Developing an idea for a new perfume...
and how I'm going to sell it

I've mentioned the Etsy store I've been setting up as a research project. Regardless of what you may think of Etsy, for me it has providing some inspiration and giving me new energy. We can all get in a rut at times and, by forcing yourself to interact with a platform entirely new to you (to me, in this case!), fresh insights and ideas get pounded into your head and, if you stick with the program, you find old skills refreshed and new skills acquired.

Marketing online can seem overwhelming, even if you've had marketing experience, but Etsy guides you – and requires you! – to provide the minimal essential information needed for your goods to be purchased; so that a sale can be made from your store. Beyond the minimum requirements, Etsy prompts you to add additional content and links to your store to make it search friendly for both Etsy and Google. Merchandising tips help you make your store attractive to visitors.

The inspiration and energy I mentioned above came as I began to develop my Etsy store. I was reminded that I should be taking those same promotional and merchandising steps on my own website and through my social media. I felt like I was being mentored by Etsy because, when you're a small – or very small – business, you find yourself pulled in multiple directions and too often you're pulled away from the most important tasks by small tasks that, aside from making your feel you've "done something," don't do much for your sales or profit.

While I'm not eager to get back into the business of shipping merchandise – daily trips to the post office with tubs of orders – doing the setup work on Etsy energized me. All of what can be found on my Etsy store can be found elsewhere. The books are available at both Amazon and PerfumeProjects.com. My fragrances are all available at PGLightyears.com. But it struck me that my Etsy handle, "Unnatural Aromas" – a name I came up with on the spur of the moment, wasn't synchronized with the PGLightyears.com site. This prompted me to take two steps. (Are you following this?) First, I added a big "Unnatural Aromas" headline to the PGLightyears site. Then – very important – I registered "UnnaturalAromas.com" as a domain name so it would be available to me should I want to set up an independent site to mirror what I'm doing on Etsy.

But there was another important inspiration – two meanings of "unnatural aromas." The first is a bit of a slam at those who insist that their fragrances be "natural." Before the advent of synthetics, the range of materials available to the perfumer was limited. You would find yourself creating the same, or nearly the same, scent over and over again because the number of available naturals was small, and now many of the most historically important naturals have been banned due to ethical or health considerations. Meanwhile I plunge ahead with the "unnatural."

My inspiration from the name "unnatural aromas" may be even more to the point. A handful of my fragrances are... a bit "oddball." My fragrances for men don't follow the unwritten rules for how a man's fragrance should smell. My women's fragrances definitely do not follow the rules for "ladies" perfume. Many of my male, female, and unisex fragrances are quite... "unnatural."

So now, thanks to my fussing around with Etsy, I'm working on gathering up the more "unnatural" of my fragrances and promoting them as a collection. Currently that collection has three fragrances with unquestioned credentials (Blackberry, Xotic, and Mimosa) but I'm already planning a new fragrance to become part of this club.

You might ask why I continue to develop new fragrances rather than just hammer away at those that are already finished and bottled. The answer is, I love to explore, to find new fragrance ideas, and to develop new smells that, while they might be "unnatural," are nuggets of beauty for those who can set their prejudices aside and embrace that which is different.


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Philip Goutell's Signature

Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.