Monday, November 02, 2009

Cost of Smelling Beautiful

Marketing in this economy is tough. Everyone is holding onto their money with a tighter fist than in years past. Economists have predicted that the way people shop is changing, customers are looking for more value-added products rather than just reaching for what's readily available, but not always the best or least expensive. Luxury items are becoming even more of a luxury with fewer people spending the kind of money that they have in the past -- luxury items are shrinking, along with the price, making those extravagant purchases even more precious. Estee Lauder knew what she was doing back in the 50's when she introduced Youth Dew in bath oil form as a means of luring cash conscious housewives. We Natural Botanical Perfumers should be looking toward that horizon as well, offering smaller packaging options with smaller prices attached, alternative scent systems, i.e. soaps, body butters, balms, and yes, bath oils.

Not only have our customers and clients stopped spending exorbitant amounts of money on non-essential luxury items due to cost factors, perfumers too have stopped spending as much on raw materials -- in some places, the raw materials which are utilized to create soap have doubled in price, not to mention the outrageous shipping costs no matter which provider is chosen. For example, I just bought 15 bottles, the cost of the bottles was $18.75, the shipping on those bottles? Ten dollars and change. So a $19 purchase is now staring into the backside of a $30 purchase. Up goes the price on your product! Lye for soap at the hardware store went from $7.49 for 2 lbs in January to $12.49 just three weeks ago. Again, up goes the price of that soap.

It's tough for all of us. Just know that I don't like charging $11 for a 3.5 oz tin of body butter today that you may have bought from me a year ago for $8. But I also don't like spending twice, sometimes three times more for raw materials than I did last year or the year before. It's especially hard on those of us who pack a lot of quality ingredients and technique into a product and have to accept a smaller profit margin because of tough times. I still want y'all to enjoy my stuff without breaking the bank, and I want to be able to have something to put into my bank!

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