Perfumers devise new fragrance blends for perfumes and cosmetic products. The position requires a certain level of physical ability in addition to an artistic flair for scent. With time and dedication, those who possess the natural abilities can rise through the ranks and bring their own unique scents to the world.
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Complete an education in chemistry. While not necessary, a chemistry background can get you an entry-level position in a cosmetic company. Many cosmetic companies train their perfumers on the job, as apprentices. Additionally, some fashion programs at universities offer perfumery courses, and the Fragrance Foundation offers an annual "Career Day" program, designed to give students a basic understanding of what is required of perfumers.
Gain a job at a cosmetic company or fashion house that has a perfumery division. Research the manufacturers of your own favourite scents, such as DKNY, Estee Lauder or Yves Saint Laurent, go to their websites and see if they have job postings listed. If they don't, contact the company's human resources department either by phone or through their website and ask what qualifications they prefer in their employees. Submit your resume whether or not they have openings to let them know you are interested. While it is difficult to gain employment as an apprentice perfumer at the start, many perfume companies hire people to mix the fragrance blends or work with the clients to discover what type of scent they are looking for, and apprentices will often be hired out of these fields.
Learn to recognise a wide range of scents. Perfumers must have a keen sense of smell, and it is important to train your sense of smell to recognise as many component scents as possible. Collect essential oils and basic perfume components, such as musk, and begin memorising the names of the scents. These oils and components can be obtained through cosmetic or perfume suppliers, many of whom have online shops.
Tips and warnings
- It may take upwards of a decade to become a perfumer, so be patient.
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