Perfume making is both an art and a science. For thousands of years multiple cultures have worked on techniques to capture and create lasting fragrances. While in ancient Egypt perfume was only for the aristocracy, in modern times large-scale manufacturing and distribution make fragrance widely available. You don't have to be a famous designer or multinational company to get into the game. There are still places where the art of perfume making is taught and boutique perfumers also open their own businesses.
- Skill level:
Enrol in a perfume making course. Introductory classes by perfume making hobbyists and experts are available throughout the country. Online beauty schools also offer basic perfume making distance learning courses. These will give you an understanding of the basics of how perfume is made and what goes into designing a fragrance.
Take advanced perfuming courses. You may have to travel for these. Grasse, France, is widely considered the centre of the perfuming world. Several large manufacturers operate plants which produce fragrances for a wide variety of designers and beauty companies. There are also numerous boutique perfumeries and shops in Grasse, operated by people who believe in their fragrance concepts and want to remain independent. Ecole des Parfums at the Château de Berne (School of Perfumes at the Chateau of Berne) and L'Atelier du Petit Parfumeur (The Studio of the Small Perfumer) teach courses at various levels, including classes which delve into each perfume type and speciality.
Decide whether you prefer to design your own fragrance and then hire a perfume maker, or to use your new found skills to manufacture your own perfume. Grasse is a good place to contact professional perfumeries and to develop contracting arrangements if you choose to go in that direction.
Purchase perfume distilling equipment to make your own fragrances from scratch. If you want to work from the ground-up, you'll need the equipment to distil your own scents and mix them into perfume.
Purchase supplies of essential oils, alcohol and other perfume mixing chemicals for making fragrances in small quantities. You don't need distilling equipment if you just need a few bottles of fragrance at a time. Bear in mind that essential oils can be expensive, which is why large scale manufacturers make their own. You can find a wide variety of essential oils for sale online.
Contract a marketing firm to assist you with packaging, marketing and distribution. Unless you plan to operate a strictly boutique line of perfumes, breaking into the retail perfume market can be challenging. You'll need professionals who understand the workings of the industry, the big players and who to contact in order to get your independent business noticed by major distributors and retailers.
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