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How do I Become a Perfumer?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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There are several ways to become a perfumer. Some people start out by earning related degrees, while others begin as trainees in the perfume industry. A person may even start out by mixing his own concoctions at home and selling them through a home-based business. Most people spend a significant amount of time learning about perfuming and training under other perfumers before becoming successful in this business. Those who enjoy immediate success in this field often do so because they have well-known family contacts in the business or have a famous name to promote their new perfumes.

The most important task for some who wants to become a perfumer is developing a good nose for scent. A person in this field develops his sense of smell beyond what is normal for most people. Some perfumers say they can recognize more than 1,000 different ingredients using their noses alone. In addition to being able to recognize smells, a perfumer must have a talent for combining smells in an attractive manner. In fact, this often includes using smells that most people find unpleasant, such as musk from a skunk, to create perfumes that people will spend significant sums of money to wear.

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Some aspiring perfumers go to school to learn the business. They may enter schools that offer special perfumery programs, for example. Others interested in this career choose to pursue chemistry degrees, which can prove helpful when they need to combine different types of chemicals to create their scents. While schooling may prove helpful, it is not an ironclad requirement for a person who wants to become a perfumer. Some perfume companies offer in-house training as well.

One of the most frequent routes to becoming a perfumer starts with securing an entry-level position with a perfume company. A person may start out as a trainee, gradually gaining the experience required to become a perfumer with a major company. Often, this requires several years of training.

Some people choose to make an entrance into perfumery at home by mixing and creating fragrances without the guidance of a school or perfume company. They may learn about perfuming from books and Web sites in order to do so. This is typically a harder route toward success as a perfumer, but may be useful for a hobbyist or a small business hoping to appeal to a niche market. It is not impossible, however, to create a widely successful perfume at home.

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alianor
Post 6

Just a general question. I'm starting out in perfumery as a hobby and some mixes I've tried were just too strong. Does anyone have some basic recipes or guidelines to offer?

nefret
Post 5

@Sara007 - Here's a little tip that may help when you're doing a perfume party (or even for those dabbling with perfumery at home): keep a small tupperware container filled with coffee powder nearby. When your nose starts to become insensitive to the fragrances, take a few deep whiffs of the coffee. It always helps! Anyone else have other perfume tips?

pennywell
Post 4

@manykitties2 - You're right, buying essential oils can add up very fast! For anyone considering this as a hobby, I'd recommend buying small amounts at first. When you mix the oils, you typically only need a very small amount since they're so potent. Mix them into a carrier oil, such as sweet almond or jojoba for some dilution.

ALevine
Post 3

@Sara007 - Do be careful if you're hosting a perfume party, especially with a bunch of guests. It's best to do something like that outdoors or in a very well ventilated area. If not, it's very easy to develop a perfume headache from all the strong fragrances that will quickly fill the room. It won't be a very fun party if everyone starts to feel ill after a short while.

Sara007
Post 2

If you are running out of ideas for what to do for your teenager, a good idea is to host a perfumer party for her and her friends. You can buy some great perfume party kits and the girls can make all of their own perfumes really easily. Perfume makes a great take home party favor.

Most party perfume sets come with fragrance oils, instructional booklets, carrier oils, scent strips and pipettes. Plus you get bottles for your finished perfumes.

A good idea before you plan this kind of party though is to make sure none of the girls have allergies. It wouldn't be much fun if one of your teens spent the whole evening sneezing like mad.

manykitties2
Post 1

Becoming a perfumer can really make for an interesting hobby if you have the time and resources to put into it. The essential oils and natural scents you'll need to acquire can get really pricey with things such as sandalwood oil costing an arm and a leg due to its popularity. On average for good quality sandalwood oil your paying more than $100 an ounce.

A good idea is to smart small and head to a store that stacks a wide variety of essential oils. Get a feel for the scents you like and pick up just a few to see what you can mix at home. This can be a fun project if you don't worry about making mistakes right off.

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