Part of: Violence

Correspondence: Violence

published on 25 September 2008

Read emails sent and received by Nick Knight through-out the course of the Violence project.

Read emails sent and received by Nick Knight through-out the course of the Violence project.

Dear Dorian, Ross, Paul, Alex and Greta,  

As you know I would like to sell this Violence scent directly from our site. Can you indicate to me what the possibilities are. It might be just one bottle or 10 or thousands, there is just no way of telling.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.  


I think a big point of the fragrance is to develop, market and sell it online - this is the unique aspect. However, the difficulty that immediately arises is that no-one can smell the fragrance online. Very basic, but fundamental. We should consider how we will go about getting samples of the fragrance out to potential customers or maybe if we are planning to feature it  I like the idea of the perfume being in a limited edition - maybe we could number each one individually with an initial run of 100? This would also give us the opportunity to send some out as gifts - we can gauge the response and see if the numbers should be increased with a second run, third run etc. 

This is not my forte but that's my initial view on the matter of the 'hard sell'.  

Best,  Alex

Hello Nick et al

Please excuse my 'dragon's den' knowledge of commerce and my over-simplified 'plan'. I think if this is being done correctly then there should be a way of telling how many you would sell. You would not make 10,000 bottles of perfume if your research had shown you were only going to sell 10 because it was a very niche market. So I think the first step is to speak to someone who knows the market, work out where the product will be advertised (I would suggest it needs to go further than SHOWstudio) and then we could look at some rough figures of projected sales/units. Then we can decide how rigorous our e-commerce strategy needs to be.

For instance if there are only 100 bottles we could just set up a Paypal account (or an eBay shop says paul) and handle the whole thing fairly stress free ourselves . However, if we have a lot of product stored in warehouses that need to be shipped globally then clearly we will have to involve outside agencies My feeling is that a limited run of 100 is the way to go. It gets the scent out there and works as an easy way of getting press for SHOW.

Then, if there is a demand, we look into mass production ross:) Hi Nick, That's quite a big question really. From my point of view we can skip the details of presenting the product on the website - we'll be doing that anyway as part of the project, though the branding and positioning of the product are of course a very important and complex thing, some of which I'm sure you have in hand, and some of which I'm sure is in process. The technicalities of selling products online strongly depends on whether you are selling one item, or 1000, or however many.

The complexity and cost of the system set up really depends on the amount that's going through, there is no point in using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. Setting up an eCommerce system for one product is likely to loose money, not make it, but if it's something that's going to have more products added to it then you may recoup the investment later. The process of taking an order/transaction is quite straightforward, and there are lots of well laid out models and best practises for this  1) The Basket: We find out the quantity of the product a person wants. 2) The Checkout: We find out where they want to ship it to & take payment for the product. 3) The Processing: We receive the order, label, put postage on it and ship it. The devil, as ever, is in the detail, and more importantly the scalability.

For one item it wouldn't be worth setting up on-line credit card processing facilities, for instance, and we may just have one large price for the item which takes into account packing and shipping costs to the rest of the world. The item could even be auctioned to the highest bidder. The payment could be taken via a method agreed with the purchaser, such as bank transfer/cheque/Paypal. For between one an 100 items it would be worth considering a simple payment system, such as PayPal, where overheads on each transaction are higher than some methods, but cheaper than setting up a Merchant account with a bank, and on-line clearing, and a checkout process on our site. However PayPal would not necessarily present the image for the product you want to have, it depends how you want to position it's brand. A customised checkout process and in-line credit card clearing would be a nice experience for the end user, and keep the whole thing more 'on brand' For 100+ it is more likely worth investing in a customised checkout process. If we are shipping lots of items then we would need set this up, and to consider how ordered are processed and dispatched, global shipping costs and hanlding charges, how to handle fraudulent transactions, how monies are accounted, how items are packaged for shipping ( that could also reflect back to the actual product design for the container for the scent ), how to manage customer queries and missing/broken items, who takes the items to the post office (or if we get them picked up, or shipped via courier etc.). Working all these details out to be optimal is worthwhile to maximise profit on the product, and to simplify the handling of the orders.  A final choice is that you can pass handling the sales of the item entirely off to a third party, who will sell it on your behalf.

This way we don't have as much control over the presentation and brand of the product, and a lot of the process becomes on of managing the relationship with the third party, and trying to get the appropriate presentation for your product in their context. This would be much like putting the item exclusively into any shop, like Dover Street or Liberties. You have the advantage (and disadvantage) of having the product amongst other items, in an environment where people are looking to purchase, but you will see return per unit, and won't have the presence within that shop. Generally new brands don't succeed very well on large product sites with many items on them, unless you put them across a number of different retailers : think Dover Street, Liberties and Selfridges, not just Dover Street. 

There are of course many points in between all of these, but mostly these are driven by the brand qualities of the product you are selling, and of course: where the audience you want to sell your product to are shopping. Because SHOWstudio isn't a shop, or may not have that audience, you double the work in trying to sell your product in also trying to drive the right traffic to SHOWstudio. Equally putting the scent on a generic shopping site may devalue it's brand, and still miss it's target audience. So the place, in my opinion, to start is to research into the customer for the product and how to access them. thereafter the choices will become clearer. 

I hope that's all of some help.


Dear Simon,

I am creating a scent from the chemicals men release when they fight(!) and I wondered if that boxer friend of yours that modelled in the Brutality story would be interested. All he would have to do is wear a teeshirt when he next fights. Do you think you could approach him on my behalf?

Many thanks, Nick


No problem Nick , his name is **** and he boxes for England I'll give him a call about it today , I'm sure he will oblige. Is he the only one you want ? I have a number of other friends who also fight.




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