I want to be a Perfumer – Getting into the Fragrance Industry

In today’s post I want to address the 3 questions I get asked the most. They are:

  1. “How do I get into the fragrance industry?”
  2. “I want to be a perfumer, where do I start?”
  3. “Will your course make me a qualified perfumer?”

The answer to all of them is “it depends” so I’ll try to cover all possibilities below.

How do I get into the fragrance industry?

There are many different job roles in the fragrance industry, most of which are filled internally by the big companies so it can be hard to get that foot in the door. 

I was lucky and did it by accident through a work placement with IFF on my Cosmetics Science Diploma course. I ended up staying with the company and training as an evaluator whilst studying. The person who currently does the same job as I had back then has a chemistry degree and 2 years at ISIPCA. 

My advice is read, study and learn as much as you can but generally today there is only one route into the commercial industry and that is to study at one of the industry sponsored schools such as ISIPCA, Ecole Supérieure du Parfum or one of the schools run by a fragrance house such as  Givaudan or Mane

Of course there are other ways to work in the industry other than as a perfumer or evaluator and that is in sales or marketing. LinkedIn is a great place to network with these companies and see job posts. Don’t be afraid to apply for work placements as you never know who you will meet.

I want to be a perfumer, where do I start?

That depends. If you want to enter the commercial fragrance industry then see the question above.

If you want to be an independent perfumer or start your own business then there are other options open to you. 

If you are in Europe it is a bit harder to create and sell your own fragrances due to E.U regulations that do not apply in countries like the USA. Before you start worrying about regulations there are some other things to take into account.

Do you want to be a perfumer or launch a product line? You don’t have to create your own fragrances, there are people who can do that for you. There are many brand owners who are not perfumers and do not create their own fragrances. I work with people like that all the time through my Skype consultancy. If this is the path you want to take then let me know as it can be difficult to find the right company to work with if you don’t know the industry.

If you want to create yourself then start studying and reading as much as you can and do a course.

Perfumery is expensive and not a quick thing to learn, if you can’t afford to do a course then please consider carefully whether this is for you as the materials you will need to build a perfumers organ are expensive – especially the naturals. Be prepared to do more than one class – a 1 day perfumery class will not make you a proficient perfumer, that comes with time and practice.

Start by reading these blog posts:


Then watch my free 3 part video series

If you want ongoing help the The Artisan Perfumery Mastermind is the place to get my 1 to 1 help

Will your course make me a qualified perfumer?

There is no recognised qualification that will make you a perfumer. Perfumery is both a science and an art and it’s a bit like asking if an art degree will make someone a qualified artist – it’s just not how it works. Yes you can learn the techniques you need to make a great perfume, you could even apprentice under a master perfumer. But that would not guarantee talent or creativity – that comes from you as an artist.

Perfumery is partly learning the theory, partly creative spark and mostly lots and lots of practice. All of my courses teach these things but I cannot make you do the work – that must come from you!

Becoming a perfumer takes time and all courses are just the tip of the iceberg. The more you learn the more you realise you still need to learn but luckily you don’t need to do it alone.
If you want to dip your toe in the water to see if you like it then start with a live practical 1 or 2 day class HERE or the online Masterclass version HERE

If you are comfortable with the basics and want to learn more about perfumery for skincare and body products (rather than a perfumers alcohol based edt) then try this Masterclass HERE

If you absolutely know that perfumery is for you and you want an in depth programme with my help then join the Online Course with the Facebook group coaching HERE or for an in depth live course then the 3 day Artisan Perfumery Immersion is a bit like an intensive driving lessons course for perfumery!

Remember making great perfume comes with practice so the most important piece of advice is roll up your sleeves and get creating!

Want to make your own perfume?

In the Create Your Own Perfume Starter Guide, you’re shown exactly where to buy the best perfumery materials & equipment PLUS the essential steps to get started with making your own scent.