Do You Have Enough Money
To Sell Your Own Perfume?

(Part IV of a five part series)

In a 1953 interview with Time Magazine, Pierre Wertheimer, captain of the Chanel and Bourjois fragrance and cosmetics enterprises, stated that he had no intentions of launching a new perfume because it takes years of work and $100,000 in promotion to establish a brand. All major perfumers, said Wertheimer, rely on one famous brand for 75% to 80% of their business. At the time, Wertheimer had TWO famous brands: "No. 5" (Chanel) and "Soir de Paris" (Bourjois).

Today, like all other perfumeries, Chanel struggles to establish new "famous brands". The costs of doing this have risen and the competition is more intense. So how do you ever hope to have enough money to establish your own "famous brand" of perfume? How much money will it take? How much money do you have?

This is a question you must ask yourself and answer very honestly. How much money do you have to promote your own perfume? The answer to this question is your starting point for developing a successful marketing plan.

To market your perfume successfully, you must build your marketing plan around the resources you have — not what you would like to have and not what others are spending. If you don't have $10 million to spend on marketing your fragrance, why bother with a plan that will require $10 million?

So let's say you only have $10 to market your perfume. Yes, TEN DOLLARS. Does this mean you CANNOT sell it successfully? No. It means that, for your ten dollars, you need to find a plan that will bring back your ten dollars with another ten dollars in profit. Now you have $20 to promote your perfume!

Slow? Yes. But practical, very practical.

To be in the BUSINESS of selling perfume — your own perfume — you have to make money with it. You have to look at your marketing program for the profit it will return. If you go over your head, you lose everything. So to be successful, you market your perfume in "baby steps" until your brand is known and the profits from your baby steps allow you to start taking larger steps that will yield larger profits.

Where, with your "$10", do you start?

For most people, the starting point is getting people to smell your perfume. Usually this means giving out some sort of samples. Small glass vials are a standard. There was a time when even the largest perfume companies used them, though now they've mostly gone to micro encapsulation technology.

The REASON you want to spend SOME of your marketing money to distribute samples is simply to get vital feedback. Do people think your perfume stinks? If so, you might want to end your campaign and save your money. Do people LIKE your fragrance? This is a hopeful sign. Now USE this positive feedback to SELL your fragrance to others — on a small scale, if you are working on a small budget, but this positive feedback offers you a "hook" that can help you sell your perfume to others.

What happens if you DO NOT have enough money to advertise? The fact is, if you are at the beginning and money is tight to non-existent, ADVERTISING may NOT be what you need. Taking your perfume on the road PERSONALLY, displaying it and selling it to friends, relatives, co-workers and even well-selected strangers may be exactly what you need to get the cash register ringing.

Your experience in selling face to face — to real people who pay real money to buy your perfume — may be exactly what you need to prepare yourself for selling on a larger scale. And, with this experience as well as the cash you have earned, you will be ready to take the next step in developing your business.

So how much money do you REALLY need to start selling perfume? The answer is, "very little" — IF you are willing to shoot for goals that can be reached with the resources you have available.


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