The Evolution of Artificial Perspiration, Pickering-Style
By Rebecca Smith
Our employees’ favorite response to the standard “what do you do?” question plays into the novelty of some of our lesser known products: “We make artificial sweat!”
Coming from a traditional chromatography background (with over 30 years of reputation as the “post-column people”), it has always been a fun conversation starter, not to mention a great way to illustrate exactly how unique Pickering Labs is.
Pickering was initially approached by the forensics industry. Our first sweat customer, Crime Sciences Inc., inquired into the possibility of an artificial perspiration solution that would mimic a human fingerprint. The goal was to provide a control for the fingerprinting tests used by forensic investigators. Intrigued by the possibilities, Michael Pickering jumped on the opportunity. He began researching the chemical composition of actual human eccrine sweat. As a result, our artificial perspiration is the only formulation standardized to be used across all industries as it mimics true human sweat and does not rely on any one desired testing result.
After adding artificial perspiration to our catalog, we spent several years selling a bottle here and there. Other than the catalog and webpage, we weren’t really focusing in on ‘sweat’ as a product line. Beginning in 2011, our sweat sales unexpectedly began to take off. We also started getting an increased number of inquiries for industry-specific artificial perspirations, with specific components designed to test one particular trait of the product. It appeared that the time had come to expand our sweat offerings!
Today, we offer about ten different formulations of artificial perspiration (in addition to five artificial saliva formulations and three urines). We make numerous proprietary custom formulations for our customers as well. We have also expanded our offerings to include the ability to modify the pH or stabilization of any sweat formulation to suit specific needs a customer might have.
Pickering continues to see increasing sales of our very popular artificial eccrine perspiration. To accommodate growing use and facilitate larger orders, we have even begun selling our stabilized eccrine perspiration in larger bottles! Now a customer can choose the best fit for them – 5mL, 200mL (most popular), and now 950mL.
The unique qualities of Pickering Labs that make us so responsive to customer needs continue to thrive. And now with our expanded product testing offerings, we are starting to be known not just as the “post-column people,” but also be recognized as “those people that make sweat” too!
It’s been a fun ride so far. And our primary source of advertising continues to be word of mouth, so feel free to bring us up the next time you’re looking for a conversation starter!