Saturday, March 5, 2011

Marketing Tips for New NBP's

Bringing It To The People

You've done all the work; you've learned Natural Botanical Perfumery in a few years of study, conceptualized your brand, printed the marketing materials, labels, business cards, created a newsletter, built a fabulous web site, launched your first few perfumes and advertised on Myspace and Facebook and all the peer studded groups, and Twitter'd until your eyes cross and . . . nothing happens. The droves you were anticipating, the web contacts, all the people leaving "You go for it!"  messages on your social sites, the relatives and personal friends to whom you chattered on incessantly about your business, not one of them shows up at your web site's doorway. Nobody is buying your perfumes! What do you do now?

You get busy. And local.

Showcases, workshops and lectures are in order. Contact local gift shops and high end spas and schedule a showcase or exposition for them, for their customers, or both.

What is a showcase? A showcase is where you display your perfumes and your perfume concept to its best advantage. A table setting for a showcase would include all your marketing materials; flyers, brochures, business cards and samples, as well as prominently displayed full size bottles of your perfumes. If you make other products such as soap and body oils, display those as well, making sure to place the products which you feel define your business most accurately in a place of honor, like in your hand and under the noses of your prospective clients. Offer beautifully printed discount coupons for first-time customers, and ask them to sign a newsletter sign-up sheet so they can be informed when a new product is released, where your next showcase will be scheduled, or where you will be conducting future workshops and lectures. You cannot rely on your web site alone to "get the word out" as most people live busy, hectic lives and don't have the time to keep up with you. It's your job to keep them apprised through regular newsletters.

Another venue in which to schedule a showcase is a local winery. If you use organic grape alcohol in your perfumes, a winery is a perfect setting for discussing both perfume and wine and their close associations.

What do you talk about at a showcase? Your perfumes and your other natural products and nothing else. Not politics, not religion, not news, just perfume and how you learned it, created it and how it would benefit them, your potential clients, to purchase and use it. Go prepared. Know your materials, the actual essential oils, absolutes and other raw materials used in your perfumes. Educate yourself with a little perfume history. Talk about the differences between Natural Botanical Perfumes and modern synthetic perfumes, the pros and cons. Be honest. Creating a fantasy is part of the allure of perfume, but don't stretch the truth or attempt to portray yourself as some sort of modern age alchemist. Be you. Be the passionate-about-perfume you.

Workshops are another way to bring the word of Natural Botanical Perfume to your neighbors. Workshops can be either elaborate affairs with 20 or more participants, or simple backyard garden soirees with four or five attendees. The price for admission into your workshop should be determined based on two facts: what the market in your area will bear, and what price you apply to your expertise. If you under price your workshops you may appear unsure or insecure in your abilities to teach or conduct a successful workshop. If you overprice it, no one will sign up. The best way to find future workshop attendees is through a showcase event. The attendees signing up for a workshop who have already been honored with a showcase already know what you're worth, so it's important to put on a really great showcase.

What happens at a workshop? Well, you teach. You teach perfumery your way. What you know. How you learned and how you create your products. You are allowed to hold tight to your secrets yet give enough information that the workshop attendee is able to create perfumes on their own. Again, ask the attendees to sign up for your newsletter, and more importantly, make sure they leave the event feeling as if they've learned something valuable.

Workshops can be scheduled at your church, at a local shop or store, a spa, winery, in a rented space if you're expecting a large number of attendees, or in a beautiful garden.

Lectures can be conducted practically anywhere a large number of people can attend. Your church, again, is a good space to lecture. Contact a local high school or community college art teacher and pitch your lecture. Many will be open to the idea of presenting their students with the concept of perfume as art. Not only will you be opening young minds to new possibilities, you may also be looking into the faces of your future apprentices.

Art Hops are also great places to lecture and showcase your perfumes. Nearly every city has an art council, contact them to schedule an event.

The possibilities for creating your own perfumed environment beyond the four walls of your studio are endless when utilizing these few tips.

"If the client does not have an emotional connection with the product, he is not likely to pay for it" Alex Lee, J'aime le Parfum - I Love Perfume! Blog writer~

Photo by Justine Crane; Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery Perfume Exhibition @ Blunda Aromatics in LA

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