Tauer Perfumes

design

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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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thanks

July 14th, 2014

Welcome back! Here’s to a new week, with fragrant treats!

This week will see me getting the house in order, praying that my tomatoes survived the cold wet weather in healthy state and did not get a fungus infection, and getting some other profane things done.

And it will see me mixing another rose, because I love roses so much.

And it will see me getting some labels out to the printing company, fresh from the Adobe Illustrator. One of these labels is a simple sticker and I just sent it off to the printer, and in about 2 weeks I shall get 1000 of these on a roll:

A label saying “thanks”, on dark blue blackground, with the tauer logo. Nothing else. No “follow-us on Facebook” no “do this, do that”.

A simple thanks and the link to the brand.

What for? I want -midterm- that every order leaving our house, or the warehouse in the US, is wrapped in simple protective kraft paper, not wrapped in a gift-wrap style, but still wrapped. You get the idea. And I want that each wrapped little pack goes out with a sticker. I want this to be the entry point into the brand.

Why?

First, because there are about 1000 reasons to say thanks! to my customers. I have what feels like 200 different stickers and labels. And none of them says thank you. Thus, it is about time to change that.

Then, and this is important, too: We live in a world of too many choices. The only way to stand out these days is by trying to provide the better product, the better service, the better communication, the better place to shop.

Many try better price, too. Discounting, offering free this and that. In the end, this will not work. I think you need an excellent price-quality ratio. (Check)

I think it is ok to add free samples, a little gift such as a soap or an extra goodie here and there.

But I have a zero discounting strategy in place for the actual products, throughout the brand and implementing it on partners. I get tougher there. Start running a discounting strategy for my products and you’re going to be out, midterm. Because: Once you pop, you can’t stop. In the end, you basically educate your customer that the real price, that they should be willing to pay, is less than what they are used to pay. It is called conditioning. And, one fine day, your valued client will hopp off, because another guy in town offered more discount.

 

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COLOGNE du Maghreb

June 18th, 2014

Today, after me packing more Colognes in tauerville yesterday, a word on the Cologne du Maghreb, and an illustration of the cologne flacon, as seen in the factory yesterday, digital.
Sooooo…. the cologne: First a couple of links pointing to reviews. Have fun reading about summer bottled!
Gaia Fishler at The Non-Blonde
Jodi Battershell of Fragrantica
Samantha at I Scent You a Day
Vanessa at Bonkers About Perfume
Kafkaesque at Kafkaesque
Grant Osborne at Basenotes
Lucas at Chemist in the Bottle
Mark Behnke at Colognisseur

You see: We did some promotion there. Or better said: We offered samples to bloggers. More reviews are to be expected. When I send samples, I never ever demand that bloggers write, nor that they write positively. I wish so, of course, as we all do not like to read unpleasant articles about our creations….

I mention this, as I was thinking about the cologne as a perfect example of communication, and communicating or not and what happens if you have a product in a store, and what not.
The cologne du Maghreb was for a long time in two stores only. I offered it two, three years ago, as test, and as there was some demand. I did not offer it on my store, nor did I promote it really. Although, don’t get me wrong: I think it is one of the best cologne out there on the market, whereby I mean  REAL colognes, not perfume camouflaged as cologne. This cologne comes at a concentration of 4%, all natural, handmade, in low numbers. Of course, I am totally, 100% biased and not fair. Anyhow, it is a wonderful product for a great price, really, yet this was and is not enough. (you remember the 4P: Product, Price, Place, Promotion). Assuming that the place was right, it was Promotion that was missing. It needed help. Promotion. People talking. Perfume lovers chatting about it. The press publishing (we can dream, can’t we?)….

The days when the circle of niche (artisanal, indie, whatever) fragrances was small enough that the pure existence of a scent was enough to make it known, to automatically have the word spreading, these days are over. In a sense, 10 years ago, there were exceptional circumstances, of a market emerging, with consumers being on the alert.

Promotion, of course, means much more than sending samples to bloggers. Like said above: We are talking about press, pictures, and and and. The goal: Getting out of the corner.

And this is the end of my post: You know, sometimes I fall into a state of stasis, when I see how much money pours into promotion by brands, be they niche or not, and what effect it has. It is brainwash money. Used very effectively, coming with the desired result. Like an article in the NY Times, about that everybody seems to talk, highly agitatedly, without realizing that it actually is just a perfect marketing piece for a larger store chain and their new fragrant products, repeating facts that were like that since always as news

Here, being niche in a niche in a niche, I can’t really do that (pour money), but at least we can try to be smarter. Although: Not easy, really.

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winter vegetable and seeds of love

June 4th, 2014

Here, I am listening to “Tears for Fears”, because it is just perfect now. I picked it this morning in Zurich together with today’s picture that shows you what sits next to my PC keyboard this early summer morning: Organic kales seeds. I will sow them right after this post (can’t wait!), and -if they grow- plant them later in summer in aluminum cans that I re-use these days in some sort of urban farming attack here in the house of tauer.

You remember: I planted a couple of tomatoes end April/early May in used 25 liter alcohol cans (here’s the link to this post). In the mean time they got quite big and it is pure joy, every day, to visit them and touch them and see them growing. It will take a while until the first tomatoes are ripe, though. Since this was fun, and as  I had a couple of other cans and boxes  that I did not use, I expanded the planting and sowing to zucchini, herbs, cucumbers, and beans. The beans just sprouted, and do so in 12 liter aluminum cans that I used for perfume storage, cut up, and hung up on a wall next to the house. Andy’s hanging garden, like the W.-factor said the other day (my partner), a bit worried about more pots and plants popping up on a daily basis.

Right: More’s to come (rucola!). The kale needs to grow in summer for a winter harvest (one of the few vegetables that you harvest after frost days in winter).

I am happy with my plants growing, and I am happy these days with the world of perfume. I started sowing 24 months ago. My first formula for the Gardenia fragrance is dated May 12 2012. Now it is June 2014, the labels sit in a drawer and after the holiday weekend, the first bottles will get their gardenia decoration, the files list in my computer grows for the registration of the first scent of the sotto la luna® line in Italy, the trademark protection is done, the scent is done, the packaging is ready, in a few weeks the first emails go out to retailers, in a bit more than two months the first bottles can be bought, samples will go out.

Wow. This is so exciting. I forgot how exciting this is! And I forgot how much work, the last mile is the hardest. Thus, I need to get into higher gears, now,… (kicking myself into high gear mode).

And, guess what: Yes, I am sowing the fragrant seeds for 2015 and 2016 now. Although I am pretty much convinced that the markets, both perfume and financial, will have crashed by then. I guess I do it the Luther way: “If I knew that tomorrow was the end of the world, I would plant an apple tree today!” (more on that here…)

Here’s to a fragrant harvest.

 

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a mystery story around rose the Kandahar

March 27th, 2014

a mystery story around rose the Kandahar or “Mr Andy, had the scent is what features?”

Today’s picture: a quick photo of a dried rose that I keep in my room where I compose and draw,  taken from beneath, with flash on, a quick phone photo. The rose has still kept is color, even the leaves kept their green, although they are dead since about 2 months. This rose is one of a bunch of roses that collect dust and will never bloom again. I find them very inspiring: it is  a memento mori. You  know: Remember that there is death and act accordingly. I chose this motive as I am going through sort of a detective story these days and weeks around my rose de Kandahar.

For those of you who just came in: PHI-une rose de Kandahar, last year’s special in the Collectibles range, was a super success, much more than anticipated. It underlined the rule that there is no rule.

It brought me into troubles, as I had not planned a success and did not have a plan A for my perfume loving friends living in areas where I cannot ship to. And my retailer business partners. I am still feeling sorry for not being able to serve them. whoops! And then, by the time the message got really out and spread (this needs time), then I was  already sold out. Thus, a lot of clients who could not smell it, test it, get it: Everybody in Italy, almost everybody in Europe, Russia, Australia, and and and.

A word on getting the message out. You know: I am a one man enterprise, 1.5 men to be honest, and my means to spread news and information are rather limited. I have zero communication budget and cannot afford to hire a PR company to tell a story. I have to 1) do it myself and 2) rely on my perfume loving clients and friends to spread the message. And, as I am a one man show, I do all the other communication channels myself, like  Facebook messages.

Like: this message that I got this morning as direct message in my inbox- out of context: “Mr Andy had the scent is what features?” Another mystery story. But a funny one.

So there you go: Une rose de Kandahar, the name of my scent created around and inspired by rose essential oil from the Nangarhar region. I decided to name the fragrance de KANDAHAR, though. I have zero stock of this scent and cannot produce more rose de Kandahar, except if I`ll find more rose oil, in good quality, from this region, where a project by the Welthungerhilfe is supporting the rose horticulture in  Afghanistan. For the record: I love the idea of planting roses instead of drugs in Afghanistans valleys, but the rose de Kandahar is not a charity scent.

Anyhow. Imagine how happy I was when my supplier of this rose oil, a Swiss intermediary doing the quality check and making sure that the thing is the real thing and organic and all, when this supplier told me that the producer in Afghanistan found more of the rose oil, harvest 2013, like 100 gram or more. Buy it! I said within a nanosecond. Get it! Now!

So I placed the order that complemented a standing order for the 2014 harvest, which happens in May, I think, and needs further work , like reduction of Methyl eugenol. And then: You do not know how much they get and whether I am the last guy getting anything. Ah well. So I placed the order, happily.

As I run out of green glass flacons for the Collectibles, I was on the edge of reordering more of these, too.

Happily I waited, a couple of weeks,until I got a call from my supplier, telling me that my 100 gram rose oil had been sold, although the order was placed, got there and my rose oil was almost shipped. Almost.

But almost is not for real. So there we go: Waiting again….Now, that this part of the rose story is over, I can talk about it. But this whole story was a reminder of not telling stories to early: You never know what might go wrong.

Rosy greetings from tauerville, where we happily play with Bourbon geranium that is so much easier to get than roses….

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Taucherli

March 13th, 2014

Today’s painting (digital, done with ps) shows you what we call “Taucherli”. Swiss German often uses diminutives for a lot from dog (= Hund, Swiss German Hündli) to house (Haus, Huus=>Huesli) and well, “Taucherli” from the verb tauchen= dive. Little black water birds that dive for food. They crossed my way, sort of, when I was  riding home with the bike after a factory afternoon. Every day, I pass over the river Limmat and as the sun was going down, the houses reflected in wonderful colors in the river and the Taucherli were  right in the middle between the reflections from the river’s banks in gold and the greyish-blueish water.

A wonderful moment that I tried to capture with the phone (did not work really) and captured in digital paint this morning.

Of course, as it is spring, we have two Taucherli there. These days, ducks et al are super busy defending their territory and trying to find a mate. What an effort for a short moment of joy…

When painting, less is often more and one -I think- should try to leave things out, like the undefined right bottom corner in the illustration; stop before you plastered it all with colors and lines.  On the other hand, towards the “end” -whatever this means in painting- every line added more sometimes helps to provide depth and contrast and brings out the scene or picture.

A contradiction, right?

In perfumery: Same thing. When to stop?

Like: Place a brave dark line with cistus. And let it sit there, not covering up, not fading it out, not rendering. Just have this line in the base and leave “white fragrant space around it”. And then, contradictory, to what you just did: Work on other central lines by adding more, finest hints, like traces of aldehydes, a whiff spices, a hint of this and a dash of that. They all add up, like fine lines on a painting, and might make all the difference.

This came to my mind this morning, remembering me checking the Vetiver Dance formula yesterday, as I need another batch, in some time. I haven’t checked the formula for quite a while. The head of this scent is amazingly complex. A lot! of fine lines. Don’t ask me whether they are all needed, and whether I might do Vetiver Dance the same way today. I think not. I feel that I tend to leave a little bit more room in my scents these days.

Having said that: No progress on a couple of trials (vanilla scentric) so far. … when to stop, that’s the question. But there is time. Have a great day!

 

 

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In need of another card going with shipments

February 27th, 2014

I did not run out of the fragrance PHI-une rose de Kandahar, but I run out of the printed cards with the PHI-bottle illustration that looked like that:

I still have some of the No-14 Noontide Petals illustration cards, but it is about time for a new card, in flyer format, 300 gr per m2.

I might use the air du désert illustration that I did yesterday before packing a bunch of these in the factory. Here’s a detail cut out of the illustration that I did on a cotton aquarell paper, in flyer format. I forgot to sign the illustration. Before getting cards printed, I will have to do that.

Detail cut out of the illustration, showing air du désert, and the moon rising over the desert.

I think two or three things here are important:
First, it is the moon rising over the desert, as I imagined the scent of air du désert marocain in the early evening, laying on a bed in a hotel, with the air from the desert coming in and carrying the scents from the streets of a Moroccan city.

By the way: I love how the colors play there and merge. This detail gives you also an idea about the coarsness, and the structures that you get through the paper, and the way the color is applied.

Details…

Second, I use these cards to go with each sample shipment, explorer set shipment and some full bottles shipments. Each card gets signed and gets a “hello” or something.

Third: The next flyer card after this will probably be a Sotto la Luna illustration of Gardenia. But the flacon labels are not ready yet. I guess I will make a Gardenia flacon illustration, featuring “Sotto la Luna” , in summer. We are still waiting for the test run of the labels for Sotto la Luna. … we did the test with the most complex label of the three: Hyacinth, which will be launched in 2015.

So you see: We are getting organized. Sort of.

 

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at tauerville waiting for and painting of: noses

February 5th, 2014

Here, in the house of andy, we are still waiting for a couple of things. One of the wait, being on the somewhat annoying side, is for the nose. Although a cold generally is a banality and annoyance, but not more, the nose is still somewhat dimmed down. From time to time, flashback like a whiff of something hits it and promises the end of darkness, like a whiff from the gardenia concentrate on the paper strip. More on that one soon…

so, we are waiting, and while doing so, we are sending out newsletters, pack shipments in the factory, and paint, which is very instructional, in a couple of ways. Today’s picture shows you a cut-out of a larger full head picture that I did on the cintiq, painting from scratch, using a model (photo).

The instructional part here: When painting some anatomical details, like the fine lines on the eye, with the transitions from black to white to black, or on the lips, sometimes, one single 2 pixel line could change it all. Painting digitally means that you can zoom in and out like crazy. Zoomed in, you make a little 2 pixel width line, of maybe 20 pixels with (on a total scale of 3000 pixels). Think: Nothingness.

Zooming out again, you realize that you changed the way the complete picture feels. Amazing.

Of course, you, being the painter, realize it more than a neutral or interested observer. You can pinpoint the melancholy in the eye or the sensuality of the lips to one enhanced line. The observer might just get a different feeling about a picture, not knowing why this is. That’ s maybe another instructional part there.

Thus, coming back to the paper strip with the concentrated gardenia scent: Yes, a few ingredients that are in there in sub percent levels, finest lines, make a huge difference. Like cyclal C, from Givaudan,  at 0.06% in the concentrate. They matter for me more than for you, probably. I am still a bit blindfolded, zooming in.

 

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hightlights upcoming

January 27th, 2014

Today’s picture is one of this weekend’s highlights. Very little blue bell like flowers sitting on a stem, a litte spring greeting. In real life, their size is about 3 cm and I do not know their name. They sit in a pot, in the warm house and bloom while it is grey outside and uncomfortable. I took a picture, using a macro lense, with the sun shining into the little bells, from behing, worked on it a bit with photoshop and just love how the light plays in the little bells.

We are not really a 24/7 company, but still: Weekends don’t mean no work, really. But, besides work as usual, photoshop was my distraction this weekend, with a sketch here and there and a few pictures, still trying to learn more about all the goodies this piece of software offers. Amazing what a few extra layers can do…in the end, however, the more I work with photoshop, the less I believe any picture.

Another highlight, upcoming, will be a meeting with my design guru this week, discussing ideas for the labels of Sotto la luna: gardenia. I have sent some text, such as notes and allergens, and realized that besides the visual presentation we will need to come up with a decisive way of writing “sotto la luna gardenia”. Large letters, small letters, double point, you name it.

When I started, with Le Maroc pour elle, or Lonestar Memories, I was not really concise: You find all possible combinations, from le maroc to LE MAROC. Does it matter? Not really. But I remember that -to my amazement- there were some discussions online about the deeper meening of it all. So there we go: Learning, and trying to get things done a bit better. The same is true for launches, by the way. This time, I want to make sure that all retailers and clients worldwide get their gardenia from Andy more or less at the same time with more or less the same information.

Having said that: Ultimately, what matters, is what’s inside. So there we go: Another January week’s ahead!

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tuberosa a Zurigo

August 13th, 2013

Today’s picture shows you a tuberose plant, in baby state, still, seen in Zurich about a month ago. Today, the same pot is all covered with green leaves and the Zurich perfumer hopes every day to see the first tip of a flower bud appearing. Our summer is very short and it took a long time until the tuberose plant would sprout. Now, it is still in the state of growing leaves. Let’s hope there is a nice August and September ahead, allowing for a nice bloom. I planted a lot of tuberose bulbs in May.

If there is not enough time in late summer for their bloom, then I will need to compensate and spray a bit more generously my latest tuberose trial that I did for a while for the Sotto la luna® line. As all the trademark registration work is done, and as I am talking about it since a very long: Time to move on there.

The scents are more or less ready. Three of them. I feel sort of comfortable with them. Gardenia, hyacinth, tuberose. Each of them with a twist.

Next is the decision how to present them, how to decorate the flacon and for which price range to aim, and the timeline.

On decoration and how to present the line: I know exactly what to get done there. I will need the help of my super design guru, though.

Pricing: Here’s one message that I learned, knowing that I cannot turn the wheel back in time, like it or not: the price tag and rarity of an object makes for a good part of its attraction. So, I have my ideas there, too.

And the timeline, well, well. Initially, I figured that I can present the line in autumn this year. But, I feel that this is not possible. I think it will be early 2014. Ah well.

Anyhow: I just wanted to update you. The next steps will be: Getting a quote from my guru to be able starting the decoration work on the/for the flacons, soon. Fitting with the scents, I want to go a touch more extravagant.