Saturday, April 3, 2010

A rare opportunity to make perfume

Do you want to become a perfumer -- a creator of fine fragrances? Did you know that there are very few opportunities -- worldwide -- to get trained in perfumery? In fact, if you don't have a father, mother, brother, sister, aunt or uncle who is already a perfumer, you will find it incredibly difficult to get connected with the "basic training" -- the apprenticeship -- you need to begin learning this incredibly special art.

"Perfumery" is not a course you can take in college. Worldwide, only one or two colleges even offer professional level training in fragrance creation and for the fortunate few who are admitted (it is very competitive!), the cost is high and a multi-year commitment is required.

Very few working, professional perfumers teach perfumery. In most cases, their "apprentices" have already been working alongside them in industry. It's not a position you can apply for simply because you think you might like to create fine fragrances for a living.

Steve Dowthwaite is an exception to the rule that professional perfumers don't teach perfumery to "just anyone." For more than ten years, Steve has offered training in "The Art & Technology of Perfumery" to anyone willing to sign up for his online home study Foundation Course, one of his 5-Day Perfumery Workshops, or for a series of more advanced private and semi-private lessons.

Even more radical is Steve's philosophy of low student fees for his instruction, in spite of the time and considerable personal effort required on his part.

Planet Earth is a big place and one perfumer can hardly be expected to cover the whole globe. So Steve's perfumery training is given, for the most part, in Bangkok, Thailand, where he resides and conducts a brisk business in the Asian market.

If you were serious about wanting to get into the field of fragrance creation, a trip to Bangkok for one of Steve's workshops would be your logical starting point. Yes, it would be expensive. But alternatives -- real perfumery training sessions open to "just anyone" -- don't exist elsewhere. So you would have to pay the price.

If you had a strong desire to learn fragrance creation but could not afford the travel expense of air fare, course fees, and a week in Bangkok, you would go for the home study Foundation Course (my own starting point in perfumery) -- which offers an excellent window of opportunity to perfumery. Yet you would still aspire to face-to-face training with Steve in Bangkok.

This year (2010) Steve will be making a (brief) trip to the U.S. to conduct a 5-Day Perfumery Workshop in southern New Jersey. He'll be coming -- with workshop supplies and equipment -- a distance of over 8,000 miles to share his knowledge and insights into perfumery with a handful of people -- professionals and non-professionals -- who are hungry to receive this practical training.

The course is "open enrollment" but the intensity of these five days, filled with hands on exercises using real perfumery raw materials, precludes attendance by all but those with a high level of motivation to learn.

It is, for those highly motivated few, an opportunity which may never again be available in the U.S. (there are no plans for a 2011 U.S. workshop). Perfumery training by Steve and PerfumersWorld in Bangkok, and the home study Foundation Course, will continue to be available.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I had no idea this was such a specalized area of study. Also, with so few comments... Very interesting... I will research this further. Thanks for the blog.