perfumery professions: 3 posts

Career in Fragrance : Where to Start

Are you interested in a fragrance industry career? Lauren shares her insights and tips.

As a fragrance evaluator, the question I am asked most often is: How did you get into that career?  Some people mean this in a non-literal sense and are really asking me, What on earth made you decide to turn your interest in perfume into a full-blown professionThis is casual conversation, amusement expressed plainly through twinkling eyes and grinning lips.  But there is another set of people who ask me this question literally.  They want to know how they can get a job in the fragrance industry, too.  They want to turn their passion for perfume into an everyday reality, and I recognize what we have in common: they want it is as badly as I wanted it.

perfume-work

When I was in college, I loved writing, so much that I considered pursuing it as my main profession.  My professor said, “Don’t pursue creative writing unless you truly cannot imagine doing anything else.”  Now, I would offer the same advice for those interested in a fragrance career: go after it only if you cannot imagine doing anything else.  If you keep this in mind and stay open to what you learn each day, there’s really no way to fail.  No matter what your job title may be.

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How Many Hands Touch Your Bottle of Perfume : Perfumers

The first article in this series described the process through which the perfume brief goes before it ends up on the perfumer’s desk (Brief). Then, my perfumery school classmate and former colleague Lauren gave you a glimpse of what it’s like to be a perfume evaluator (Evaluator). Today, I will describe the role of the perfumer.

If you’re new to this series, I recommend starting with Part 1: Brief.

Ever since Frédéric Malle highlighted perfumers by adding their names on the fragrances created for Editions de Parfums, these actors, traditionally consigned to ghost writing scents, have become more prominent. We can find out which nose created our favorite perfume, read about perfumers’ work, and even hear them explain their metier. Names of houses that employ perfumers–International Flavors & Fragrances, Givaudan, Firmenich, Symrise, Mane, Robertet–even show up in the traditional media. Magazines call noses rock stars. Fans queue to meet them at store events. Isn’t then the perfumer the most important person in the process of creating a perfume?

perfume-lab1

Yes and no. With the exception of those who direct their own brands, most perfumers are only one of many groups that influence how a fragrance will smell. Today, it’s hard to speak of a perfumer’s fingerprint on a big brand launch because many fragrances are created as a collaboration among several creators, marketing reps, sales people, and evaluators. In most cases, an individual perfumer may not have a say in the matter and simply has to follow the given direction.

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How Many Hands Touch Your Bottle of Perfume : The Evaluator

Today we have a special guest writer Lauren Salisbury. Lauren and I met as students at the IFF Perfumery Academy, and we’ve spent many hours smelling together.  A life-long lover of perfume, Lauren has worked in the fragrance industry for nearly a decade, developing fragrances for many popular brands around the globe.  She now works as an evaluator for ScentAir Technologies, Inc., and writes her blog, The Little Nose. Lauren will give you a glimpse inside a perfume lab and introduce you to a very important person–the fragrance evaluator.  

How Many Hands Touch Your Bottle of Perfume : Brief

In recent years, the media has focused on the particular talents and tasks of the perfumer, and we are fascinated. They are admired as artists, respected for their finely-tuned, highly-trained olfactory abilities and their knowledge about fragrance materials.  But few of us are aware of the perfumer’s trusted sidekick: the evaluator.  Until recently, perfumers remained completely anonymous, but today you will still rarely see mention of the evaluators in the press. Despite their work behind the scenes, not only does the evaluator help the perfumer complete the project, but also, she can significantly influence the final fragrance.

blotters

First, let me explain where the evaluator fits into the process.  When the brief, or fragrance request, arrives from the client (and by client I mean a fragrance house like Calvin Klein or Christian Dior) via the sales department, the evaluator starts her work. She reaches out to one, or several, perfumers, communicating the desired fragrance goal, as well as all the project specifications, such as the maximum cost allowed for the fragrance, material restrictions, target consumer details, and due dates.

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