Master Your Finances Kurt Baker with Sevi Adat – Transcript

Written by on November 6, 2020

00:00 ANNOUNCER: So you wanna know the ins and outs of managing your money, well, lucky for you, you are just in time for another episode of Master Your Finances, with certified financial planner professional, Kurt Baker. Kurt and his panel of experts are here for you and will cover topics from a legal and personal standpoint. They’ll discuss tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing, and saving your money, and more. Master Your Finances is underwritten by Certified Wealth Management and Investment. Let’s learn how we can better change our habits with Kurt Baker.
00:34 Kurt Baker: Good morning and welcome back to another edition of Master Your Finances, presented by Certified Wealth Management and Investment. I am Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional, located in Princeton, New Jersey. I can be reached through our website, which is www.cwmi.us, or you can call me directly at 609-716-4700.
01:01 KB: This week, very pleased to have with us Sevi Adat. He immigrated to the UK from Uganda as a teen. He’s been married for 25 years and has two boys. He was working in New York and studying at Indiana University. He has worked for three major perfume companies as a perfume designer. He left a corporate world back in October of 2017, started working as an entrepreneur in 2018 with a company called HeavenScent, then he restarted as Princeton Perfume Company in September 2019. Hobbies are golf, cooking, and spending quality time with good friends, and his dream is to take his family back to his place of birth. And his ambition is to help businesses in becoming more competitive in an increasingly tough environment. That’s fantastic, and I know we’ve met before also at F3, which is the men’s group that works out in the morning, right Free?
02:00 Sevi Adat: That’s correct.
02:00 KB: Cold and outside right. So great to have you on Sevi, and I appreciate you coming in and talking about your story, and if you want… This is very interesting to me, just it’s such a nichey area of the world. I know I had… The CEO of Firmenich gave this talk about just scents and the stuff we smell in the world and how the company touches over half the world every day because you don’t really think about how much that stuff is involved in our daily lives. Something I knew very little about until I heard this, it was kind of amazing how important such a relatively small group of people have over our lives. So can you give us a little bit of background of how you got introduced to this area of the world and how you’ve grown into where you are today?
02:42 SA: Sure. So first of all, thank you for having me on the show, Kurt. I’m always happy to share this amazing, amazing profession with the public. Perfume, like you say, touches everyone at some point in their lives, but very, very few people realize what it’s about and how it can really create some fantastic memories. So my background started when I was in college and looking for a job, and I found a job as a technician in SC Johnson formulating air fresheners, and air fresheners being primarily perfume. But at that time, I didn’t even know the part that perfume played in everyday products, but as time went on, I was in SC Johnson for nine years. And as time went on, I obviously was promoted to the chemist level, and at that time, you then really get exposed to all the supplies of perfume and the management of the brand.
04:08 SA: And I realized at that time that, first of all, perfume is a huge, huge component in everyday products, but secondly, and more importantly, is how much passion I had for perfume and developing scents and watching people react to different air freshener smells, for example. And that passion kind of led me to a German company who recruited me, and they’re now called Symrise, at that time, they were Haarmann & Reimer. That’s where I really learned my trade and to honest with you, what better way than with a German company who are very methodical, very systematic. And I was blessed, I was blessed to have that fantastic foundation, and what that also allowed me to do is to actually be able to get exposed to a lot of consumers outside of just the UK.
05:28 SA: So in doing so, I learned a lot about other consumers as well, to a point where I was then recruited by Firmenich. So Firmenich the top companies in the world, and they have an amazing group of professionals, team of professionals around the world who were very, very successful in developing and marketing perfumes. So it’s Firmenich where I really kind of blossomed and learned my fragrance design profession. They have a great program for new people who join, and they take people through that program, and I was blessed and I was lucky enough to go through the program, and then I started to add value to the Firmenich projects and business through creating and helping create winning perfumes. Perfumes that even now are still in some of the brands worldwide. The other thing that Firmenich did for me, and I’m very, very grateful for that is that I travelled the world. So perfume is one of these components in daily products, which is universal everywhere from the lowest demographic poverty to the most premium consumer, everyone… Perfume touches their lives, perfume…
07:27 KB: Yeah, that’s amazing. You mentioned Firmenich, which as you know, is a very local large company near us, and when we first moved here, my wife and I, we really didn’t know what it was… I just remember going by before they upgraded their system, I don’t know what it was, you go by and every once in a while, you’d smell like butter scotch, you’d smell this… I know they changed all that, guy’s the population ’cause it used to be in the middle of a farm, so it didn’t really matter, but I know they upgraded so, you didn’t really smell, you knew what they were making that day, it seemed like. Right, but the one thing I also remember is they used to… I don’t know if they still do this or not, they would bring in the public and do sample testing. ‘Cause I did this a couple of times, I thought it was really fascinating. They give you like five bucks or something to come in and they would say, “Here is there different samples,” and they would ask you a bunch of questions on what you thought.
08:09 KB: I thought it was very fascinating how they were trying to get public interaction there. And another thing that I found very interesting, and you can maybe you can speak to this a little bit, is how the people… There’s a actually a relatively small group of people who determines what we like. I forget what they call them, but the people have a really good nose, I guess I’ll just say it that way. They can kinda really detect things, it’s almost like having somebody perfect pitch hearing for… If you’re in the musician, but apparently it’s a very small elite group of people that can kind of do these things. And I was quite impressed, frankly so.
08:47 SA: That was my job. Yeah, to basically I was the conduit between the consumer and the person who actually puts the chemicals together, the perfumer, and as a conduit, as a kind of a go-between, my job was really to interpret what the consumer is saying and into a perfumer language. For example, if I was to say fresh… Okay, what does fresh mean to you? Okay, what it means to you, it’s gonna be quite different from what it means to somebody else, but when you smell a fragrance, when you smell a perfume, you will say it’s fresh, another person will say It’s fresh as well, and my job is to basically take that and interpret that into something which is more meaningful for the person who’s creating, who’s putting the chemicals together. So fresh, for example, could be in the context of a brand, it could be freshly cut grass, green grass, it could be lavender, it could be another flower like rose, or in some cases, it could be freshly baked bread or freshly baked cookies, which is a vanilla note, so it means different things to different people.
10:35 SA: And the fascinating thing about what I do is to take that, interpret that into something which is much more meaningful to the perfumer, and then we can then put it into a blend and see how it then works with the consumer. Yeah? So that was my job. And it’s a fascinating field. There’s no science as such, to it but there’s a lot of discipline associated with it. Yeah.
11:13 KB: That’s amazing. Yeah, I definitely wanna get into more about that because I just find it’s a very interesting part of our senses, so to speak, that I really never give a lot of thought to until somebody actually started discussing it. We’re gonna take a quick break here. Your Listening to Master Your Finances, we’re gonna be right back.
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11:31 ANNOUNCER: This is Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, certified financial planner professional, learn about tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing and saving your money, and more from Kurt and his experienced panel of guests. Master your Finances is underwritten by Certified Wealth Management and Investment.
11:52 KB: Welcome back, you’re listening to Master Your finance. I’m Kurt Baker here with Sevi Adat of Princeton perfume company, and you’ve been taking us through a little bit of the background, which I always found fascinating. As I mentioned when I was first exposed to this, and I know it has a lot more of an impact on our lives, what we smell and how we smell it, and why we have certain scents in certain products and things like that. So do you mind walking through a little bit of how it’s impacted. I know there’s a lot of areas. Maybe just comment on some of the highlights. I think we talked about it before certain scents like the grass. So I know, I go and mow the grass and I go out suddenly, I feel like I’m outside, it’s fresh air and I don’t mind the fresh cut grass, some people hate it afterwards, but it’s not like something I’d wanna put in my laundry soap, and things like that, I don’t wanna wear it all day. So I just thought that was interesting how that chemistry… It really is chemistry or reaction within our brains and our body, what’s going on, would you mind kind of explaining a little bit about that and how you transition what we really want. And to me, it’s very fascinating how all that works.
13:00 SA: Sure. Yeah, it is very fascinating. It’s a very, very broad subject Kurt. Yes. To summarize it in a way in very few words… First of all, you’re experiencing different smells from the day you’re born, so your memory is starting to form a connection with smells, your brain is forming connections with smells from the time you’re born. Mother’s milk, for example, is where your sense of smell starts. The baby doesn’t necessarily… The baby basically smells the milk on the mother and that’s where the memories start. Also, 75% of what we taste is based on smell. So you can imagine how powerful smell can be in determining whether a person is gonna go forward. Even walking in a house, for example, or eating rotten fruit or… The sense of smell is the most powerful.
14:25 KB: Yeah, that’s why they say, where you bake the cookies, the chocolate chip cookies, or you make the apple pie or you make some kind of really sweet dessert, that’s one of those techniques and the realtors have talked about it. I haven’t seen it recently, but I know they used to do that, like you wanna make the house smell really nice, right? ‘Cause when you go in, that is a trigger. And I know you… Maybe subliminal… And I think don’t they even… I heard this and maybe you can validate this, don’t they put scents into the air systems into large malls and things like that? They’ll put a very subtle scent which helps elevate your mood, so you feel like it’s a good place, I guess, for lack of a better… I don’t know the technical term but… ‘Cause I found it was very… I found that was fascinating.
15:10 SA: Yeah, to build on that…
15:13 KB: I like how they’re sneaky about it a little bit sometimes. [chuckle]
15:14 SA: Yeah. I think, for example, to build on that, take casinos. So casinos pump fresh fragrance into the air along with oxygen. Why is that? Because most casinos don’t have any windows, and so the people in the casino don’t necessarily… They don’t want the people in the casino to know what time it is.
15:52 KB: Yeah, no clocks, right?
15:55 SA: No clocks. No clocks, no windows. And they keep them there and they keep them awake through introducing a lot more oxygen than you can normally get in an environment and a scent which keeps them invigorated and awake. So there is a lot the companies like that do. I think on the other side, you mentioned realtors, and again, the same thing, and I think the age of putting a fresh baked cookie in the oven before… In an open house is still there in some cases, but I think it’s gone… It’s evolved into a lot more of a broader expectation. I think people expect, as I mentioned earlier, and we talked earlier, fresh. When they walk into a house, they want it to be fresh and clean. Now, apart from decluttering, what every realtor will tell you is declutter, make sure there’s no personal pictures, etcetera. At the same time, there is an expectation that the house should have a fresh, clean smell. On the other side, a lot of realtors now are starting to not just have sprays, but they have diffusers with their own signature scent so that… As well as the scent being fresh and clean, at the same time when house buyers walk into the place, they can associate that smell with that realtor. Yeah.
17:58 KB: Yeah, that’s fascinating because I know… I think, when we go back to perfumes for a minute… So perfumes, if somebody wears a certain type of perfume and then you smell it and think, “Oh, that reminds me of so and so.” Right? There’s a lingering smell, maybe because they were there for a while and they leave and you could still… Oh, you know somebody’s there… That’s kind of interesting. So the realtors obviously… Okay, realtor, their goal, of course, is to sell the home. And so if you develop a signature scent, I’m assuming that’s gonna be something that’s going to be uplifting to a buyer that comes in, so you have some goals in mind and you want to have a signature of the realtor. So how does that help the realtor in their marketing? As far as their marketing plan goes. To help them out? I know they do things like open houses where they caravans, they run realtors through. So the other realtors will know, “Oh, that’s Susie Smith’s house” or whatever the case may be, right? Can you explain that how that all works? I think that’s very fascinating actually.
18:56 SA: Yeah, I think the whole point is that it is a very, very crowded landscape out there. If you take the realtor profession, in a 35-mile radius from Princeton, there are 7,000 realtors. Okay. So how do they stand out from the crowd? Any brand, any business wants to stand out from the crowd, wants to acquire customers, wants to convert those customers to buying the product, wants referrals. Yeah. So I don’t think it’s just about that particular house as such, but it’s about creating a brand, and there’s a lot of very, very savvy, smart realtors are starting to do that, which is to actually create a brand so that people, when they talk about real estate, they associate it with a person, so that if I was to say to you, “Hey, Kurt, I wanna sell my house. Do you know any good realtor?” If that realtor can have two or three points where you remember him or her by, you will recommend that person to me. And as I’ve said before, the sense of smell is one of the biggest and most powerful memory makers, so if you can associate a realtor with his or her signature scent, that will trigger your memory.
20:45 KB: So you’re bringing back to memories now having this conversation, I know… And I don’t remember if I’ve ever received anything recent about this, but sometimes you’ll get mail or flyers or things that actually have a scent associated with it, right?
21:00 SA: Yes.
21:02 KB: Right. So they’ll send you something… So how do you… I guess, how would you mark… How would you use this in your marketing, your branding? You can’t use it on your website, because the website, unfortunately, not yet at least, we don’t have scents coming through our computers, that’ll be a little scary when that comes, ’cause then it’ll have all kinds of control over us because they are gonna control the smell in our house. So how do you… You could use it in the home. So how do I market myself if I’m an agent or any business for that matter using the sense of smell?
21:32 SA: Yeah, that’s… And obviously open house is one. One of the other things that realtors do is they will… I think they must be the biggest consumers of business cards ’cause they will leave cards at every port of call. Now, that’s fine, but that’s where I think they can gain a point of difference. And what do I mean by that? So take a standard business card, okay. Most of the time, that business card, when you are presented with a card, you will look at it and have a positive comment, “Oh, interesting,” and then you’ll put it away, and then you’ll go home and you’ll put it in a stack of other business cards, never to be seen or referred to. Whereas if you had a card which is scented, for example, and I’ve developed a patent, I’ve applied for a patent for a technology, which for a scented card, purely and simply because what then happens is that that card becomes, first of all, automatically they associate that name, they will remember your name when you present them with the card, secondly, they cannot throw that card away or put it in a stack because it’s too valuable.
23:19 SA: And they’ll keep on smelling it if it contains essential oils, for example, like lavender. You can actually… And I think a lot of people are looking at ways in which we can expose fragrance in everyday situations in promotional products. And for me anyway, I think business card is certainly one of the biggest opportunities to do that.
23:53 KB: Yeah, that’s amazing. We’re gonna take another quick break here. You’re listening to Master Your Finances, we’re gonna be right back.
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25:00 ANNOUNCER: This is Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, certified financial planner professional, learn about tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing and saving your money, and more from Kurt and his experienced panel of guests. Master Your Finances is underwritten by Certified Wealth Management and Investment.
25:21 KB: Welcome back, you’re listening to Master Your Finances. I’m Kurt Baker here with Sevi Adat. And we’ve been talking about… A little bit about marketing which I think is very unique with scents, at least on the level you’re talking about large companies have been doing it forever, if you go buy laundry detergent, all these things, obviously I’ve known about this for many, many years, but to do it on a more individual basis, well, I guess, I’m assuming this came up while you were thinking about at Firmenich so how did all this happen and how did you evolve into kinda being on your own, if you don’t mind me asking, how that evolution occurred?
25:54 SA: Sure, so yeah just my next evolution from Firmenich was with another company, another perfume company, and the company was based way up north in North Bergen County, which was, as you can imagine, from here to there every day commute, was just horrendous. So in 2017, actually, we parted our ways and I spent the next three months just de-compressing and flushing out the commute from my system before starting the company called HeavenScent. And the whole premise for HeavenScent was based on the ability of perfumes to create memories for special occasions, and the one that I was aiming at was the most special occasion for most people, which is the wedding. And the reason is, again, based on personal experience where… And I remember when I got married, and it was actually nearly 25 years ago right now, and I remember seeing my wife and I went… As we were standing next to each other, I could smell an amazing fragrance, it was rose carnation and a little bit of musk, and straight away I knew it was Eternity, which was one of the biggest perfumes at the time, by Calvin Klein.
27:40 SA: Anyway, I asked her and she said, “Yes.” Now, fast forward to 2018, even now, whenever I encounter that smell, it always takes me back to that happy day, and I thought, “You know what, there’s a germ of an idea here which we can build on with HeavenScent.” Which is to offer couples their own fragrance, customized, customizable by having a collection of… So I developed a collection of five perfumes, which could be used by themselves or could be used in combination with one another. So if you then combine perfume A with B, you create a totally different smell, and the way to do that is to roll A on one wrist B on another wrist, mix the two wrists and bingo, you have your own blend. So that was the whole premise of HeavenScent. And it was great, people loved it, because what we also did then was to create a complementary candle.
29:04 SA: So the reason for that is because one of the biggest tools, most popular tools for creating memories is the photo. So when you’re at weddings, people will take thousands of photos, you will get a professional photographer, who will take pictures and then present you with the album. Or now it’s all digital, yeah? But the one thing that misses from the… First of all, when you get those, you will look at them for the next month or so when everything is still fresh in your memory. After that, you’ll put that away, never to revisit, however, imagine burning a candle with that scent of your wedding day that will evoke those happy memories and take you back to that special occasion. So that was the whole concept behind HeavenScent, and when I started this, people loved it. I did some shows, events and honestly, the feedback was amazing, not just on the concept, but also on the fragrances that I was presenting.
30:14 SA: The only problem was that in a wedding list, in a registry list, the idea of having favors or your own perfume or your own signature is way down the list, people are interested in the music, people are interested in the food, the drinks, the venue, but not necessarily in creating a signature scent for their guests to remember them by. So HeavenScent… And then when I talk to people, they love the name HeavenScent, but it didn’t really necessarily take them to what services I was offering them. Okay. And as a startup business with very little funds for promotion, that was not a very good sign for me, it was like, “Okay, it’s a great name, but I have to change.” The concept is great, but again, if the name doesn’t… And the brand doesn’t necessarily jive with the concept, then I’m not really gonna get any success out of this, so that’s when I changed to Princeton Perfume Company. Now… Yeah.
31:55 KB: Yeah, go ahead. No, that’s great. So, it sounds to me like, I’m thinking out loud now, so you had a great idea, but I think one of the issues you had is one, it’s hard to market to the newlyweds where they’re really not familiar with this ’cause it’s not widely known yet, and they would kinda be like, “Okay, that sounds interesting, but I’ve got these other things ahead of it,” but the idea is great and a wedding, hopefully you’re doing one and that’s it, for a long time or forever. Right? So that’s it. And so you’re not getting a lot of repeat business coming back saying, “Hey, we need to make more candles to send to our guests that were here three years ago or four years ago,” whatever the case may be, so you’re not really developing a pipeline, and as any business knows, recurring income is the life blood. You have to establish a methodology that will help you to maintain an ongoing income stream of some kind through the referrals or whatever the case may be. That’s hard with weddings until it’s an established known thing. I think it was probably what you struggled with. So now you’re like, “How do I put this in a different… The same idea, but maybe more in a corporate world?” So is that kinda what the evolution ended up being?
33:01 SA: Absolutely.
33:01 KB: And was Realtors your first place to go? I mean, Realtors, as you know, they’re marketers like nothing else. They definitely… The good ones know how to market, and that’s usually what makes the difference for them ’cause they are marketing experts. Right?
33:16 SA: Yep, absolutely, Kurt. You hit the nail on the head. As an entrepreneur and single business, I had to somehow pivot, I had to… Pivot is a word that’s now being used for under the banner of COVID, but my pivot happened way, way before that. And it was really… Yeah, I’m at a crossroads and I’m thinking, “Okay, I know that the idea, the concept is great.”
33:50 KB: So how did you roll this out? Now I’m gonna play… Now you gotta challenge, right? Now you gotta talk a Realtor in to do it. It was like, “Okay, I’m sending out a thousand mailers this week. I’m sending them out cards, I’m sending out this… ” They literally have a system in place, most of them, the ones that are good. How did you market to somebody and say, “This is gonna make your brand better.” How did you interject yourself into that and get somebody to try it, and then once you did, what started to happen at that point?
34:18 SA: Yeah, so… And I’m still in the process of that kind of growth phase. But it’s very interesting. I decided that what I was going to do was to… I looked at the business, the HeavenScent business, and did an analysis and saw that actually 90% of my sales were coming through one-to-one interaction. If I could explain the concept to somebody and get them to understand the power of perfume, then nine times out of 10, I would get a sale. So 90% of my sales were coming through that. Now, granted it wasn’t much at the time because this is a startup business, but still it gave me a very interesting insight, which is the fact that if I wanted to grow this company, I had to go through the networking phase, the face-to-face, in other words, expose and get myself in front of people as often and as much as possible. And I almost reconciled it to it being a numbers game, so it’s not necessarily the type of person or a target consumer. It’s just more, as many people as possible.
35:57 SA: Now, at the same time, the services that I offered also changed because they were no longer… The minimum order quantity was no longer one, one candle or one perfume. The minimum order quantity increased. Still very, very reasonable in comparison to other companies, very reasonable, but the reason for doing that is because then I started to look at corporate business, whether it’s small business, medium, large, didn’t matter. I targeted businesses, and I’m still in the process of developing that. However, the breakthrough came when I met an interior designer. And she out of… It’s that typical out of a hundred people that you meet, there’s one person who is gonna be your early adopter. And she was that person.
37:15 KB: Well, that’s absolutely fantastic. We’re gonna talk more about that right after another quick break. You’re listening to Master Your Finances, we’ll be right back.
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38:10 ANNOUNCER: This is Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, certified financial planner professional. Learn about tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing and saving your money, and more from Kurt and his experienced panel of guests. Master Your Finances is underwritten by Certified Wealth Management and Investment.
38:34 KB: Welcome back, you’re listening to Master Your Finances. I’m Kurt Baker here with Sevi Adat of Princeton Perfume Company. Entrepreneur, got a lot of corporate background, a lot of expertise, and you’re starting in an area that’s really, really interesting. To me, it’s almost like a niche within a niche. You got scents, which is everywhere, but from a business standpoint, it’s a relatively small number of people that do this, even though it has a widespread… Now you’re really tailoring it down and you’re doing what every single business has had to do that started from scratch is now you have to sell your concept and go out there, and I think you brought up some fantastic points in the last segment is… I think a lot of people think that you have to have the money to start the business, where in fact it’s… You need really the sales, you need the network, you need the connections, you need all of that. Once you find the right people and you tailor your business model around that, you’re always tweaking, businesses are constantly evolving to meet whatever those contacts want and what you can provide and I think you mentioned that you had an interior designer, right?
39:43 KB: So you were talking about maybe one in a hundred, so you have a very… You have to meet a lot of people, I guess, is really… Because you’ve got two things, you’ve got a new business, you’ve got a new concept that you have to really explain to people how it all works and why it works. So you’ve got an extra level of education that has to go on to meet… So it’s even a little more difficult than other types of business that may exist in some form. So how did that work out? You met that designer. Can you take us through the story of how that went forward from there?
40:17 SA: Sure. So yeah… We got discussing on her business and on my business. And then she had always had this idea that she wanted to launch her own home care perfume line, fragrance line, for homes. And so she asked me if I could develop a candle for her and a special signature scent for her. And that’s how the whole thing started. So I asked her a few questions about what her likes were, what type of experience she wanted to create for her customers, and I presented her with a range of scents, different types of scents, and basically… Just to narrow down on what her preferences would be, and from that she selected two and then we talked some more, and it turned out that what she was looking for was to create a rich experience of walking into a library, which was with a teak wood table. So as soon as I kind of articulated that to her, she was, “Yep, absolutely. That’s it.” And so then I went into developing the teak wood scent and that’s… And again, we had two, three iterations of the scent, and she then selected the one that she liked. I then presented that to her in a finished candle form. And then she approved it, and that’s how the whole thing started. So now, she has her own candle, with her own logo, which is with her own signature scent. All provided to her by Princeton Perfume Company.
42:39 KB: Well, that’s fascinating. You just triggered something for me as far as… Because people make wines and things, right? You have… This is almost… This is kinda correlating to a little bit to creating something unique to your business, labeling it, selling it, or most of the case, we’re giving them out. I know in our business, they’ll get groups together, and I can kind of imagine something happening in this way too, where you say, “Hey, let’s create something, we’ll design it together as a team building thing.” Once you decide on what you’re gonna do and create their logo they can put on it, then they can send it out to their clients and say, “Here we go, here’s a thank you gift for doing business with us. I hope you enjoy.” I can definitely see that as being a marketing deal…
43:22 SA: Absolutely.
43:23 KB: And a team-building thing, right? ‘Cause you can get a couple of people together in an office and have them come together and kind of decide what they wanna do together, right?
43:34 SA: Correct. And the interesting thing is that it’s not just… You can go to online catalogues and get candles with a very generic vanilla or melon, but these are more tailored and customized scents. This is much more for you and your preferences and your brand, and you’re right. And then they can be used for many, many different occasions, yeah? There’s a holiday season coming up, just general corporate gifting, but they’re not your swag, they’re much more premium gifts that you would… You would make your customer feel very special by giving them that gift, yeah.
44:22 KB: So if you give me… I mean I’ll just go to my industry for a minute, things like financial services is famous for being unabled, it’s very difficult to describe it in the sense of marketing, right? You’re really trying to build trust, understanding, compassion, there’s a lot of these like feelings that you’re trying to create for somebody when you create any kind of marketing, and the big boys even have… They’re constantly trying to update and change these things because it’s hard, it’s a very difficult thing to do from a marketing perspective, what it really comes down to is a one-on-one relationship and trusting that person that’s sitting across the table from you, so to speak. But… So how do you like do the analysis and say, “Okay, well, here’s how I’m gonna help you present this particular image.” That may not be very tangible in some cases.
45:16 SA: No. It’s very interesting. You talk about financial service, so I’m actually… I’m actually service, I provide a diffuser for the office for a financial consultant, to financial consultants, yeah. And the idea there is, again, to do with the fact that financial consultancy generally, for the lay person, for the customer coming into your office, there are many, many financial consultants, so how do you differentiate yourself, how do you become more memorable than another person, yeah. And the… Everyone’s first impression is the most important. So when someone walks into the office, that first impression is absolutely key, and it can determine whether they’re gonna stay in that office or whether they wanna leave as quickly as possible, yeah. And that subliminal cue of a fresh scent can be very, very important to making them stay and buy a product. Okay, whether that’s going into a supermarket or whether that’s going into a financial consultancy office, yeah. It’s the sense of smell and that subliminal effective cue is probably one of the most important ways in which people make a purchasing decision.
46:53 KB: Yeah. No. I’ve learned that and I appreciate explaining it. Do you wanna tell us a little bit about how you have had to pivot ’cause everybody has in some way, shape or form, you’re dealing with a new company in a niche market with something that’s very much… The sense of smell, we have to be together somehow, somehow? How are you marketing since our March, kind of interruption, so to speak, which we’re not sure when it’s gonna be over, and we’re doing less one-on-one. I know things like the, even the BNIs, I know that you belong to the Princeton Mercer Chamber, Regional Chamber. We’re doing a lot of stuff virtually with limited things in person. So how are you able to convey this, the current environment.
47:34 SA: Yeah. It’s a process, Kurt. Yeah. And I think I’d be a millionaire if I was to tell you exactly what that process was because I’m still learning, but it is a process and whether it’s right or wrong is down to the individual judgment, I guess, but in my case, I’ve increased my networking and my presence amongst all the networking groups. So whether that’s the Chamber of Commerce, and although BNI doesn’t meet on a face-to-face, in fact, for me, it works very well because I can join many, many BNI groups virtually around the country and talk about my services. The second is that sampling. So how do you get your product across to the consumer, to the customer? And this is where cost-effective sampling helps in my case. And so the card that I talked about, the business card that I talked about, has really come into play and has taken a life of its own, because now I use that same card to sample different scents to customers and I can send it to them at a very, very cost-effective rate, and if they decide to take up the services, then they don’t pay for that product box, if they don’t, then there’s a minimum fee involved within it.
49:09 SA: Yeah. So that’s one way. The other one that I’ve done is I’ve pivoted and I now make essential oil blends, but as well as that, I work with a mind and body holistic place in Hoboken, and we are developing corporate workshops because one of the insights from COVID was that people are zoomed out people have got Zoom fatigue. [chuckle]
49:39 KB: True. [chuckle]
49:41 SA: Yeah. And when they have happy hours, happy hours is supposed to help people overcome Zoom fatigue and talk about something else, in fact, most of the time when they have happy hours, they still talk about work. Okay. Whereas the workshops that we have developed, what happens is that I send… And it’s a collaboration, so I send a small kit of essential oils ahead of time to the participants, and then during the Zoom call, during the Zoom happy hour, if you want, I take them through how to blend, how to make a blend using the essential oils. Okay, so there’s a lot of customer engagement. And then my collaborator, okay? Will then take them through how to meditate and have that blend, use that blend in the meditation process, yeah. And the way they work, they use that blend is that… We have a small diffuser that you can plug into the USB on your computer, okay. And you add a few drops of the blend into the diffuser and it diffuses into the air and creates your healthy signature bubble field, yeah. And so that’s how… That’s how we have pivoted, so we’ve gone more essential oils, and when people talk about essential oils, the perception and the bridge is much easier to go towards health, well-being and self-care, yeah.
51:39 KB: Yeah, that’s always a big topic these days, try to stay healthy for sure. I mean you’ve been amazing, I appreciate it. I’ve learned a lot about the sense of smell and how important it is and how powerful it can be, just in many aspects, including branding and things like that. Thanks again for coming on today. You’ve been listening to Master Your Finances. I am Kurt Baker, I can be reached at 609-716-4700. You can subscribe to this podcast and all the podcasts we have by going to masteryourfinances.us. Remember, together we can master your finances so you can enjoy financial peace of mind.
52:18 ANNOUNCER: That was this week’s episode of Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, certified financial planner professional. Tune in every Sunday at 9:00 AM to expand your knowledge in building and managing your wealth. Missed an episode? No worries. You can subscribe to a free weekly episode of Master Your Finances to listen to on your favourite podcasting platform, Apple, Spotify, Google podcasts, whatever. Master Your Finances is underwritten by Certified Wealth Management and Investment. Only on 107.7 The Bronc.

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