Business Takes Over: Tweaking Our Card

As part of our promotion, we’ve made a card, in panoramic format, showing all the perfumes and eaux fraîches together. It turned out to be far trickier than I had anticipated. The colors of the oud and amber need to be carefully controlled. The amber kept coming out too red and the oud came out pink. While I’m a Photoshop purist and prefer to control color with global commands, the oud and the amber required careful masking so I could control their hue, saturation, and contrast individually.

I’m also working on ambient shots such as of the lab, me working, etc. These will be used on the website. The website is being changed because we changed the labels on all the perfumes.

Meanwhile, we’re putting our sample kits together. We have large kits, built into wooden wine bottle holders, that we’re using to present to important clients like department stores. A smaller kit, with sample sprayers for each of the perfumes and eaux, we’re going to give to smaller venues. Last, we’re selling sample kits—simple sets of sprayers in glassine envelopes.

In the midst of all of this, a problem has cropped up. I was showing the vetiver eau fraîche to a friend and there was no odor. As it turns out, the water included in the formula was somehow absorbing or neutralizing the vetiver. I’ve now re-bottled using alcohol only and seem to be having no problem. I’ve also changed the violet leaf and am using a more expensive brand—from Enfleurage in New York—that also has a deeper green color. The violet leaf is expensive to make because there’s a fair amount in there. Before I can use it, violet leaf and vetiver tinctures must be blended and allowed to settle in a tall narrow container to eliminate particles of dust and other impurities. They are then “racked” off (In wine parlance, racking is the careful transferring of wine from one barrel to another), leaving behind sediment with each transfer. In this way, moving from beaker to beaker, I avoid filtering which can eliminate aroma components.

When anticipating a given amount of business, from almost zero (in my darkest moments) to a big hit with a big department store, I must make enough product to answer any demands, but at the same time not such much that I grow broke on inventory. The trick, of course, is to be ready for any eventuality. If we were to get a large order, I’d need to hire assistants immediately to help with labelling, boxing, etc.  I don’t want to be presumptuous or hubristic, but one must be ready for good things as well as bad.

People have been bugging me to work on a floral, but with my new ambergris almost ready and all this business stuff, I haven’t had time. Spring is on the way and with it some aromatic flowers that I can work on duplicating in the lab. It’s much easier to work with real flowers. It reminds me of painters you see in European museums, copying masterpieces.

I do have a few ideas for future eaux fraîches, but they depend on how the current examples are received. In any case, this is the big week in which we begin to distribute our product.


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