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Six Figure Jobs: Perfumist

Posted By Jim On 02/15/2006 @ 8:45 am In Career,Personal Finance | 6 Comments

My girlfriend used to work for L’Oreal so I know that their perfumes and colognes have enormous profit potential, when they’re right. When they smell nice, they can mean a cash cow for many years to come. When they release a scent that’s not as popular, it finds its way rebadged and in flea markets real quick too. But that’s not all that perfumists work on, they’re the folks that make your toilet bowl cleaner not smell like toilet bowl cleaner and your varnish not smell like the Hudson river. Think you have a sharp nose and want to be a perfumist? You’ll also need a degree in chemistry or an apprenticeship to a master perfumist.

Perfumers usually work for a fragrance house and they’re job focuses on coming up with aroma formulas for all sorts of products. It’s described as “probably 50 percent art and creativity and 50 percent science,” by industry veteran Ken Lesenko. The job is difficult because whatever you need to do in order to create that scent, the chemicals you add, can’t affect the product itself. The sweetest smelling Dial soap can’t turn it into a black sludge, no one would use it.

The fragrance world sounds pretty cut-throat, with the houses submitting proposals for formulas (that correspond to scents) to a client, who will be getting a ton of these entries from other rival fragrance houses. But, there isn’t a lot of competition – a census reveals there are only about a thousand perfumists operating around the world which keeps the market rate for their work much higher.

How much can you bank?

A junior perfumer may start out making $60,000, Lesenko said, but perfumers who come up with formulas for hit fragrances can easily command six figures.

via CNN Money [3].


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[3] CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/2004/01/20/pf/more_sixfigjobs/index.htm

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