How to Be Successful in the Designer Perfume Business

Written by rose brown
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The perfume industry is a multimillion-dollar endeavour. Thousands of new fragrances are introduced annually, and consumers never seem to tire of buying them. Both men and women love to use fragrance as part of their everyday grooming routines. Perfume is also a desirable gift, and sales are especially healthy during the holidays. As a result, it seems virtually every entrepreneurial fashion designer and celebrity has released a fragrance bearing his or her name. If you, too, would like to capitalise on perfume's popularity, these guidelines will help you to be successful in the designer perfume business.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Learn how perfumes are designed, manufactured and marketed. Read informative books such as "The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry" by Chandler Burr and "Perfumes: The Guide," an encyclopedic catalogue of thousands of fragrances, by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez.

  2. 2

    Smell as many different perfumes as you can. Discover what types of scents are available, which perfumers created them, how much they retail for. Be able to describe a variety of perfumes with ease. Remember that to be successful in dealing with a type of product, you must have a comprehensive knowledge of it.

  3. 3

    Establish a budget for the creation of a new fragrance. Remember that some of your seed money will go to cover cost of the raw fragrance materials, some will pay a professional perfumer to design the fragrance, some will pay for the cost of actually manufacturing the first batch of perfumes, some will pay for bottles and packaging, and some will go toward distribution and marketing. Your budget can range from £1,300 to £130,000, depending on how hands-on you want to be in creating and launching the perfume.

  4. 4

    Write a perfume brief---a document ranging in length from a single paragraph to several pages that describes the type of perfume you want to create. Include specific notes, flowers and other materials you want the perfume to contain as well as images, people and experiences that reflect the essence of the perfume,

  5. 5

    Approach several professional perfumers with your brief and talk with them about the possibility of making your imagined perfume a reality. Hire a perfumer who understands your creative vision and has experience creating a successful fragrance. Note that a majority of professional perfumers work for one of the handful of international flavour and fragrance companies, which are responsible for the creation of most commercial and designer perfumes. Visit for a list of the top flavour and fragrance companies worldwide, then check out their individual websites for contact information.

  6. 6

    Have your perfumer make a few different versions of the fragrance, if possible. Test these versions with small groups of people to determine which formula is the most popular and likely to sell well.

  7. 7

    Choose a name and bottles for the perfume, and design packaging that reflects the perfume's style and essence, and conveys the image you desire. Hire a manufacturer to produce, bottle and package large quantities of the perfume. Find a variety of perfume manufacturers by typing "flavour and fragrance" into an Internet search engine, or visit for a list of the top flavour and fragrance companies worldwide.

  8. 8

    Arrange to sell your perfume in a variety of retail venues, including department stores, boutiques, and online. Approach the stores' fragrance buyer or the owner and ask him or her to consider adding your perfume to the shop's offerings. Celebrate the debut of your perfume with special events and parties at the various stores where it will be sold. Send press releases and samples of the fragrance to perfume industry publications, the authors of online perfume blogs, fashion and beauty magazines, and local newspapers.

Tips and warnings

  • To market your perfume as "designer," consider associating your own name with the product, since you are the one who designed it. For example, you might call your perfume "Summer Dew by Jane Smith."
  • Remember that skilful marketing often has a greater impact on a perfume's success than the fragrance itself. Continue to market your fragrance aggressively after its initial release to help ensure consumer awareness and high sales.
  • Most designer perfumes on the market today have been manufactured at one of a handful of the major flavour and fragrance companies in the world.

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