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.
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.