Making your own artisinal perfume can be a rewarding activity and your starting point, your inspiration, can come from almost anywhere. But, if selling perfume profitably is your interest, there is only one starting point and it is the same for every company and individual. The starting point is your market.
Any company that spends millions producing and marketing fragrance spends a great deal of time and money defining and researching their market. The fragrance they offer will "fit" the market they have identified. This market is where the money is to be found. If you want to sell your own perfume profitably, defining and researching your market is your first step. This step comes before you begin to develop your fragrance.
What happens if you work backward? The fragrance first and then the search for a market? The result will almost certainly be a fiasco. Why? Because now you first have to find a market big enough to offer the potential you need. Then you have to find media that will let you communicate effectively with that market. But the reality is this after-the-fact market you've identified is likely fragmented. Fragmented markets present promotional difficulties. If your market is scattered you must use multiple media to try to round up buyers. Each has its own expense. You now have to work harder and spend more hours and dollars to make sales, assuming you are able to discover where potential buyers might be found.
The emotional problem that puts the product before the market is enthusiasm for the product. This enthusiasm is typical of creative people. The cool-headed marketer on the other hand studies markets and looks for opportunities to sell perfume. Like a shark getting a taste of blood, the cool headed marketer rushes to develop a perfume after the market is spotted.
For the creative person, developing the fragrance is the the fun. Working on a fragrance can make for great conversation. Talking about markets and market analysis and media costs is pretty boring, unless you are that marketer shark looking for an opportunity to make money.
Then too, the person inspired by the desire to make perfume may have only the vaguest idea of how it will be sold. Ask this person how they intend to sell their fragrance and they might say, "Macy's," or "online," or "Walmart. This is simply not real. This is not how the start-up perfume entrepreneur makes money.
So how do you, the novice perfume entrepreneur, go about finding a viable market for your first perfumes? Sadly, you must put aside your creative outlook and become analytical. Think small. Can you spot an opportunity to sell a few dozen bottles locally? Look around, in your community. Talk to people in the business of selling. Look for clusters of people with similar interests -- clubs, religious organizations, sports teams and their followers, local bands, local tourist organizations. Get out and talk, meet people, look for modest opportunities. Small successes are better building blocks than large failures. Small successes can lead to significantly larger opportunities.
But whatever you do, if it's money you want, don't start spending it on your perfume until you've nailed down a ripe market.