When Life Gives You Lemons…

Whew! It’s been a while since I’ve posted and my main excuse is that I’ve been really busy with a project at work. Several months ago Kathi, my boss, came to me and said we were going to create and launch a line of bath and body products exclusive to Harem & Company. She’d already come up with the name, LemonDrop, and the scent, lemons naturally. She said she wanted me to be involved in the creation and execution. Thus began a really cool adventure.

I told Kathi that lemon was one of my favorite scents but that it’s a tricky scent in the fact that it can easily smell like cleaning products. She agreed and the first scent was dismissed because it did smell a little medicinal. The second was too “green,” the third was just off and so on. Finally, we found one that had an undertone of vanilla making the lemon warm. While I’m not a fan of vanilla in any form, I found the addition of it to the lemon to be refreshing and nice. We sniffed and sniffed for what seemed like hours but kept coming back to the warm lemon fragrance so we knew we had our scent. Meanwhile, the graphic designer was hard at work.

I was glad Kathi didn’t ask me to design the logo because I don’t really consider myself a graphic designer any more. I’m more of a graphic design coordinator nowadays. We hired Kim Grimm, a local designer who used to work at a big advertising agency before venturing out on her own. What I loved about Kim was that she immediately understood the project and her first design ideas were spot on. I had the idea of a drop that looked like a slice of lemon (lemon drop, get it?) and she ran with it. A few tweaks in the color and font choices and we were set.

Now came the hardest part of all: figuring out all the formulas. We worked with a local company who makes bath and body products and has several formulations in their regular inventory. We decided on an exfoliating shower gel, a bubble bath, a foaming sugar scrub (my personal favorite), a body lotion, a shea butter body souffle (originally body butter), a hand cream, bar soap, candle, lip butter and body, room and linen spray. Not only did we need to test all these formulas and tweak them so they met our high standards, we also had to test fragrance strength, color and packaging. Originally the body, room and linen spray was supposed to be a soft yellow until someone pointed out that it looked like a urine sample. The original body butter left a waxy residue on the skin so it was replaced by a shea souffle. See how difficult this is?!

Once the formulas were finished and the color finalized, the label designs and text had to be done. Whew! I’m already tired! Almost every formula had 2-3 labels and many were different sizes. Kim, being the professional she is, made the whole thing seem easy and all I had to do was write fluff copy for each product. I started by writing a whole list of descriptive words then just wrote a sentence or two about each item. With the help of Kathi and the rest of the staff, we fine-tuned the copy and we were set.

Now all we had to do was sit back and wait for the product to be delivered. While that was happening, we started planning the launch date of June 30th. Wendy, who owns the company creating the product, assured us she could have everything made and packaged. All was well. Then the label company called to inform us their presses had been down for two days and they weren’t sure when the labels would be done. Um, no, that answer is not acceptable! Fortunately, they got them back up and running and the product was delivered the night before. Margaret, Tina, Estelle, Kathi and Jentry all stayed late to merchandise it and get it ready for the grand unveiling.

What a day June 30th was! When I walked into the store it looked fresh, light and clean. We had a steady crowd all day and received rave reviews on the product. I was exhausted when I got home (as I’m sure everyone was that night) but proud to be a part of such an adventure. It was really cool to see something from the beginning to the end and know I had a hand in the creation. Stop by Harem & Company sometime to see it yourself. I think it’s a really great line!

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