Tauer Perfumes

Land Your Inventory Early, and a rose de Kandahar crime story

October 23rd, 2014

The guy poking his tongue out at nobody (!) in particular, this might be the devil of logistics. The rest of what you find in today’s quick sketch: No idea, really. It was a procrastination exercise a couple of days ago.

Well, maybe it is comparable to Odin’s ravens: Bringing the news of the world. Here’s a the wikipedia article to this mythological picture. Thinking and looking into my sketch again: Actually, my figure has one eye only, too, like Odin. So there you go: It might not be a devil, but rather “Odin, the furious one” (link here).

Odin hrafnar  (By user:Ranveig (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

So there we go: my sketched raven actually brings you news.

First things first: PHI-une rose de Kandahar is going to come back. Yes. Uff. It will be end November, though. The closer you are to Switzerland, the earlier probably. By December 1 PHI-une rose de Kandahar should be back in the US, in the stores, on the shelves, too.

Yes: I made enough to offer it to most stores, also Italy.

I haven’t been talking about this rose de Kandahar that’s sold out since early this year because, well… because it was a logistics and sourcing nightmare from A to Z. I will go into some details next week, I guess. Some of the details are interesting, as they highlight the troubles that you run into when you, a brand, tries to do things differently. You know: Rare raw materials, hand made flacons, exclusive packaging… so there you go: Next week more’s to come.

And then: I got my shipwire newsletter this morning, telling me to “land my inventory early”. Specifically: Before November 20. Shipwire runs my warehouse shelves in the US. Not that it is entirely new to me, but… suddenly, suddenly, it is there: The shiver running down the spine. Oh, my …the holidays are coming! And like every year: We are not entirely prepared for it, yet. Time to get into “land your inventory early”-mode now. Off we go to the factory. Packing perfume.


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me, before the presentation

October 22nd, 2014

…in glamorous environment.

I took the mirror picture in the rooms where members of the circolo dei lettori in Turin can come, sit, read, be. Basically a public reading room, open for members. Stunningly decorated rooms, full of history, uncounted read books lingering in the air.

I took the picture before my presentation. After the presentation, I was a bit tired. Being out and presenting what I do, my world of scents and my values is always tiring, and drains a lot of energy. Tonight, there will be another appearance, by Andy. A radio show, a new format, on the Swiss culture radio channel SRF2Kultur, to be aired in May 2015.  Maybe the discussion will be aired end October, 29th, too. And… it will be fun! The topic is seduction, and we , a couple of players in various fields, will discuss, in a bar in the evening, which is cool. Here is the announcement of the event, on the Galicia bar’s website.

In German, seduction translates in “Verführung”, and it goes back to “führen”, guiding. “Verführung” basically comes from guiding someone from here to there, whereby there is a place that might have slightly negative connotations. You know: Guiding someone towards a bit slippery territory, shady area. Perfumes can for sure seduce. But so can perfumers. And marketing guys working for perfumery companies. Seduction to buy….

I think, a very simple approach to seduction by perfume is: With perfumes, you can reach out further, attract somebody, like a flower attracts by its scent, from a distance. It is like creating a scented sphere around you, telling the world: Here I am and I am smelling interesting. And nice, hopefully.

But maybe seduction by perfumes means also changing one’s body odor, and thus bemusing, puzzling the counterpart, hiding your body’s scented messages.

I am looking forward to tonight’s get together. Very much. And while labelling bottles today in the factory, there will be ample time to muse about seduction.

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the Italian way

October 21st, 2014

I am back home from my trip to Turin, where I was given the opportunity to give a talk about incense, in my perfumes and also a bit in general that is. The presentation was in the framework of the “circolo dei lettori“. For those of you who speak Italian (I don’t, unfortunately): Here ‘s a short overview in the Italian newspaper STAMPA.

It was fun. Before starting with my presentation, with the hundred or so attendants already in the room, ready to hear my story, I burnt some incense. That was a first for me. The idea was to create a mysterious and scented environment for my incense talk. I think it worked. There was smoke and it was a nice entry point into the world of incense. One of the points in my talk was the fact that incense in perfumery actually means “olibanum”, extracts of incense resins, made to use in perfumery and cosmetic applications. So yes: perfumers normally do not put the resin into their creations. We work with the steam distilled extracts, or Carbon Dioxide extracts of Boswellia serrata, in the case of Incense extrême and Incense rosé.

It was a wonderful opportunity. And: Italy is different. Italian perfume lovers are different. There is this incredible appreciation of all things fragrant. There is the appreciation of artisanal perfumes. And there is a curiosity that I always find amazing and lovely. I feel very much at home there. And, just to mention this, too: Turin has about the highest density of perfumeries offering rare perfumes. I visited 4 niche perfumeries, offering rare and selective perfumes, all within a radius of 1 km, in the center of Turin. How cool’s that? And if I say niche perfumeries: I really mean niche. Rare. Selective. No xyz (your favorite pseudo niche brand here). There really IS an appreciation for artisanal indie scents.

No wonder, Italy is the country of slow food, too. It all fits together.

Coming home, I decided to have a culinary phase-out, and cooked us a nice tomato risotto. And as October was mild and felt mostly like summer: I used my niche and rare tomatoes, home grown by me, in my little urban farming experiment, pampered through a wet summer in Zurich.

And there again: Good things in life are simple. Today’s picture shows you part of what went into the risotto. It does not show the red wine (just a bit) that goes in there, the cream and the cheese that follow towards the end (Parmesan, of courses), and salt and pepper. In general, I would say, the Italian cuisine is simple. Simply the best ingredients that need to be given some time to cook. And some imagination. Et voilà. (a starting point for a recipe, for instance, you find here, in the NY times.)

The same is true for perfumery. Just the best ingredients. Time and some imagination…

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before I leave: Now Smell This read for you

October 17th, 2014

Before I will leave for Turin, leaving stormy Zurich, for hopefully sunny Turin, I have a read for you. Not too long, but interesting and nice, at it puts things into the right context: Please visit Robin’s Now Smell This blog (click here) and follow her thoughts on Gardenia sotto la luna. And feel free to share your thoughts there, not here.

Does she love it? No, not really super mega enthusiastically. But that’s ok. What I love about this particular review: It puts this fragrance of mine in the proper context.

I feel understood.  This feels good.

And now: Off for Turin. Talk to you soon again. Have a great weekend!


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hurray, hurray: An office day

October 16th, 2014

Today’s blog post title actually rhymes. Cool. I should do more like these. It is an office day, from A to Z, after three days in the factory. Today’s picture shows you what I did there yesterday: Orange Star. The picture shows the last step before the flacons go into boxes: Putting the tops on. This is after filling, polishing, putting on the black o-rings (cache pomp like) and the labelling the best part. Then I am done with them and can forget about them for a while.

So it is an office day, and hurray: I have sent around 100 mails with track and trace links as rose flash update to perfume lovers who ordered back-ordered rose flash a while ago. Things seem to look a bit better than for the first round and I just hope that they will all go out smoothly, and do not need any more interventions from my side.

Better not, as I will be travelling tomorrow until early next week: Turino, I am coming. What I will do there? Make a few sketches if time allows and give a talk, a talk about incense. And how I use it. All in the great super exciting wonderful context of the Circolo dei Lettori. Here’s the link. I was to busy in the last few days to get nervous, but now I can feel the adrenaline kicking in. The talk will be Sunday. so there’s time. I will bring some different incense extracts that I use in my scents, like the CO2 extracted Boswellia serrata extract, from India, extracted in Germany. And maybe one non incense extract that I use in Air du désert marocain. Why this: Because, well, because in the dry down of this raw material (labdanum essential oil) there is quality that reminds of incense. When back, next week, I will talk in a radio show, about scent and seduction. To be aired in May 2015. Exciting, too!

So talking about incense. When going through my incenses and picking and smelling my labdanum essential oil (a speciality really, a steam distilled oil being standardized by adding some of the residue that remains after distillation…. yes: It makes a big difference!), when I smelled these next to each other, I thought that it might give a nice combination. Lots of incense, and much labdanum essential oil. Some ambrox to add lift. A woody leathery note, maybe cypriol that most of you know from oudh fragrances these days, and maybe a hint of …well, this I do not know yet. This is how I find my best ideas. Smelling raw materials and coming up with a four or five liner as fragrance. What follows next is the roaring machinery of optimization and redoing trial after trial.

But the office day is not over yet. More mails are waiting, going to suppliers, trying to find solutions in my super complex supplier chain machinery. Not easy, a challenge quite often, but in a certain way a rewarding challenge.

Have a great day!

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belling deer and a rose flash update

October 15th, 2014

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?



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October treats

October 13th, 2014

A perfect autumn day, that’s what we had here in Zurich yesterday. The sun was shining, a gentle sun, after mysterious early morning fog, trees in change from the everyday green working dress to the colorful negligees before going to bed soon. Yesterday, getting up shortly after 5, I learned that the birds are already whispering at this early morning time, before the sun shows up really. I was happy enough to spot one of the last bats Sunday morning, flying around the house before going to bed.

It was a happy day, and aside from a few mails and an order here and there, I did not work much on Sunday. Saturday saw me finishing a larger retailer order in the factory, and preparing some Air du désert marocain for this week’s packaging orgy.  Today’s picture shows you a pile of boxes, filled with “air”. October is usually one of the busiest months of the year, and this year seems to make no exception, which is nice. It is a turning point in the year, for me, here in Zurich; I usually go into a different mode in October. Sort of “let’s face it, no way out, winter and darkness is ahead. let’s get out of here”.

So there you go: Every year I am determined to get a daylight lamp, strong, to be in brightest light when the sun does not show up outside  in time with my activities. This will be the first winter, when I do not need to be determined anymore. I got one. Quite a while ago, used to take photographs of flacons et al. It may be a bit weak, though. Maybe I need to get one, a daylight lamp, with a lot! of lux, nevertheless.

On the other hand, October and November often are the most creative months in the year. There might be a link between the light fading and the brain coming up with ideas. Who knows?

Thus, tonight, when done with the work, I will do one more little trial on the vanilla theme. I have a version that I love, to be honest: But I want to understand it a bit better. It is better than the formula tells me. So you see: I just need to do one little test more. Vanilla and October go well together, anyway.

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five shades of Rose

October 10th, 2014

Here’s a great post written by Raluca, on Fragrance Daily, about my roses, titled “Five Shades of Rose from Andy Tauer“.

On of the roses featured: Rose flash. Raluca describes the Rose there with these words (and more) “has a concentration of 20% and is by far the heaviest and sweetest rose Andy has ever made. The composition is dominated by a noble and highly concentrated rose absolute which literally blasts on my skin. A delightful embroidery of sweet nuances floates around the majestic rose, adding him shades of peach, amber and a warm Bourbon vanilla bed to rest in the base”.

I invite you to follow above’s link for the full article. It is very flattering.

Thus, today’s picture: The print-ready picture of the label that I created for the Rose flash: Very simple, and with a lot of information that needs to go on there. Although Rose flashed was not sold in Italy when I offered it: I prepared the label with all the information necessary to do so, if I ever want to offer it in other markets. In a sense, it was a test, whether I can put everything on there… If I ever go towards high quantities, I might always do a label that can be unfolded.

I have not made my mind up what to do next, though. Because: Right now PHI-une rose de Kandahar sits on top of my priorities. This rose de Kandahar was also featured in Raluca’s article: Enjoy! Next week will see me providing a few more details what happens with PHI -une rose de Kandahar here at tauerville.

Thus, this is the cliffhanger for next week.

Ah, and yes, if you are flying SWISS the next days/weeks: Make sure to check out the on flight magazine. There, on page 5, you find a cool picture, of Pascal, the shop owner of Medieval art&vie, where he sells my scents in Zurich. I will fly in November, but I guess by then this edition which features Zurich as destination will be gone and replaced already. And here’s a cut out of page five… Enjoy your Friday!


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before leaving the factory

October 8th, 2014

… I took today’s picture. A quick shot of what I left behind, from the middle of one room where I pack things in my two room factory. You know: Two rooms are actually not enough anymore, but I try to keep my overhead and every day running costs down. This is important. I work the same way in my private life. No debt, no big every month costs. Basically, I want to be able to “survive” for a while even if nothing comes in. You can only do that if your monthly obligations are low: Hence no bank credits for tauer perfumes, nothing is ordered that I cannot pay for right away, even if the world would collapse tomorrow.

This brings a lot of freedom. The freedom to walk away every day, just like that. But of course, it comes with the handicap that you grow slowly, only with the means that you earn in your daily business.

Anyhow, this is the picture of what I left and where I go back to this afternoon in the factory. A lot of boxes, three shipments are ready. Here, in the (office) house of tauer I will have to prepare the commercial invoices and shipment papers once I am done with this post. What you also see are two glasses with colored water. I use these in the factory to paint. I try to do so before leaving, more or less every day. Quick sketches as there is always work waiting at home.

I do not give myself a lot of time for these sketches. My watercolor teacher told me that I tend to “do too much” with my pictures. Hence, forcing myself to finish them within a couple of  minutes, like 10 minutes or 30 minutes max helps. A little bit it is my private rewarding program, too. For the best (the only) employee of the day….The packing is done, and the goodie is a watercolor distraction.

Ursula (thank you!) mentioned in her comment yesterday that I should change, hire folks, to have more time for creative ventures. An interesting thought: I wonder whether I would be more creatively productive if I had more time. Working under restrictions helps. Sometimes.

Rose flash, for instance, was born in June, as a distraction, after work, without much time to “do too much”. Not that it is minimalistic as fragrance, though.

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How shipwire does not help me build my business, and an apology to my clients

October 7th, 2014

First things first: I owe many of you an apology and you will get an email from me saying exactly this: Please accept my apology that your Rose flash ordered did not arrive yet. I know, it is a week now and I am very sorry and do my best that you will get your order. The reasons: It is quite ironic and somewhat sad, but unfortunately true that my order fulfillment partner in the US, Shipwire, together with USPS, did not get many rose flash ordered out, yet. Actually, the samples that we shipped in parallel from Switzerland arrived in the mean time. Shipwire is located in the US.

This information is based on what I see in the shipwire system and USPS’s track and trace.

Shipwire, in the past, was very liable. Thus, I am all puzzled that exactly now, when doing a sales of ROSE flash, things don’t move. This is especially sad as we had new clients ordering the first time from us: Not a nice experience.

Unfortunately, I do not know why this is. I have a lot empathy for a lot of things that can go wrong. Sick collaborators, systems crashing, too many orders at once overflowing the system: All fine, but as order fulfillment partner you need to talk.

Thus, the facts of what I see: As far as I can tell, the orders were handled by shipwire and “completed”, meaning that the shipment label seems to have been created and the product is ready to go to USPS.  But – based on what I see- the products did not go to USPS. I get a track and trace link to USPS in the shipwire system. There, on USPS, for the majority of orders, it says “shipment label created”. But since October 1, when shipwired “completed” this part of the process: Nothing happens.

Based on the shipwire and USPS system: The Rose flash orders did not move beyond being “completed” and me being charged by shipwire for handling and the shipment.

You get it: Me, Andy Tauer, is sitting here in Switzerland, on my chair, between the shipwire and USPS chair, and the only thing I can do is trying to get in touch with Shipwire. I did so through their support form that I used in the past and always got an answer within a day. Not this time. No answer.

Hence, I sit here, in Zurich, in the dark, and get mails from clients asking about the products that they paid for.

So, what do I do now?

I go manually through the entire list of orders on shipwire. Click on every track and trace, check the status. If nothing happened with the shipment based on the USPS information, then I copy the client information back into excel, building a list, for a later email, and in order to keep track of what I -in the worst case- have to ship again, just to make sure that folks get what they paid for. It is time consuming and tedious.

I will have to talk to each client, asking them to let me know if they got it or not.

Thus, when I am on the shipwire website and read “Shipwire helps grow your sales while reducing time, cost and complexity” it feels a bit like a joke.

And I am worried, as I have almost 100 ROSE flash flying over the Atlantic right now. They are supposed to be delivered to the clients who ordered a “back-ordered” ROSE flash. What will happen there, with these orders? Based on what happened with the first batch of orders, it might turn out into an Andy Tauer shipwire horror trip:  I will be super busy next week, travelling, followed by talking in a radio show, giving a presentation afterwards, and with lots of pre- xmas orders: I simply do not have the time to continue following each order, and build excel files. Actually, what I experience now is exactly how it should not be like. Quel horreur, as the French say. (I could add another story here about my French suppliers, but reserve this for another post…).

“But you have the time to write this post?”, you might add. Right you are! It fulfills several purposes: I wanted to apologize as I feel so sorry for my clients who spent their $ and do not get what they paid for in a reasonable time. And it helps me to deal with what I cannot change.

In the end, there are a couple of lessons I am learning these days.

In order to finish this post with a happy note: Today’s picture shows you a highlight (of yesterday): I got myself a little chair. I got it online at Spatz.ch  It is not the my chair where I sit between USPS and shipwire, but it is for outdoors, for camping and when painting in the wild. I ordered it yesterday online, and it will arrive today. Or tomorrow.

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