Thoughts for the New Year

Each year as January 1st approaches we tend to look back at the previous year to see what we accomplished and set some new goals for the upcoming year. I completed quite a few of the goals I’d hoped to achieve last year, though my To Do list is always a bit longer than what can be squeezed into a year.

One big goal for last year was to design and produce custom boxes for the perfume bottles and switch to professionally printed labels. I moved away from the oak tree logo and took on a botanical theme with a jasmine vine instead. I wanted a botanical theme on the boxes that would be unisex and could work for any scent, and I think the design turned out well. A related goal was to re-design the website header and shea cream labels to match the new perfume boxes and labels to make them all look consistent.

Another major goal that was accomplished last year was to finish a number of new scents (Sienna Musk, Vintage Rose, Winter Woods, Wood Violet) and update a couple of older scents (Champagne de Bois, Ambre Noir). And of course an ongoing goal is to keep sourcing all kinds of wonderful new ingredients; I added many new things to my stock this past year.

Another goal was to stay open all year with no days off, which I accomplished, though I want to amend that for next year by taking one week off sometime in the summer just for fun (maybe even two weeks several months apart!).

One main goal for 2009 is to finish more new scents that are already in various stages of development: Lieu de Reves, Gardenia Musk, Zen Musk, the new woodsy masculine scent, and a few more. And I’ll continue to source new ingredients. I need to work the new low-atranol oakmoss into the formulas that contain moss after my shipment comes in late January.

Besides working on the fragrances, another project to think about for the coming year is to try to have my products available in some boutiques. This involves packaging and pricing decisions. I think the packaging is just about set. After I integrate the new moss into the formulas and make a few other ingredient adjustments, I’ll need to update the cost sheets for each scent and see how to make it all work for retail.

I didn’t have enough time to start open studio hours in 2008, but I did continue to meet more of the wonderful people out there who are interested in fragrance via online interaction, and I always enjoy that. Next year I would like to either start having some limited open studio hours or choose a local boutique to carry my fragrances so people would have a local spot to go try testers. A local boutique would be very helpful until I catch up to the point where I can take enough hours off to host an open studio.

Another goal for 2009 is to offer more scents for the shea cream, and if there’s time I’d love to do a couple special parfum limited editions with some wonderful but limited and very expensive ingredients (mostly floral absolutes). And a mundane but important goal is to implement a better inventory tracking system; it’ll take time to set up but save time in the long run. If I could afford it, I’d love to get some bookkeeping help so I could devote that time to scent work instead, but we’ll see how that goes.

It’s been fun to meet so many wonderful people this year and I’ve been happy to see the nice reviews written about the fragrances. Thanks so much for supporting small artisanal lines. Anytime you have suggestions you are always welcome to send an email; I listen to all comments and take them to heart. I don’t always have enough time to implement everything right away, but things go on the To Do list and are accomplished in priority order as time allows.

Overall I think it was a great year in 2008 with many goals accomplished, and I have a solid vision of what needs to be done next. I’ll just keep working my way through the To Do list. I’m looking forward to more progress in 2009!

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