PRO SECRETS TO PERFUME MAKING AND GETTING INTO THE SCENT BIZ
One of the perks of being a celeb? Making and selling your own signature perfume. Of course, they’re given labs, professional advisers and a whole mess of other resources to create their own scent. But professional perfumer Jennifer McKay Newton, founder and creator of DefineMe Fragrance, let us in on a little secret: Finding the resources to make your own signature scent—and maybe uncovering a new passion and career path in the process—is totally do-able, even on a budget.
Jennifer launched her own fragrance line last year, after having forged a successful career making heavenly-scented candles. DefineMe doesn’t just smell good, it’s designed to evoke the different facets of a woman’s power. “The intention is to be a wearable reminder of one’s own confidence, strength, passion, fearlessness and to empower,” she says. Even better, the brand donates $1 of every bottle sold to She’s the First, a non-profit that provides scholarships to girls in developing countries.
Below, the perfume pro gives us her top six tips for how to create your own custom scent and get started in the perfume biz–because Ariana Grande shouldn’t have all the fun.
Order a fragrance kit or two. “Most come with vials of basic notes while some allow you to choose which notes you would like. They also come with blending oil, droppers and glass bottles to create your own blends. A place that has great kits—and the place where I ordered my first kit 4 years ago is Vetiver Aromatics. And they don’t have to be expensive. Big fancy kits cost about $200, but starter kits are just $12.”
Play around and try lots of different things. “Innovation and uniqueness is the key to success. Just like how chefs are always coming up with new and interesting recipes, the same applies to fragrance. Experiment on your own, then wear your blends out and ask what your friends what they think. If you naturally have a great ’nose’ to sniff out different notes and a passion for fragrance, just go for it! You have nothing to lose!”
Get your how-to on: “There are tons of videos online for how to make perfume. But this one is great and easy to follow. From an instructional perspective, it’s the best. If you fall in love with the art of perfumery and want to take classes and really engage in learning, check out the Institute of Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles. They have learning labs, a library of perfume-related books, lectures, workshops and weekly classes open to the public, so you can get into it as little or as much as you want.”
Network with other fragrance fans: “The fragrance world is a small one—in my experience, it is very friendly, VERY inclusive, down to earth, supportive and non-competitive. There is a group and blog that I highly recommend and I am quite involved in. The group, Sniffapalooza, organizes mostly New York City-based fragrance events that they call, “ Fragrance Balls.” These events are so much fun and you get to meet perfumers and other fragrance aficionados, who can be a great support system—we speak the same language and can literally talk fragrance all day long. It’s also good to keep up with CaFleureBon, a highly respected and informative perfume blog that focuses on new and niche fragrance brands.”
Give your scent a life: “Fragrance has a personality just like us. It can be soft and sweet or sexy and powerful. For me, it was important that I infused the empowering DNA in DEFINEME FRAGRANCE because I want women to be reminded of all of the amazing qualities they embody while wearing the fragrances: like being confident, strong, free-spirited, loving, passionate, fearless etc. I did this by matching the feeling to the scent, personality and name as a whole package. For example, I thought: What does LOVE smell like? I think of a big beautiful flower bouquet full of roses, peonies, jasmine etc.
“When I think of romance, Audrey is the girl that would wear this fragrance and be empowered by love! I pictured Harper as our fearless girl, who would wear a fragrance that had a bold pop to it and that was unisex because she isn’t a girly girl and has no boundaries. So I thought of bold, poppy notes of grapefruit and bergamot followed by honeysuckle to soften it a bit, and then amber to add that little spice on the end.”
Find your muse: “My advice is if you are creating your own fragrance, know who is wearing your fragrance, like a muse! Maybe that muse is yourself! Then create a scent that she would wear and one that would make her feel however you’d like her to feel when wearing it. Remember to not hat you can’t please everyone, it will never happen anyway. Create your unique one-of-a-kind-voice and just go for it!”