Monday Question – Would You Like To Work In The Perfume Industry?

Is your dream to become a perfumer yourself?

Would you like to start your own brand?

Design bottles maybe?

Work in perfume retail? Open your own store?

Do you see yourself working in the industry in the future?

Or are you happy on the consumer side? Glad to watch from a distance?

My Answer:

I’m fine where I am. If I had money in a serious way, I might think about opening a niche perfume store a là Scent Bar in LA, or if I really aim over the top, then something like the Haute Parfumerie at Harrods in London, but those are only pipe dreams.

Writing about perfume from a healthy distance, into what – as occasional glimpses show me – is not such a happy industry (because such a thing does not exist), is fine for me.

I like to be my own boss and the freedom to do as I please and go where my nose and my fancy lead me. Being a part of the perfume industry would probably take a lot of the fun out of it for me.

How about you? What are your secret dreams and aspirations?

About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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67 Responses to Monday Question – Would You Like To Work In The Perfume Industry?

  1. In short: yes! I’d be quite happy to do what I do now (HR) but for a Company in the industry. But, as you say, being ones own boss is definitely tempting and I think ideally I’d like to be the ‘Creative Director’ of my own line. Ahh, pipe dreams.

    On a side note, I could see you running your own store. It would be difficult to keep your hands off the stock though…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Well, the chances are good then. British perfume companies, please hire Mr. Dunckley for all your HR needs!

      My own store would be rather nice, I really envied Nick being able to build a Lego-tower out of Kurkdjian factices the other day. 😉

  2. Marlara says:

    I have a question: do you believe that the art of perfumery will survive?
    Are you informed about the discussion about new EU-laws concerning perfumes and allergies, which could lead to the death of perfumery?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Wow, that is not an easy question to answer…
      I’m sure perfumery will survive some way or another. I’m far from being an expert, and those EU regulations indeed look scary for the future of the industry, but I’m sure there will be a way to go on.
      The whole issue bothers me of course, because I find the whole idea preposterous. If I’m allergic to anything, it is my own responsibility to protect myself, we are not children in need of help from the EU. We still have cigarettes, we have alcohol, all much more dangerous to humans than any perfume can ever be. Allergies are on the up, sure, but nobody is outlawing peanuts any time soon as far as I can see. So I find the planned regulations unnecessary and intrusive. Sometimes I’m defeatist and think perfumes are doomed forever (and certain types of scents surely are!), but then again the creativity of perfumes is great, they will adapt and I believe it can be possible to create perfumes around those restrictions. Changes will come, no doubt, and probably not for the better, but it is too early to sink into doom and gloom and mourn the end of perfume art.

      • Lady Jane Grey says:

        Well said. I don’t really get the reason, why parfumery is the only industry, where the allergens have to be legally banished. Why should my personal allergy influence the habits of the rest of the human race …

      • Marie in Denmark says:

        I have a one hour + train ride to work everyday and during the winter months quite a few people take up eating oranges while they commute. I cough and sneeze and wheeze because of the fumes from the orange peels. When I have occasionally (I don’t anymore) mentioned this to other people they go “Oh, but it smells so good!” Yeah, well, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful. So, ban peanuts (another allergy of mine) and eating oranges in public as well! No, I’m only kidding 🙂 The world is a dangerous place and if we were to rid the world of all the things that might be harmful or inconvienient to some people there wouldn’t be much left 🙂

  3. Sandra says:

    Good question! I am happy where I am sniffing away and smelling great. As you said opening a Haute Parfumerie store in Vienna would be wonderful but only if I won the lottery and I fell into some massive real estate in the city. I would like to include perfume in my art somehow. Great answer to Marlara’s question btw.

  4. Alexandra says:

    I am more than happy as an enthusiastic amateur, thank you. I like the escapism of my favourite hobby and I am quite content to keep it separate from any work pressure!

  5. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Well, I got to parfumery via aromatherapy. And yes, I tried to mix scents (there is a wonderful book from Mandy Aftel for amateur noses). On the other hand : I, as an amateur, had no access to the fine raw materials for parfum. Anyway, playing around with all my absolutes was huge fun.
    In fact, I’d love to work as raw material and packaging purchaser for a niche parfum company…

  6. Marie in Denmark says:

    To answer your question. No, I don’t want to work in the industry. I’m not a creative person, more of a fact based nerdy type, but I do know how to enjoy the creative work of others – that’s my skill 🙂

  7. lucasai says:

    Yes, yes, YEEES!
    That’s why I study cosmetics chemistry nowadays – to have a good start and good knowledge base to advance and get enrolled to perfumer school.

    Starting my own brand would be the top of my dreams.

    Bottle designing also sounds great, I’ve got few bottle sketches in my drawer

  8. Ines says:

    I would love to work in the perfume industry. 🙂 Not designing anything but helping people find something to love and at the same time looking for new gems myself while still writing about it.1

  9. poodle says:

    Right now I’d like to work in almost any job other than the one I currently have. That’s a Monday morning kind of answer isn’t it? Actually if I could have a job in the industry and also be my own boss, then sign me up. My fear would be that if I worked with perfume all the time I’d stop liking it as much as I do. Sort of like how people who work in pizza shops eventually can’t stand pizza.

  10. I, like you, could envision a small Scent Bar retail store. I think there are many cities that could support such a place. If I were young and had the chance to start over again, I probably would have worked towards some kind of role in the industry. Not sure which direction I would go though. Happy Monday!

  11. Ari says:

    Yaaay, I like this question! Like Lucas, I am planning to work at a fragrance firm and attend perfumery school after I graduate this year. I am not interested in having my own brand, but I do think that it would be awfully fun to have my own perfume store at some point (preferably somewhere warm- I’m thinking Austin).

  12. If I had some time I would love to work in an upscale perfume store or a department store in the perfume section. I am really good at sales and miss the fun of that kind of work.
    Currently though my life is full, happily so,
    If Arielle and Lucasai start making perfumes I will probably fund their retirements by the time they’re done. He He He,
    Portia xx

  13. Madeleine says:

    Hi Olfactoria,

    I’d love to have a crack at doing what I do now – PR and journalism – in the industry for a while, but I think, like you it could kill the passion. I’m happy blogging and reading blogs and sniffing. And a hearty second on all the EU comments – why banish perfume when other cosmetics can cause allergies? With that, you just return the product to the store, not whole rafts of ingredients or brands!

    Madeleine x

  14. andreawilko says:

    In a way, I accidently work in perfumery, although only selling splits, it is still a lot of work, time and effort (and spreadsheets) organising splits and selling on evilbay.

    My dream job would be to have my own store but it is like everything else, if you HAVE to do something the passion becomes a little lessoned.I could certainly bore my potential customers to death with a whole load of perfume talk. 🙂

    If the EU do get their own (pathetic) way, it makes you wonder if the perfumers will go underground and be availabe to buy in speakeasy types of joints. They may ban all new perfumes having certain ingredients but there are still going to be plenty of people wearing the banned stuff in vintage formulations. 🙂

  15. Lutrishia says:

    Hi, I have been reading your blog for months now and always looked forward to the Monday question but never been moved to respond until today. Yes, oh yes! I would love to create my own perfume, have my own line although I’m still so clueless. It’s my dream, leave legal practice and become a perfumer! someday…

  16. Andrea says:

    I would love to! My dream would be to design bottles, packagings and also the image of a brand throughout leaflets, website, smelling tools. Let’s see what the world brings after university.

  17. Zazie says:

    Oh, especially in my early perfumista days, I have tickled the fantasy (in an absolutely abstract way, given my lack of experience and insufficent funds) to found my own perfume line. I had bottle designs, names and even commercials settled (when I dream, I dream BIG! The special effects in my commercials, you can’t imagine!!! The most precious raw materials in my perfumes – money is no object, dear Mathilde, dear Michel, go ahead: spend! create!).
    Then I also dreamt of having my own perfume shop – I would never ever get bored to talk about perfume, I’m sure about it, but I live in a place crammed with niche perfume stores…Even in my (think BIG) dreams I couldn’t quite figure out how to make an impact. And was already sad at the idea of not popping into my favorite happy (perfume) places…
    But as these daydreams fade away leaving me happy and excited as if they happened for real, I have a longstanding wish, ever since I smelled attrape coeur and une fleur de cassie: if I ever win some money, I would ask for a couple (one is not enough, of course!!!) of custom made perfumes, with no restrictions on ingredients, and with mme Laurent and Mr. Ropion following my enlightened directions.
    Oh, and to work for Guerlain. I’d love it… love it love it love it… Employees have a discount, right? 😉

  18. Dionne says:

    I’m glad to be on the consumer end of things and keep this as a hobby, but I do have a grand time helping friends find a new perfume for themselves (or reassuring them that liking Shalimar means they have good taste and SA’s who tell them it’s for “old ladies” are idiots). If I was to choose a job in the industry, it would be as a personal perfume consultant. There’s something about that moment when a person’s eyes widen as they smell something truly unique and beautiful and they realize there’s so much more to perfume than strawberries and vanilla.

  19. If I had my schooling to do all over again, I might have gone the perfumery school route. It wasn’t even on the radar back then, but I could totally nerd out in that kind of career path.

    As it stands now, I am perfectly content to be a consumer, a fan, an admirer of beautiful fragrances. Now, I could be a wealthier consumer . . . !


  20. Tara says:

    I’m with Dionne! I’d like to be some kind of independent perfume consultant, helping people to find their perfect perfume. I’m no good at selling so working for a brand would be no good for me but matching people to perfume would be a fun challenge and rewarding too.

  21. laniersmith says:

    No I would not…. I just like to smell the flowers.

  22. Civava says:

    I would be a perfumer if I had more talent 😉 and a lot more patience. To own a little store, that I wouldn’t mind. But so far I’m happy just sniffin’ around.

  23. Vanessa says:

    I’d like to do market research into the industry or with consumers – hey, I did do that once on a study to do with aromachemicals, but that was before my hobby so it was just another job…boy, would I like that job back again! At the moment, not a snifter along such lines…a Saturday job in a perfume shop might be the next best thing.

  24. Yes, I’d like to own a perfume shop here in the wilderness and sell samples and decants as well as full persons who have never had the joy of fragrances. That would be most of the population. I’ve talked with people who have owned small shops and know that they encounter many difficulties, especially when distributors require that they purchase a certain amount of stock that is out of the range of the shop owner’s budget. But that would be such a fine way to spend my time. I love to share what I’ve found and enjoy just with friends and family, but a SHOP would be a marvelous thing. Now that I’m dreaming, maybe it could be combined with a small book shop and we could all read and smell good.

  25. Yes and no. In my case, I dream with to study at ISIPCA but similar to learn a language. Of course, I’d like to be a perfumer and developing all my creativity on that, but my passion is more about the olfaction and the interpretation of fragrances within each culture.
    Right now, I’m working on an academic research about this issues, and I love it!
    Scented regards

  26. Melis says:

    Like Dionne and Tara, if I would choose a job in the industry it would be as an independent consultant. I would like to work one on one with people, help them build a perfume wardrobe.

  27. hajusuuri says:

    If the perfume world becomes more like a job, I’ll probably lose interest. I’ll stick to being a consumer.

  28. Undina says:

    You know you’ve been around some resource (blog, forum, news group, etc.) long enough when you realize that you’ve already discussed that topic there before 😉

    Nothing has changed since I replied to that question last time: I’ll probably keep contributing to the industry mostly by spending money (and, a little bit, by leading my readers to do the same 😉 ).

    If I didn’t have to make money on it, I’d love to be somehow involved with perfumes – organizing exibits, lectures and other events. I just don’t think it can pay bills. But as a hobby I would love to be involved more closely.

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