Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Steps In Making A New Perfume

There is much interest on the internet in making perfume. There are those websites that urge you to "save money" by making your own perfume; there are those websites that encourage you to "mix oils" to make your own perfume, and there may be other encouragements for you to make your own perfume. I have no argument with any of them.

But I will point out that NONE (with the exception of the PerfumersWorld home study course which I sell) will teach you perfumery in the sense of commercial perfumery -- the art of making fragrances such as are found in drugstores, department stores, and at leading mass merchants. High end niche perfumeries too. In fact, many of the "how to make your own perfume" websites on the internet website discount the artistry and skill of perfumers who have spend a lifetime in the industry and whose training has introduced them to, and taught them to use, thousands of aroma materials. In spite of what some may tell you, making a credible perfume is not simple.

Let's face it. If we are making perfume "part time," no matter how creative we may be and no matter how well developed our noses may be, and ignoring the fact that we may succeed in creating a handful of really great fragrances (or perhaps just two or three in a lifetime) we are a long way from possessing the skills -- and noses -- of the masters, the full time professionals. This need not stop us from enjoying what we do, or profiting from it.

The reason for this lengthy introduction is simply this. I get calls and emails from people who want me to create fragrances for them. Sometimes it is an "anything will do because we have a market now" request. Sometimes it is a request for "original" perfume that (closely) matches a well known commercial fragrance. If the person has a realistic budget and a realistic understanding of what is involved, and is contemplating a realistic order, I can render assistance by guiding them to an appropriate private label service.

But more frequently the initial proposed "order" is for 100 or fewer bottles, with the bottles themselves being of an original design. And of course they are needed in just a month or two. I can only say, "Sorry, I can't help."

What frustrates me is that if the person making the request had done their homework, I might have been able to give them some assistance. What doubly frustrates me is that the research they should have done is laid out for them in two books I have written on the subject, explaining what steps must be taken to accomplish the goal of "having your own perfume" and HOW to carry out each of these steps. (Book 1) (Book 2)

In a recent burst of frustration after going round and round with an "assistant to a celebrity," I wrote up a Perfumers Developer's Checklist which simply outlines the steps involved in creating a perfume.

For the person who has never read Book 1 or Book 2, the checklist will seem overwhelming -- too many decisions to make. But the Checklist itself urges you to first read either Book 1 or Book 2. After that, the Checklist becomes simple because you now have a sense of what you can do practically on your budget and what you cannot expect. Thus you avoid the frustrating conclusion that putting out a new perfume is too complicated when, in fact, it is not.

The point of Book 1 and Book 2 is to help you succeed ... on your budget ... without getting bogged down in attempting to achieve that which is neither practical or affordable.

Even as I began to write up the Checklist I sensed that those for whom it was written would probably ignore it. It will probably gather dust on my hard drive. But I can tell you this. When someone comes to me with a serious inquiry about having a fragrance produced for them, if they have not done their homework by reading Book 1 or Book 2, I sure am going to use the Checklist -- to complicate their lives -- unless they start, right up front, by talking budget ... and what part of that budget they've budgeted for me.

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