wonder... maybe the roll-on IS the right format for a perfume?

     

     

  • autumn treats

    It is autumn. Not my favorite season, really, but with some treats. Like colored leaves. Great sunsets. The light (if there is light) being different and bringing out the colors in a different way, compared to summer's bright sun. The sun is gentler, but the colors are more intense, it seems.

    Autumn, usually, for reasons that are unclear to me, is the season where I create most perfumes. At least I did so in the past. November is the the creation highlight season in the house of tauer. I mentioned it the other day: These days vanilla is somewhere up there. Like tuberose, rose, sandalwood, ... vanilla is not easy, as everybody has his and her opinion on vanilla. Actually, nothing is easy. Except maybe if you do an extraterrestrial flower perfume, where nobody has an opinion yet. Like " yellow spotted Venus firedrake flower".  The yellow spotted one smells of course! very different to the red spotted flower. It is more mellow and its scent comes with a red smokey undertone as you would expect it for a firedrake flower, but it is less birchtar like and a bit more on the leathery side.

    So, yes: we all have our expectations. Me included. And me thinks: It is important to leave this common ground, from time to time, at least trying to make one step aside. For a creator, this is not easy, I feel, (the same is true for the perfume lover: We all wish novelties, but sometimes novelties need time to be accepted, because they are... different). From the creator's point of view: It is the trap of doing what you know how to do it. Somehow, you need to break the routine, and force yourself to look at things differently.

    When painting, there are a couple of tricks. For instance: Change the tools. I tried to do a "autumn forest in the mist" picture yesterday, using a spatula only to apply the water color. It was a test, and I used cheap paper (good paper IS expensive), and tried to apply a new technique to paint trees and branches. I failed, and washed off most of the color, using a lot of water, and a gigantic brush. The result is today's picture. Overall, it took me five minutes. The result is actually very interesting and demands for a repetition, on better paper.

    Translating this to perfumery can mean a couple of things. Like for instance using new material that you are not familiar with. Or using a technique that you have not used before, like overdosing a particular molecule that you never overdosed. And let yourself go, float freely, and be open for what you get. I was approaching vanilla (as a potential flash scent) as a theme more or less this way.

    The result? Let's put it this way: Interesting. Really interesting. To be honest: Me don't understand, yet.  Thus, I continue trying to understand. And while doing so, I continue worrying about Rose flash shipping in the US. A story developing.

    Have a great week!

  • lounge radio

    The picture today shows you a snapshot from the Tauer "factory". Labelling Lonestar Memories flacons with the ipad on the side, tuned into lounge-radio.com , putting labels on the flacons, one after the other.  A couple of "why" here:

    Why Lonestar: Because we run out of bottles sitting on the shelves. Having focused a bit too much on Gardenia, it is time to stock up on others.

    Why labels, and not printing: Printing comes with the advantage of being nice (as long as the print sticks), and the disadvantage of being complex to keep up with the printed bottles stock logistics. With labels, you are on the safer side, and can swiftly upscale and downscale production of a flacon.

    Why Lounge-Radio.com? Because music helps. And lounge-radio.com is a very little (niche) private venture of a guy, running his own lounge radio station. I think this is cool, makes a difference, is worth supporting, and if I do not like the music , then I switch to another internet channel. Easy going lounge keeps you moving, specially when doing somewhat repetitive stuff in the factory. Do I love to put labels on bottles? Not really. I do not mind doing it though. And as it is just a few hundred per batch, it is ok. But the plan for next year is to get some help.

    Next year means 2015. And next year, in January, means 10 years of Tauer Perfumes. In January 2005, I put Le Maroc pour elle onto the shelves of Medieval art&vie, the little bookshop in Zurich's medieval downtown. Amazing how fast time goes by.

    Also amazing: How long it takes to build a business from scratch, if you do not have millions to invest,  if you address a micro segment of the market, and amazing how long it takes to build a brand, an image, how long it takes to get known. Here, it took a couple of years to get out there.

    After 10 years, indeed, my perfume bottles and me got sort of known out there. And guess what: Being known and recognized as "brand" and person comes with a lot of aspects. Let's mention two aspects here:  It gets easier. I do not have to cry my lungs out to be heard. A lot of perfume lovers listen these days which is fantastic. Wonderful actually, and I am very grateful there. Another aspect;  Drolls and scribes are popping up -for  reasons that you cannot do anything against-, because you got onto their radar. That's why I have the anti-droll spray sitting next to me, all the time: One spritz and they are all gone, falling off my facebook walls like flies.

    10 years, almost, brought a couple of changes, you bet.

    Here's today's secret: On the blue wall in the factory, hangs a piece of paper. It says "in 10 years from now"...whenever an idea  pops up while listening to lounge-radio, where I want to be in 10 years from now, I write it down.

    I need to put up another piece of paper there, though: In 2015, I want to .... I really should start working on 2015.

  • routine

    A Swiss cow, water color on cotton paper, by Andy Tauer A Swiss cow, water color on cotton paper, as seen by Andy Tauer

    First things first: Today's water color exercise: a Swiss cow.

    I so totally understand why cows are holy in India. There is this stoicism that I adore. They sit there, on the grass and watch the world, how it changes in circles that close.

    When picking today's picture to the left - a foto of a perfume packed in brown paper,  an order prepared for later shipment, with a card saying "thank you!" on the back- when I picked this, I did not know about the cow, yet. The cow happened in between photo taking and post writing.

    But the cow picture fits perfectly. There is a difference between stoicism, (Webster dictionary online defining it as "quality or behavior of a person who accepts what happens without complaining or showing emotion") and routine (Webster defining it as "a boring state or situation in which things are always done the same way").

    Routine is actually dangerous. As nice as it is, to know your way, to see things happening and having been there before accepting them without much emotions, it is a slippery road. The other day, when I was on the computer, I got a newsletter from Shipwire, my order fulfillment partner in the US, who is shipping full bottles within the US, for me, by basically putting a sticker onto a prepacked box. I need to use this service, as I cannot ship individual full bottles through air.  The newsletter had some hints about good packing.

    Good packing in the sense of: Make sure that the buyer experiences your brand when opening your packaging; make it a great, personal and special experience! I thought about it for a second. I thought about how is it to get a parcel through shipwire, coming from Tauer. Not Tauer shipping directly.

    So I thought about my packaging of the bottle, and around the boxed perfume. Whether it is protective and stable: Check. All fine there.

    But how's the unpacking?

    A card saying "thank you!"? NO.

    A nice touch and feel after ripping off the cardboard. NO. (I wrap the boxed perfume in bubble foil, coming from a point where I am utterly worried about damaged perfume boxes. want to change this. Even simple brown paper is more inviting than bubble foil (see picture).

    A way to interact, an invitation to share the perfume, picture, whatever, on facebook, twitter, pinterest, you name it? Again: NO.

    Inside the boxed perfume: Yes, there it says Enjoy!

    So there you go: Since about 1.5 years I ship stuff into my warehouse in the US. Routine. I forgot to continue thinking about how we do it and whether I can do better. When I ship Gardenia from Sotto la Luna in to my warehouse end August: This will change.

     

     

     

  • not made for human beings

    After the usual Sunday jog and the obligatory near death coma afterwards, I read- as always, the Spiegel on the ipad last Sunday,  and an interview with computer pioneer Jaron Lanier about the internet capitalism and the imminent dangers there.

    Worth reading, in German, though.

    In a subtle way it was water on my mill: Social media are not made for human beings.

    Later in the evening, in the house of Tauer, we watched a talk show, sound on, in the small screen and the soccer match, without sound, on the rest of the screen. I watched the talk show about politics, but honestly: I was sort of lost there. I have a hard time listening to people talking about politics and seeing men following a white little round thing in the background, at the same time. Yes, I admit: No soccer fan here....(me). And, typical man: Not much of multitasking when it comes to TV.

    While getting lost in confusion between men running and politicians talking, Whatsapp beeped on the phone. Picking up the phone, I realized that I got 8 new friends requests on facebook. Rosita from Belarus. About 110% of all FREE SAMPLES please! come from Belarus these days (no offense to any Belarus inhabitant and perfume lovers). Thus, the Shakespeare question: Accept friendship or not?I mean: Do I know Rosita? And where is Belarus? There is no war going on in Belarus, hence we are excused not knowing details, right? Shame on me.....Actually, I think I know where Belarus is, and I was told it is a nice country. Thus, yes, Rosita, friendship accepted.

    One minute later, How are you? From Rosita. OK.

    Scrolling down, I come to a TOP 5 summer launches post, by one of the worlds most influential guys when it comes to new molecules and stuff. Published book author. Running a FB page. Thus, one of the top five is a scent where he was engaged heavily in designing and optimizing the formula, giving a helping hand to a micro niche house. Not that it matters, really, but on a more basic level: How cool's that? OK.

    My phone sends me a text message while my politicians discuss the state of affairs of my pension plan. No future there.

    The email blings. Amazon realized that I was searching for glossy printing paper yesterday. OK. They have printing paper, too.

    "Je ne peux plus", I said to the W-factor (watching soccer). Since the ex of France's Premier Minister went to the hospital after she found out that he was dating another woman (Mr. Holland, on a scooter, which I found so French and so nice, in a twisted way... I mean imagine an US president dating a girl friend, driving to her apartment with a scooter..) , and since it was said in the newspapers that she said "je ne peux plus*, since then I use it. Lessico famigliare. Love it. It is such a great first world statement.

    "Je ne peux plus", I said.

    "GOAL! ", I got back.

    "Look at the lovely rainbow outside", I replied. " the colors , so bright. not a full one, but beautiful". We both watched it. I took a picture. For facebook.

  • stampometric look at the world

    Today's picture: A detail photo of the very bottom of a commercial invoice made by Tauer, signature to the left, below the "preferential origin" statement, and the company stamp to the right. I also introduced a new tag with this post, "general craziness".  And stampometer.

    I am convinced that looking at the world through a stampometer (or custometer) helps understanding it. Both meters come also with a good prognostic factor, for instance for economic development of a particular country/region. An example (no offense to anybody anywhere): I face on a weekly basis the fact that customs in one of the larger countries in South America where people like to play football is out of control and super ineffective. Think: A sample set sits in customs for one month before being dealt with. Dealing with a 33$ value item often translates into asking pitiable inhabitants of this country to provide tax id etc.  The same applies for goods imported by companies. Guess what: I a world, globalized and with labor divisioned all over the globe, as an economic region, you will not unlock your full potential if your country is shielded by customs.

    I guess  one could start an investment fond and become really rich, using a stampometer-custometer approach.

    Other examples: Company stamps are 100% needed for some middle East countries. It does not matter how they look, what's on the stamp, all irrelevant. Completely irrelevant, BUT: The stamp MUST be in blue. No way if it is not. I'd assume that not even the normal bribe mode would help with papers stamped in red. Thus, I got sort of a company stamp, Tauer GmbH being the official name of the company that employs me. Yep: I am just an employee, like most of you. The stamp is simple, and in blue.

    And guess what: Since I have this stamp, I stamp everything that comes near it and looks like it might end up on any customs desk.

    Da Puff!

     

  • clouds and orange amberland

    Today's picture: A quick peek at some Orange Star flacons, in the "factory", after they got their labels on, and before they get the top cover, and end up in boxes on the shelf. I took it the day before yesterday, when filling another 200 bottles of this sappy citrus zest orange blossom amber gris loaded fragrance.

    Orange amberland!

    Not every fragrance is a true joy when filling it into bottles/flacons. Even when working really clean, with gloves, and dispensing 53-55 ml fragrance into pentagonal flacons (I am always filling my flacons with a bit more than I need to) using a 10 liter dispensing tool: You are exposed the fragrance. All the time. And as much as I love my lily of the valley: There is a point where these innocent white little bells just ring too loud.

    Orange Star, for me, never enters this loud territory. Thus, happy bottle filling there. The labels, mirrored on the flacon, were the reason why I took this picture. When taking it, I wanted to tell you that they come on sheets, some 50 per sheet, digitally printed, with an extra layer of lamination. The perfect lamination after search for quite a while...Having switched supplier about 3 years, I got a much better protective lamination, a better price, without the need to get thousands of these. And a reliable service.

    But when syncing the picture from my Nokia windows phone onto skydrive, optimizing it a bit in photoshop, syncing it into adobe cloud, to put it on facebook later and insert it into this post in low res, I realized that this picture might end up being synced into my Mozy cloud backup, too, and if I feel like it, I could put it onto a  few other cloud spaces I have access to and use these days. The time's over when I was searching for my data and pictures on various flash cards. I put them up now into the various clouds and here's the thing: Although everything's changed, things are the same. I forget about the pictures, and can't find them anymore if I need them, after a while.

    But then: I have never "produced" so many photos in my life like now. With every photo that I take additionally, they all become less important, in a sense. Data trash, synced with double redundancy.

    This is the difference to painting: Every painting added makes the sum of paintings more interesting.

    I guess, perfumes are like paintings there.

  • 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.

     

  • Day 18 of the advent calendar

    Welcome to day 18: Today, we look at the moon over Zurich and upcoming Sotto la luna®. And today, you can win a sample discovery set. Just leave a comment and you're in. Please make sure to visit my advent calendar starting page tomorrow, again! Because, tomorrow, we will have a bigger draw.

    Today's picture shows you the moon over Zurich, close to where I have the 2 factory rooms. I was driving there for nightshifts the other evening. There's always a freight train these days on the railway tracks. And my passage by the truck depot tells me that the holidays are approaching. Everybody is very busy.

    The picture is symbolic, and the full moon points to what is approaching next year. This year saw a couple of changes, some mentioned here:

    We got a new packaging for many of my scents, rectangular, practical, tin box still, but less sensitive to dents and easier to ship and stock. This is the last time that I want to change packaging dramatically....

    We got a new top, made from Bakelite, with my logo and , well, just looking a bit nicer. And bakelite refers to art déco and makes sense with the rest of my packaging.

    We introduced a new scent (Noontide Petals, that rocks in Europe, and does not really do well in the US) and we introduced  PHI-une rose de Kandahar, as a holiday special.

    Thus, next year will see a continuation of the consolidation and optimization. Some of the optimizations, you will not like, as it means to cut back: Offerings that really do not make sense anymore, services that I provide that are outdated, and changes in shipment policies. I will try to keep all scents in production next year, including Eau d'épices.

    And next year will see the next series of scents. SOTTO LA LUNA®, a line of fragrances, inspired by iconic flowers under the moon, will go live. Sotto la luna will start with Andy's take on Gardenia. Its launch will be in late spring, early summer. Can't wait...

Items 31 to 40 of 79 total