Monday, January 06, 2014

Hopes, Dreams, Resolutions...

Untitled by Tom Allison
Untitled, a photo by Tom Allison on Flickr.
The year 2013 left much to be desired. And so, I'm happily moving onwards (and, hopefully also upwards) in 2014, in what I can only pray would be a better year. Here are a few things that I wish for from this year (some of which are entirely up to me, but some are perhaps also dependent on other factors):

1. Finish my 3rd edition for the Foundation of Natural Perfumery - a course handbook which I have been planning to publish more widely for over 2 years now. I'm at the final stages of editing (the long winter vacation was very helpful in that regard), and the next steps would be to create a digital version of it, as well as a paperback book, locally printed, and much prettier than the spiral-bound manual I've got going so far.

2. Create more dialog here on SmellyBlog. I have to admit that I have no idea how to make this happen. I tried to do giveaways on a weekly basis for a while (which, combined with shipping costs, is frankly beyond the budget for this little blog). It's been generating more comments from the same people (who got to win multiple times - yay!), but it has not encouraged my readers to come out of their lurking cave. I've tried to blog on topics that I would think would encourage dialog, but they have reaped very few results (while in other blogs, quite effortlessly, just in response to "leave a comment on whatever you want to talk about today" gets over 100 comments within a day). Any thoughts on the subject?

3. Outreach and Education: For this year, besides offering 2 week long courses back-to-back in May (Citrus & Colognes Course May 19-23 and Oriental Perfumes Course May 26-30), I'll be also teaching olfactory awareness and botanical perfumery lectures at one of the botanical gardens; and offering perfume making workshops outside of the studio in a new co-op boutique I'll be part of (more on that once the details are ironed and official!).

4. Become a little more visible than I was last year. As much as I wish it was otherwise, and hate to admit it - for a perfume company, and even more so a small one like mine - unless you come up with a new perfume every year (or every quarter), no one is really going to pay any attention to you. There have seemed to be only marginal interest in the many other new things I churned up (which were, by the way, a lot more work as well to develop) - I launched an entire tea collection of 4 beautifully packaged teas; created 2 beard oils (Blackbeard Oil and Orcas beard oil; 3 new soap bars - ArbitRary, Bon Zai and Film Noir; and my first hair oil - Palas Atena; a 6th Anointing Body Oil - Zohar; and relaunched Elixir facial serum, which has the best ingredients you could ever find and feed your pretty face with. Hardly anyone took notice of that at all, with the exception of some local fans and a handful of online-boutique customers. It seems like the market is either saturated (the local holiday shows certainly are), or was I just hiding under a rock? I suppose I will have to work ten times harder promoting myself this year, which is exhausting and daunting and truly takes away from my creativity in other areas. And, I might just have to release a new fragrant baby or two, which have been hidden in my vaults so to speak...

5. And on a more personal note: I would love to be the person who would say yes to climbing this trail. If not realistically, then at least metaphorically speaking. That must be the best cup of tea, ever. Context (and timing) is everything!

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At January 08, 2014 11:30 AM, Blogger Susan said...

Hi Ayala, well, I'm here, and reading every post, if not always commenting. But I'm often stealing your recipes as well!

I think the blog format can be hard to foster dialog on sometimes. :( I wish I had better suggestions. One thing, I really dislike the Blogger log-in and I must say that I tend to comment less on blogs that use a Blogger comment system versus other systems. Maybe that would be something to explore?

I think it's hard - you know, perfume people claim too many things are released and they don't want to clamor after every new thing, but in truth we do. We chase down newness! I don't actually see this as a problem exactly, but I think it can leave you in the dust if you're not NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW all the time. :(

At January 09, 2014 9:53 PM, Blogger sandy l said...

Hi Ayala.
Some items I was thinking of based on what some other perfumers are doing:
- how about setting up a mailing list for your blog posts? Then you may get wider readership.
- I might just not realize it, but some perfumers have a Facebook site and link their blog posts to it (more views?). I think I saw you comment on someone's FB, but I don't think you have a FB page solely for your fragrance business.

I have some of your fragrances and love them - would love to see you and yout work get recognized

take care,

At January 09, 2014 10:42 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Thank you so much for your insightful comment, and know that you use my recipes especially made me happy!
I've pondered what you said about newness and realized two things:
1) We (humans in general, and perfumistas, as well as perfumers and in particular) want something new and novel all the time.
2) We also want to keep holding on to those pieces of nostalgia, and for them to never change.
1 + 2 = TOO MUCH.
We get upset when something gets discontinued, but we also would be bored if nothing new came up. If both happen, the clutter just takes over - both physically and mentally ;-)

On a more practical note: I do need a new website, for my business, and is should also to include SmellyBlog in it as an independent interface (that should not look like Blogger, even if that's the software I'm using). I know it can be done. But it's going to be hard work. It's got to happen. Among so many other big projects for this year. I shall add it to the list of goals for 2014, it's not too late yet (or is it? ;-)

At January 09, 2014 10:46 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Happy New Year!
Thank you for commenting, and for your thoughtful suggestions. Not sure about mailing lists for blogs either... I know there are RSS feeds that you can sign up for (though I personally never been a fan).
I am more active on social media than I would prefer to be. I got Facebook pages for both Ayala Moriel Parfums AND SmellyBlog, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram... Did I leave anything out? ;-)
It hardly leaves time to do anything that I really enjoy - such as writing in this blog, working on my book, and, of course, making perfume. But it's a necessary evil so to speak ;-)

At January 10, 2014 5:49 PM, Blogger sandy l said...

Hi Ayala,
I appreciate your reading my comments and responding. I don't have a blog, but I read many animal-related blogs and most seem to have an email feature so the blog post (or link to it) can be sent. I tend to read those more often than the ones where I visit the website because they show up in my inbox.
I'm sorry that I didn't realize that you have 2 FB pages, but will have to check them out. I didn't see that FB logo on your Smelly Blog page. As you can see, I'm no social media expert.
I hope 2014 is a very good year for you!


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