Starting a perfume business combines artistic personal expression and business know-how, and if approached correctly, it can result in an excellent profit margin. In-depth knowledge of chemistry and science is not necessary. All that’s needed is the desire to experiment with various scented essential oils, the ability to research wholesale suppliers of the necessary materials and the willingness to establish resale contacts or put in the time and effort for a sales website.
Draft a business plan for the perfume business. At a minimum, include a mission statement; statement of initial goals; statement of three-, six- and 12-month goals in terms of a desired number of product offerings; the desired number of retailers reselling the products and desired cash flow; and financial forecasts, including startup costs and budget, income, profit, loss and cash flow statements. Constantly update and tweak the business plan with real-world numbers as they become available.
Investigate perfume recipes
Investigate perfume recipes, or make distinctive blends by purchasing some small sizes of essential oils in fragrances that are of interest. Spend some time getting familiar with the scents. Start blending scents together, make notes and through this experimentation arrive at a few favorite scents to mass-produce.
Research perfume bottle, tester bottle and sample vial wholesalers and the designs they offer for each type of container. Choose a bottle shape and size to represent each of the fragrances, and contact the wholesaler that supplies this bottle. Ask how many bottles/units are required for a minimum purchase and how much that minimum purchase costs. Also inquire about the tester and sample sizes. Arrive at an agreeable price for all the containers required and place an order.
Design a logo to represent the business, and incorporate the logo into a range of promotional materials. Make mock-up business cards, a promotional brochure, a label for the bottles and an ingredient list to hand to potential resellers. Print these out or order their production from a print shop.
Formulate whatever other packaging is desired for the perfume to make it a finished product, like boxes and bags or other outer wrapping. Find wholesalers for these items, inquire about price and then place orders.
Fill the bottles, testers and vials with the various fragrances intended for market. Fix the labels to the bottles, then arrange the bottles in any additional outer packaging.
Investigate options for a sales presentation display case or carry mechanism, to appear professional and organized when making cold sales calls on potential resellers. Also devise a small commercial display for retailers that agree to resell the product.
Create a website
Create a website, regardless of whether sales via the site are intended. An informational and promotional site is just as important as one intended to generate sales, because it’s a tool to establish the perfume brand, promote the company and help in generating a comfort level with the offered perfumes with potential resellers as well as consumers.
Take into consideration all the money spent on the above steps, including the variance in price of the individual essential oils used to make the individual scents, then arrive at a price list for the scents in the perfume line. Print or order professionally printed price lists to include with the promotional material and ingredient lists provided to potential resellers.
Make a list of retailers that fit the image desired for the perfume. In other words, if the perfume’s image is intended as exotic and rare, target higher-end, more exclusive boutiques that retail designer clothing, shoes and sunglasses. Include day spas. Eliminate retailers such as department and convenience stores. Either call the target retailers in advance and make appointments with the buyers for these establishments, or physically call on them without an appointment and ask to speak to the buyer at that time.
Decision on the bulkness of what to produce
Decide on a company to mass-produce the scents that are the final choices for the perfume line. When interviewing these potential mass producers, ask if they also handle packaging. Discuss pricing for contracting part or all of the manufacturing and packaging costs, including minimum orders and the price per minimum orders. Arrive at a contract that fits the needs of the business at this stage of its development, and incorporate an option to expand the contract as sales and demand increase.
Expand the perfume line’s exposure by finding perfume, aromatherapy and day spa trade shows at which to present the line, as this is the way to gain access to the mass market. Design a display booth, order plenty of each piece of promotional material from the printer, register for a few shows and man the booth for the duration of the shows. Keep plenty of testers and sample vials of every scent in the line. Encourage people to try each perfume freely, and give away plenty of sample vials, cards and brochures. Keep all business cards and follow up with a phone call with additional free samples one to two weeks after the show. Fill any orders received from the shows promptly by calling the contracted mass producer, placing the order and having it shipped directly to the reseller.
Continue to develop new scents, refine your product line and promotional material and update the website and the business plan.Ultimately consider courting mass advertisers such as QVC and various international equivalents to sell the line directly via mass marketing.
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