Secondary research: Product packaging


Packaging always makes a product stand out more in the shops. People prefer a variety of different packaging to preview the product, but one of the most wanted packaging varieties is reusable packaging. Consumers like to vary between packaging of these items. In this link, the business created a plastic two sided mould for bath bomb creating. From the 6 reviews, 2 consumers had rated 2 stars as the product did not appeal to their liking, 2 said 3 stars, because they enjoyed the product but didn’t 100% work for them and 2 said 5 stars because they thoroughly enjoyed the product and worked for them numerous times. Although, products always have their downsides, so if something doesn’t work, it won’t get the greatest reviews. For a business to be successful, the product must be successful, and there must be packaging for the product to help promote to different markets.
After some more research towards other kinds of packaging, reusable packaging is a great way to go. Many consumers prefer items to be put in reusable packaging so the consumers can use the packaging to their advantage for home made items too. Reusable packaging helps to promote the reduce, reuse, recycle cycle and this then creates a great look for our business and creates a good look for the community. This will then reduce the amount of rubbish/waste us kiwis produce. The more reusable packaging, the healthier the planet.

Although reusable packaging may be the way to go, people prefer to see the product in-front of their face. So a great alternative would be to make the packaging with a small opening where the consumer can see their finished product. After all, great packaging draws consumers in to buy your product. So, the better, higher grade packaging we produce, the more consumers our products will appeal too.


Book recommendations: Text 1

Looking for Alaska: Highly recommended

Author: John Green
Category: Teen fiction (novel)
Publisher: HarperCollins

“How will I ever escape this Labyrinth?”

A simple question that could lead to a million answers, possibilities, and never ending confusion. What is the Labyrinth, and how to escape it is exactly what Miles, Chip, and Alaska spend much of their time wondering, and one of the few constant ideas through a story line packed with mischief, friendship, unrequited love, and life changing plot twists. When Miles transfers to a boarding school, it’s not long before he meets his roommate Chip, and his best friend Alaska. Together they act like your average reckless teenagers: drinking, swearing, pulling pranks, and breaking almost every rule in the book. This is possibly why the characters are so easily relatable and hilarious to read about, because they are based off the stereotypes of today’s generation of teenagers. “The nice thing about the constant threat of expulsion at Culver Creek is that it lends excitement to every moment of illicit pleasure. The bad thing, of course, is that there is always the possibility of actual expulsion”. By taking every opportunity to do something reckless, dangerous, daring, or just plain stupid, the characters in the book are exactly what we want to be, and do the very things that we’ve never quite had the guts to attempt. As the book is written mainly about their everyday experiences, people who don’t generally read books will find this particularly entertaining, and can follow it easily. It also has underlying themes and twisted sections of text, which you have to read between the lines to figure out. It takes the time to explain the thought process behind many activities performed by teenagers, and as a result produces many different lessons that that age group can learn from.

The main question that comes from the characters in the story, is what does it mean to be alive? For Miles, it’s being able to form meaningful relationships (for example, good friendships) that helped him grow into the amazing character he became. For Chip, it’s living a life of adventure – taking risks and following his crazy plans, as he finds that what makes him feel alive is what it means to be alive. Or maybe, like Alaska thinks, it’s to love and to loose. That to be alive, we must fall in love with people and loose them, and understand that when you suffer a loss, it means you had something worth loosing. From these perspectives given by the characters, I personally found that the meaning of being alive is a mix of all of these. The meaning of life is to create the meaningful relationships that Miles looks for, and to share the daring adventures with them that Chip looks for, while you grow attached to them. Eventually you will loose both them and your adventures, just like Alaska, teaching you that the meaning of life is to enjoy what you have while you have it. These lessons are developed and grown throughout the story line with the authors plan to write about ordinary, simple teenage lives, mixed in with illustrious philosophical introspection, that go hand in hand with the hard-hitting life issues, and shocking plot twists that would make almost every reader question who the characters really are. The novel allows you to question, if not for the first time, what it means to be alive, and what we can do with it. It teaches you life lessons that are important for teenagers to learn, but, as it is written in a book, is a way they can learn and understand without actual doing the dangerous and stupid things that are discussed. John Green knew this, and he even added the quote “Teenagers think they’re invincible” to solidify this connection between the teenagers in the story, and teenagers in today’s society. It is both a simple read, yet completely and utterly complicated, meaning that it would suit all kinds of readers and all kinds of people. This is exactly why it is a perfect recommendation for a year 12 book club.

The most significant turning point of the book is Alaska’s death. It brings an urgency to Miles and Chip figuring out the Labyrinth, as they believe it will help them understand what Alaska was going through the night that she died. This will draw the readers in to conclude their own ideas on what happened to her, and how to figure out their own Labyrinths. I think that for young people, the Labyrinth is an important idea that represents this never ending maze of long school days, and what happens when we are no longer teenagers. The characters in the book link it to what happens after you die, but for a teenage audience, this can easily be related to what happens after you leave home – because in some ways, it’s almost like you’re loosing one life to start on another. You spend each day searching this maze, learning new paths and occasionally getting a grasp on where you are, where you’re going, and what you’re doing, just as the maze changes, turns, or flips upside down. It represents the idea that we are not able to leave home and go find our way in the world, we’re too young. But we’re also too old to be shown around and told what to do and how to act. Instead we are stuck in this middle ground, the Labyrinth, where nothing is ever as it seems, and the only constant is change and confusion. Looking for Alaska taught me that there is no escape to the Labyrinth, you just have to keep on going, and take every piece of advice and information you can. To escape, you have to try, to get out of your comfort zone, to make new friends, loose old friends, do stupid and reckless activities. But the only way to escape, is to enjoy and value you the time that you have there, because once you escape you’re all on your own – you don’t even have the high walls and shelter from the real world to keep you company. For the readers to better grasp the sudden urgency in discovering the Labyrinth, the book is visibly split into two sections. The first is before her death, and the second is after, helping the reader to really see the impact of her death on the characters and their relationships with each other. We learn that Miles is the kind of person who bases his perceptions on fact, and not knowing exactly what happened to Alaska greatly affects him. “So we gave up. I’d finally had enough of chasing after a ghost who did not want to be discovered. We’d failed, maybe, but some mysteries aren’t meant to be solved”. He wants to understand, but it takes a while for him to come to terms with the fact that we won’t always know the answer to everything, and that sometimes it’s better to leave mysteries as mysteries.

Personally, I found that this part of the book had the biggest impact on my views. It teaches you that sometimes ignorance is bliss, and that it’s better to live with this mystery that we can create our own fantasies on, rather than knowing the actual truth. People don’t like the idea that when we die, we go into a huge black space of nothing. Religions are based around this idea that we go somewhere after we die, but what if we don’t? It taught me that the reason people believe in religions, the reason they come up with different views on what happens after we die, is because we, as people, can’t bear not knowing the answer to such a controversial question. Yet if we ever did find the answer, somewhere, somehow, it would destroy the world. “I still think that, sometimes. I still think that, sometimes, think that maybe “the afterlife” is just something we made up to ease the pain of loss, to make our time in the labyrinth bearable”. Therefore, it helped me understand that sometimes mysteries are supposed to be just that: something with an unobtainable answer. This is one part of the book that we can relate to society the most. As today’s society is shaped by this idea of what happens after you die, it creates a unique connection between the story and the real life world that the reader can’t help but see. This connection again makes it easier to understand, but will also make the reader think about what the author is trying to portray. This idea eventually leads to Miles discovering that for him, the way out of the Labyrinth is to forgive. That for us to survive this idea of not knowing, we must forgive those who leave without giving us the answers to the mysteries we so desperately want to solve. “Before I got here, I thought for a long time that the way out of the labyrinth was to pretend that it did not exist, to build a small, self-sufficient world in the back corner of the endless maze and to pretend that I was not lost, but home”. This shows how Miles’ views change over the course of the book, as after Alaska’s death, he finally decides “… that I forgave him, and that she forgave us, and that we have to forgive to survive in the labyrinth. There were so many of us who would have to live with things done and things left undone that day. Things that did not go right, things that seemed okay at the time because we could not see the future. If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can’t know better until knowing better is useless”. Once again, the story covers philosophical questions that few authors of teen fiction manage to grasp. This book is such a good recommendation for a year 12 book club because gives subtle insight into a deeper meaning for our own lives. It is a book directed at teens, yet has challenging content that has been portrayed in an easy to understand way by involving them into such ordinary lives.

John Green has managed to pull of a writing style that is both an easy and challenging read, but accurately defines how teenagers act and think through how we communicate best: our actions, arguments, conversations, and confusing mixed signals. He has used witty comments, and quick comebacks, items taken from everyday dialogue, most commonly seen in the vocabulary of teenagers. It’s just a book that’s fun to read. You create a connection with the characters. They make you laugh, cry, worry, and feel like you’re almost as much as part of the story as they are. He describes the characters through conversations between themselves, and is able to express their feelings and perspectives without it being heavy and hard to read. This relates well to society because when we meet new people, we find out who they are through conversations both with the person and with other people about them. He has described and portrayed the characters in a way that we would meet others in real life, rather than just writing down exactly who they were, what they looked like, and how they thought. This connection not only allows us to contrast it with today’s society, but also be introduced to the characters as if we were meeting them on the street, as if they’re actual people. Depending on the topic of conversation, Green is able to alter his style of writing depending on what he wants the reader to understand. For example, the bits of arguments and action between the characters and their relationships are often fast paced dialogue to allow him to fit more into the story, whereas the parts where he wants you to understand deeper meanings and philosophical concepts, he uses long paragraphs with detailed descriptions that are easy to follow, just to ensure the reader doesn’t get too confused. By stretching out these parts of the story, he allows the reader time to absorb the information he’s feeding, and to revitalise the story before speeding off into the next fast paced section of the book. I have found that this makes the story easier to read, and means that you are always able to understand what’s going on in the book. All of the reasons here means it makes Looking for Alaska a good recommendation for a year 12 book club.

By Dharma Bratley

Secondary research: Consumer preference – Fragrances

There’s nothing more sacred than “me time”–and there’s nothing quite like a good, long soak in a hot bath to whisk you away from a chaotic day.  Make a much-needed escape even more luxurious with fizzy, scented bath bombs.

Bath bombs are generally spherical but can be found in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and scents. Most of the bath bombs have scented ingredients – such as essential oils.

We can use essential oils, to make scented bath bombs. Here’s the lists of oils we can use:


Most of them are hard to find. We can just use the lavender oil because it’s a popular addition to bath products due to its pleasant, relaxing scent.

Secondary research: Previous market research and focused questions

Research on Bath Bombs:

Based on Secondary research on previous market research, we can see what kind of questions to ask consumers on possible surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, or other areas of primary market research. This way we can determine what areas are important to focus on when collecting the data, and concentrates what information we are getting to make our primary research more efficient. To do this, we can look at similar surveys, to gather which questions are the most asked, and which questions will be the most relevant to us. We will also be able to determine how to word these to get the answers we want, and how to create a product that will be the best suited to our market.
The first is a survey is based around soap/bath consumer behaviour, and is looking at how often consumers would actually use the product. The first half of the survey is defining the consumer, to see who this survey is actually affecting. The results show that 5/9 were female, with an age range between 20-40, and an average age of 24. The next few questions look at how often you would use it, or whether it would be something you wouldn’t actually use. It showed that 4/5 regularly used a bath over the shower, and would purchase bath products from grocery shops rather than specialist shops. We assume this is due to convenience reasons, as it would be a waste of time to go out to a specialist shop when you can simply purchase it with your weekly goods. The next questions focus on the reasons why you would purchase the product and we discovered that they are commonly purchased for gifts, or purposes other than to use as a personal luxury item. When completing our own survey, it would be better to use a larger number of people to gain a better grasp on the information it will produce.
The next area of previous research we investigated was personal research done by consumers. We came across a story where an everyday consumer tested the bath bombs from Lush in America, and commented on the areas she liked and disliked, mainly focusing on changes in the colour of the bath water, fizz length, tub residue, and overall bath experience. She mentioned first that the colour of the water didn’t change too much, which was a good thing as she said she wouldn’t want to have a bath in completely discoloured water. Next she talked about how the certain one she tested fizzed for the entire time she left the water running. Apparently it would be more enjoyable to simply use a few smaller bombs and have the fizz time stretched out. This is an important piece of information for us, as this is dependent on personal preference. Some people might prefer using only one bomb, while others might prefer to use several smaller ones. The tub residue test was a fail, as it left small granules after exiting the bath. When producing the products, we have to keep in mind the size of the different components and make sure that it won’t leave too much mess after it’s finished. Lastly, she touched on the overall experience of using this particular bomb. From this we can take that we can’t make the fragrance of them too strong, as people don’t like overpowering smell. If we can produce something that matches all of this criteria, our product will be perfect for this specific market.
The last area we researched was consumer feedback on existing products. This was found by looking at consumer review websites, focusing on bath bombs. The feedback was mainly positive, and they all revolved around the product smelling really good both when purchased and in the bath, and having it dissolve properly without leaving any residue. They also mention them discolouring the bath slightly, but nothing that affects the colour of your skin. From all of the reviews, the feedback was basically the same, and has many key elements that we will take into consideration when producing them.
Overall, the research on previous market research gave us more focused ideas on how to layout our plans for primary research, and more factors to keep in mind when creating the products. From this we can see that the questions we focus on will mainly be about consumer preference (colours, smells, fizz, etc.), and will be our open questions. It’s important to define our target market as well, and will be using closed questions to identify gender, age groups, and other information around that. Areas that will be interesting to see the results for are how consumers would rather buy these products (as gifts and sets, or bought in supermarkets or specialty stores), and what aspects of it they would buy them for (personal use, to see what they do, or for other reasons relating to why they would buy them). This secondary research will greatly help the development of our products.

Related links: (no general link, but you can see other reviews by clicking on the related items)

Secondary research: Existing businesses and market competitors

Research focused on Bath Bombs:
The three main business that are in the same market as us (our main competitors) are Lush, Living Naturally NZ, and online retailers such as Etsy, which sell handcrafted goods, very similar to ours. When we look at these three main competitors, we can see that they’re all targeting a market that consists mainly of women, or men who are buying these products as a gift for women. The age ranges vary across the companies, with Lush targeting 13-25 year olds, Living Naturally targeting 25+, and Etsy covering all ages, as it’s made from different groups of consumers, targeting variations of the same market. We can gather this from the way they market their products.
Lush’s online website consists of lots of colour and photographs that would appeal to a younger market. They have shown these products in a way that would appeal to the age range stated above, as the bright colours and busy photos are all attractive to the consumer’s eye. They have accented this with straight lines and black and white backgrounds, keeping it simplistic but not boring. They have added pictures of products that are in the bath bombs, and different kinds of packaging. They haven’t kept all of the attention on the bath bombs themselves, but have shown different aspects of what went into the process to create them. The way they have designed the website and their products shows that to market and produce our products, they must be colourful and interesting, but it’s best to not overdo it. The colours are an important factor, and they need to be co-ordinated with each other and to not have too many different ones, otherwise consumers won’t like the look of them.
Living Naturally has few photos, and the ones they do have are of their products. They have a very neutral colour scheme, and would be targeting a relatively older market. The products they do have all look like they have no variation in packaging, and the only differences have fewer options colour and fragrance wise than Lush. From this we can see that to appeal to an older audience, it’s better to keep things minimal, and have natural fragrances such as lavender, that aren’t too strong. They also have little variation in the shape of their products.
On online producers such as Etsy, the individual shops can only market their products through the initial photo of it. This means that they have to come up with a point of difference from their competitors. For some, this means they offer different sizes of bath bombs, others have chosen gift packs that consist of different colours and fragrances. Other options include having them in different shapes, or packaged in tissue paper, cellophane, boxes, or even glass jars. From this, we can see that the appearance of the actual product is a very important aspect to targeting the right market. Although they might be a competitor in the same market, as they only have an online presence, they won’t be as much competition as someone producing similar products with a shop close by. They have shown us that if we were to introduce variations in the bath bombs, such as colours, size, or shape, as well as changing possible packaging, we can cater for a wider target market.
From the secondary research conducted on competitors in our target market, we can see how adding variations to our product, we can attract both our original target market, and extend that to a wider age range. We can do this by varying the product and incorporating different marketing strategies such as creating gift sets of the bath bombs, or designing your own gift sets to make them more personalised for the consumer. From this research, we have found that the key ideas that we will need to keep in mind when producing this product is colours, fragrance, shape, and to make sure it’s simple, but not boring. Other articles of interest are about the marketing plan of Lush, which describes how it came to success when it was the only company offering organic cosmetics. It goes on to describe other areas where this company has excelled, where we can take good product research from (see the last related link).

Related links:

The American Civil War – History start-up unit

Economic impacts:


The long-term effect of the Civil War on the US economy was to accelerate the development of big business manufacturing in the North initiated by the demands of war production. The shortage of labor created by war conscription pushed industrialization in the Northeast, the spread of mechanized farming in the Middle West and the opening of new farms and mines in the West, with post-war decommissioned soldiers facing unemployment. Inflation reached 117% during the war years but wages rose only 43% in the name of patriotic sacrifice, yielding high war profit margins for corporations. War speculation fueled the rise of the finance sector, causing sharp disparity of income and wealth between financiers and workers hitherto unknown in the US economy.

My Findings: There were many economic impacts of the American Civil War. One main idea was that due to the necessity of more machinery and artillery, new business opportunities and innovations started to arise. This meant America were developing bigger businesses much faster than they had previously, and supplying a larger output. As most of the working class were away fighting war, they had very few men left to actually build and develop these products. This then meant they had to come up with new ways to produce this higher demand of output, and thus began the industrialisation through the North. This idea then spread to the mid west, where it was developed to keep up the maintenance of farms, before reaching the west were it was then used to open new farms and mines, ready to open when the soldiers came home from war looking for work. Other economic impacts included the rise of inflation, which is the term for a steady increase in the general price of the CPI (consumer price index). This increased by 117% as the war continued, but only 47% for their wages, resulting in companies having much larger war profit margins.

Long term consequences:


The Civil War, of course, ended slavery in the United States. It did not immediately bring equality to African Americans. However, by ending slavery, it made eventual racial equality (to the extent that we now have it) possible. It also broke up the old aristocratic system in the South and made that region more democratic in the long term.

My findings: There were many long term consequences to the civil war. Possibly the most important of these was ending slavery, and starting to bring in equality to African Americans. By ending slavery, it meant that African Americans were allowed to start becoming equal citizens with the white people, even if there were no immediate results. Some would argue that we still don’t have full racial equality, but due to the civil war, having full equality was, and is now, a possibility. A second consequence was the introduction of democracy to the Southern states, which was at the time, mainly run by the aristocrats (the rich). This began to decrease the previously widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Short term consequences:


The Civil War was America’s bloodiest conflict. The unprecedented violence of battles such as Shiloh, Antietam, Stones River, and Gettysburg shocked citizens and international observers alike. Nearly as many men died in captivity during the Civil War as were killed in the whole of the Vietnam War. Hundreds of thousands died of disease. Roughly 2% of the population, an estimated 620,000 men, lost their lives in the line of duty. Taken as a percentage of today’s population, the toll would have risen as high as 6 million souls. (See link for more casualty statistics).

My findings: One of the most significant short term consequences of the American Civil War was the casualties. This was an immediate consequence, and resulted in a huge number of loss of lives. It was suspected to be the war which took the lives of the highest percentage of americans, as well as injuries and captures. According to the data, 620,000 were killed, 476,000 were wounded, and 400,000 were captured or missing. The state will the highest deaths was Virginia and North Carolina, closely followed by Alabama. If we were to look at which side of the battle suffered the worst from this short term consequence, we would definitely say the South. This is because looking at the statistics for the civil war troops, they had just over a million men to start with, compared to the numbers of the North, which reached just under five million. Although the North saw slightly more deaths, they still had a number of troops which was around twice the size of that of the South. Of course, not every eligible man was fighting, but the numbers in the North mean that when you added up the number of deaths, soldiers, and eligible non participants, they had almost three times the amount of the South. From this we can see that the deaths and casualties of the American civil war was a significant short term consequence.

Positive consequences:


The Southern transportation system also experienced a revolution as manufacturers needed a steady way of transporting their goods to market. The railroads expanded rapidly as hundreds of miles of track were laid throughout the South. Small farmers were especially interested and inspired by these changes. They further applauded the division of many large plantations and hurried to purchase more land. They were also excited by the chances to increase their political power by cooperating with the Republican state governments.

My findings: There were many positive consequences that came from the American civil war. One of these was the improvement to transportation, which was mainly seen in the South. As the industrialization and productivity had increased over the course of the war, more goods were being produced, and therefore there was increased demand for better transportation. Markets were booming, and so the need for this new infrastructure were met, thus developing the productivity of the South. This brought more jobs, and pushed the economy, all while making the South an easier place to get around. As the uses of transportation grew, so did the farmers, who all rushed to buy more land, and the selling of their goods was getting easier by the day. This of course was a large enough change to catch political attention, meaning farmers were able to gain more political power with the Republican state governments. The improvement to transportation and increased political power were important positive consequences of the American civil war.

Negative consequences:


Hundreds of thousands of slaves freed during the American civil war died from disease and hunger after being liberated, according to a new book. The reality of emancipation during the chaos of war and its bloody aftermath often fell brutally short of that positive image. Instead, freed slaves were often neglected by union soldiers or faced rampant disease, including horrific outbreaks of smallpox and cholera. Many of them simply starved to death. About a quarter of the four million freed slaves either died or suffered from illness between 1862 and 1870. He writes in the book that it can be considered “the largest biological crisis of the 19th century” and yet it is one that has been little investigated by contemporary historians.

My findings: One negative consequence that was neglected after the end of the American civil war was the well being of black slaves. After suffering years of slavery, having family members sold, being treated like animals, and having no rights, the end of the civil war should have brought an end to this. The abolishment of slavery meant that the slaves were finally free, and had far more rights than the years previous, but they were still seen as second class citizens. The civil war meant that the up keeping of a lot of farms was near non existent, and there was a shortage of food in many states across the country. Many black slaves starved to death as a result, and very few were tended to by union soldiers. Disease was everywhere, and the blacks were all at high risk of getting them, as their living conditions, food, water, and general well being was never up to the same level as the whites had. At one point, a lot of people believed that they would die out all together. One negative consequence of the civil war was that a large percentage newly freed black slaves died after the end of the American civil war.

Political impacts:


The 15th Amendment to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” More than a half-million black men became voters in the South during the 1870s (women did not secure the right to vote in the United States until 1920). For the most part, these new black voters cast their ballots solidly for the Republican Party, the party of the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln.

My findings: There were many political impacts that came after the end of the civil war. One of these was the introduction of new amendments, specifically the fifteenth. This stated that the newly freed blacks were eligible to vote as well, disrupting previous voting patterns. This new change found that the majority voted for the Republicans. At the time, this was because the southern politicians in those days were Democrats, who did not welcome blacks at all. This change in voting patterns greatly impacted the politics of America after the civil war.

 Social impacts:


The Civil War was more than just a series of battles. It was a nationwide catastrophe that had a profound impact on all aspects of American society. Men were taken from farms, factories and plantations and sent to fight one another leaving women and children to tend to the home front. Huge casualties on both sides meant that everyone was directly affected by the carnage, even those living far from the scene of battle. In the areas where battles did occur, homes, farms, schools, and bridges were leveled. War led to the dislocation of American society on an unprecedented scale.

My findings: Social impacts were seen across the country, and were a major part of the American civil war. As there were very few men at home to tend to farms and crops, women had to do most of the hard work to keep these up and running. This changed the social structures of those at home, as women no longer had as much time in the day to see others or keep up the same social lives they had before the war began. The societies often had to become closer together as they struggled through the war, as everyone needed to give a helping hand once in while. This is how society was impacted as a result of the civil war.

Historical significance: