December 22, 2008

Have your own business with Lavender's Botanicals

We probably won't play it much around here, where we live it every day, but I happened across a computer game called Lavender's Botanicals.

Expand your all-natural personal care business while helping your community in Lavender’s Botanicals! Travel the world and meet people who will help you find new ingredients, recipes, new production facilities and more!

As your business grows, you’ll have to keep your production facilities stocked with resources while developing new products to keep up with the market and increase sales. If you do well and keep yourself true to your all-natural dream, you’ll earn great rewards!

I downloaded the trial version to check it out. For that, I get 60 minutes of game play before I have to drag out my credit card and spend $20 on the full version.  I can Discover 56 Recipes, Solve more than 90 quests, Visit 17 unique cities, and make over 200 products.

I read through the 22 pages of help screens, lowered the music level, put the game into a window, and played the game for 19 minutes. I managed to make 6 bottles of Lavender Lotion in that time, as well as exploring the home city and talking to the aunt who is the player's mentor.

The game screens are educational in nature, providing information about ingredients and products. The product list, at least at the beginning, is limited, but you have to go searching for ingredients before you can use them.

I would guess this game is aimed at teenagers, and it appears to be an excellent educational tool about running a natural products business.

The game is from uclickgames. Derek Nolen was the Executive Producer and provided the Game Concept.  Mystery Studio was the Developer.

If you're interested in a more complete review, try this review by Marc Saltzman on GameZebo.

Posted by Rob on December 22, 2008 in Book/Movie Reviews, Education, Marketing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 12, 2008

Organic/Natural Standards to be Discussed at Upcoming Meeting

The big players in the Beauty Products World are gathering together in New York later this week at "The Natural Beauty Summit" to "create a forum to learn and discuss the key challenges the cosmetics industry faces in the areas of natural and organic products as well as sustainability" . . . or so says the program for the conference, to be held at the Hilton Hotel in New York City May 15-17. This is a followon to a similar summit in Paris last November, to be followed by a sequel, again in Paris, in October 2008.

Sponsored by Organic Monitor and Beyond Beauty Paris, the main focus of this conference will be Natural Cosmetics with a major session on Standard & Regulatory Issues followed by a panel discussion, and the next day a Natural Cosmetics Workshop focusing on "an assessment of the growing number of standards and certifications for natural and organic cosmetics . . . [with] a critical review of the major standards, comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences between them."

The list of standards and proposed standards that will be covered at the session is:

  • A Retail products standard proposed by Whole Foods
  • the USDA National Organic Program Standard applied to Cosmetics
  • the American NSF Standard
  • the OASIS Standard
  • A review of European natural and organic standards harmonization

The aromaconnection blog will be following these issues closely as they develop.  Notably missing from the above list is the NPA (Natural Products Association) standard we blogged about yesterday and last month. We are working on a table showing details of the standards and comparing their features.  In fact, we are probably duplicating what may show up in the proceedings of the NBS (if there are any), but we hope to get it into print sooner.

Organic Monitor, one of the co-sponsors of the NBS, predicts that 2008 will be the beginning of "an industry shake-up" as various standards are unveiled in Europe and North America. In this linked article, they reference several standards that are not included on the list above. They also express concern about fragmentation that could lead to a reduction of trade, but express also the "more optimistic view" that Cosmetics might follow the lead of the textile industry and develop a harmonized global standard.

In the meantime the infighting has already begun. OCA and Dr. Bronner's have challenged what they call "weak" ECOCERT and OASIS standards, according to this OCA Press Release widely reported in the media mid-March. And as we reported yesterday, the C.A.M. Report is somewhat skeptical of the whole idea.

We can probably look forward to an exciting year!

Posted by Rob on May 12, 2008 in Marketing, Organizations, Politics, Regulatory Issues, Standards, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 11, 2008

Natural Products Association Rushes ahead with a "Natural" Product Standard

Without allowing much time for industry review and feedback, the Natural Products Association has moved to implement their "Standard and Certification for Personal Care Products." As discussed previously on this blog, a meeting was held to discuss this standard in early April, and based on our research online we suggested that more work was needed to integrate standards.  The NPA has moved ahead and published what they describe as an "initial standard" on their website, and is setting up a seal of approval and a process for certification. The standard is intended to encompass "all cosmetic personal care products regulated and defined by FDA."

In my opinion, this is a preemptive move on the part of the NPA to seize the initiative in establishing a standard, without following the usual process for standards development. The international Standards Association (ISO), which is the authoritative international standards body, develops industry wide, voluntary standards based on a consensus of all interested parties. They suggest three main phases in the standards development process:

    1. The need for a standard is usually expressed by an industry sector, which communicates this need to a national member body. The latter proposes the new work item to ISO as a whole. Once the need for an International Standard has been recognized and formally agreed, the first phase involves definition of the technical scope of the future standard. This phase is usually carried out in working groups which comprise technical experts from countries interested in the subject matter. 
    2. Once agreement has been reached on which technical aspects are to be covered in the standard, a second phase is entered during which countries negotiate the detailed specifications within the standard. This is the consensus-building phase. 
    3. The final phase comprises the formal approval of the resulting draft International Standard (the acceptance criteria stipulate approval by two-thirds of the ISO members that have participated actively in the standards development process, and approval by 75% of all members that vote), following which the agreed text is published as an ISO International Standard.

Of course here we are not yet proposing an International Standard. The NPA is an industry sector, that has recognized a need for a standard. But that is where the process has broken down. There has been no public consensus building process, I haven't seen the establishment of a working group of technical experts, and even though the ISO suggests the publication of interim standards (which is what they are calling the current attempt).

The C.A.M. report takes a very skeptical attitude towards the NPA seal, essentially accusing the NPA of producing a marketing gimmick.  He appears to have gotten his information from the press release and not the detailed standard, but who am I to argue with him?  He's probably right.

Posted by Rob on May 11, 2008 in Marketing, Regulatory Issues, Standards | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 08, 2007

Notes and News November 8

  • tgdaily reports that online perfume seller perfumebay has lost another round of its trademark appeal against eBay. perfumebay vows in their blog to fight on and appeal the case the the Supreme Court. 
  • A "Community-Based Lemon Grass Oil Production" project has won an award in the Philippines. The project plans to construct three essential oil facilities "using appropriate technologies and practical approaches in creating sustainable livelihood and alternative sources of income for poor upland communities in Negros Occidental." The project is being run by the Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc. (AIDFI).
  • A Japanese company is developing the computer controlled use of aromas for hi-tech marketing, according to an article in The Guardian. Preliminary experiments with lavender and orange scents produced an average sales increase of 4.8% when scents were released at a shopping mall. The study is being done using equipment developed by Air Aroma.

Posted by Rob on November 8, 2007 in Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Marketing, Notes and News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 04, 2007

L'Oreal Body Shop Acquisition Gives Investors Greener Returns

. . .  according to an article on that originated on and has been reprinted in a number of other sites and papers.

They project that sales at the Body Shop unit will grow at a rate three times the French companies by 2010 as consumers shift towards more natural and organic products. L'Oreal also bought the more organic Sanoflore last year to bolster it's position in the organic/natural market.

The implication of all this is that consumers will be more interested in the kinds of products that are in the purview of this blog.

Posted by Rob on October 4, 2007 in Marketing | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 06, 2007

Notes and News

  • The Diabetes Blog features an essential oil product that is a topical treatment for diabetes neuropathy. "Neuragen is made of a proprietary blend of essential oils from special species of geranium, lavender, bergamot, eucalyptus, and tea tree." Clinical trials have shown it to be effective in 70% of patients for the pain associated with diabetes.
  • Per the Salina [KS] Journal, new uses for perfume: "A 13-year-old Salina boy was referred to juvenile court after allegedly spraying an 8-year-old boy with perfume, then igniting the perfume, causing second-degree burns. "
  • Another lavender farming Blog with some good pictures of a copper still and more Whidbey Island scenery from Lavender Wind Farm, down the road from Penn Cove Farm.
  • Fragrance sales have plummeted in the US despite strong global figures, according to Cosmetics 2006 sales dropped by 4.5% to $5.9bn, while global sales grew by 6% to around $30.6bn.
  • A paper in the International Journal of Cardiology reports the results of a study that showed decreases in serum cortisol levels but no changes in blood pressure or heart rate after Lavender aromatherapy treatments. (Abstract)

Posted by Rob on September 6, 2007 in Aromatherapy, Marketing, Notes and News, Oil Crops, Perfumery, Research, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack