making of

a lot of steps until a scent is on the shelf

Today’s picture:  A wrapped, sealed, boxed fragrance, freshly poured and polished and labelled, ready to go into shipment boxes or onto shelves. Yesterday was like super busy. Today, it will be the same and then we hope for a gradual slowing down towards the end of the week. It takes quite a few steps until a scent gets onto a shelf, and -to some extend- every step comes with the potential distress of blocking the production for instance because we are running out of stock of whatever.

It starts with the production of the scent and ends with the packing boxes for larger shipments. In between, there are other objects like labels or top caps : no stock and a production comes to a halt. Just getting more stock might be an option but this blocks too much cash (provided you have the cash to start with).

Since I am doing this, packing fragrances, I learned a couple of lessons and switched a lot of suppliers. I have developed zero tolerance there: I rather get a different colored bottle, for instance, or completely different cap, or labels or whatever, than running into troubles with production. And I learned that a lot of pieces are better produced and customized by myself than eternal suppliers, because I am more reliable than some of my suppliers were in the past. Of course, being a small fish, you end up at the bottom end of a supplier’s to do list.  Over the years, I have a hand-full of suppliers and business partners who have passed the test, and I happily work with them. Sometimes, it is also a decision against a particular design idea or concept: Often, when designing things, you are branching out, bringing in new bottles, decorations, labels, concepts, and when producing things you want to limit the variety, have as little as possible items to order and keep as few as possible inventory alarm levels in the back of your head (or excel). Again, there too: I learned a few lessons.  But then, every day brings new ideas and you add more “things”.

It is like a circle, repeating itself: You reach out, diversify, complicate things, add complexity, and then you go back again, you try to reduce complexity, and simplify. And while doing so you come up with new ideas or you are forced by whatever power to adjust and raise complexity again.

Today, I am meeting someone from Fedex. Fedex, is one of my service suppliers, I really like to work with. So we will have a look at an idea or two, bringing in indeed some complexity. But, having learned my lesson, I might rather do some tests, first.  (to be followed…)