I had an email a couple of weeks ago that is a common question I get asked. It went along the lines of “have a dream to create my own perfume brand but I can’t afford to pay for a course – where do I start with limited funds” This is such a difficult thing to answer as I am all about encouraging people to forge ahead with following their dreams. Sometimes however there has to be a reality check and I am also about being open and honest with everyone I interact with.
Perfumery is a costly business, it’s a fact. Materials are expensive, packaging is expensive, creating and designing and marketing your branding is expensive. Manufacturing a product line is expensive.
Creating a business based on physical products needs money and investment with no guarantee of success.
So here is my honest answer: If you do not have the funds to invest in a training course then please do not think about starting a perfume brand anytime soon as it will be the smallest expense you will have. This is not to put you off or to tell you to sign up to a course but the reality is turning this into a business costs money, knowledge, experience and time.
Here are my tips:
Money: I would suggest at the bare minimum you need is around £10-15k plus your own living expenses for a couple of years covered to start out launching a small product line. If you don’t have that kind of cash but have the knowledge and experience I would suggest starting small by creating one off bespoke fragrances in off the shelf bottles for people in your local area and building your reputation via Facebook ads. That way you are not investing too much in one go and you reduce your risk.
Knowledge: If you are starting from ground zero you need to start learning as much as you can. Pick from here depending on your budget
Free: Read everything on my blog and watch all my youtube videos. Join my FREE MASTERCLASS Other great blogs for solid knowledge are http://perfumeshrine.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://boisdejasmin.com/
£: Buy a book or 2 from my reading list here: (you can sometimes find deals on 2nd hand copies online)
££: Come to a live class or do the Natural Perfumery Masterclass online
£££: Join the full online course or come to the 3 day live class or the 5 day if you want intensive fast track learning
££££: Contact me for private classes or consultancy
Experience: knowledge is important but practice is essential. The more you practice and the more mistakes you make the better you will get. If you are determined to launch a perfume line but have realised that it takes a lot of time and practice to create your own then think about hiring a professional perfumer. If you want something unique and exclusive expect to pay a formulation fee to an independent perfumer. If you don’t mind an “off the shelf” fragrance then a perfume house will just stipulate a minimum order of fragrance concentrate – either in order value (£) order volume (kg)
Time: Spend some time every day training your nose and put aside time every week to create an accord or two. Product development time to allow for a new product launch is at least 12 months FROM the time you have your fragrance finished to allow for supplier lead times, testing and safety assessments so keep that in mind when thinking about your business plan.
I hope that helps and do let me know if you have any other questions around starting a fragrance business.