Starting a Perfume Business on the Side

These days, luxury consumer goods are often the best way to make serious money as a small-time entrepreneur. High-volume, low-margin businesses are really more appropriate for entrepreneurs with deep pockets. If you’re looking for an entrepreneurial opportunity with the potential for massive profits, a fragrance business is a good place to begin. Launching your own line of perfumes isn’t even that difficult if you know what you’re getting into beforehand. The following rough business outline will help you to get your fledgling fragrance enterprise off of the ground in short order.

Designing the Right Fragrance

First off, you’ll need to come up with a signature scent to launch your business. Set up a home lab of sorts and start to tinker with recipes.  You can buy essential oils and herbal distillates online to use in your concoctions. Start by taking a generic formula for a perfume and tweak it to suit your tastes. With a little experimentation, you can easily come up with something that’s truly unique. A fair amount of market research and testing will be the key to finding something with at least moderate appeal.

Business Bric-a-Brac

As per usual, you’ll need to form an LLC or subchapter S corporation, acquire business licenses and prepare for the eventuality of hiring additional help by getting an EIN. Besides dealing with the usual bureaucratic paperwork, you’ll need to equip your home laboratory to be able to produce decent quantities of perfume for samples and early sales. Even if you decide to outsource the perfume production process later on, you’ll want a full fragrance workshop to play around with new scents. Finally, be sure to outfit your home or commercial space with a full-featured office.

Launching Your Perfumery

Once you’ve chosen on a viable business plan and a scent, launching your company isn’t that difficult. For initial samples, you can use a kit from Chemworld to create small batches of product. As soon as you’ve settled on a flagship fragrance formula, you can move on to actually cranking out moderate quantities of perfume. Find a local or overseas manufacturer to handle the creation and packaging of your scents. By outsourcing production, you’ll trim your list of responsibilities down to marketing and sales. Take care to comply with any FDA regulations concerning perfume.

Securing Those First Sales

Building momentum for your fragrance business can be tough in the beginning and requires a fair amount of legwork. Visit a few local boutiques and ask them to stock your product on a trial basis. Handing out free samples at swap meets and craft fairs is a great way to promote yourself via word-of-mouth advertising. A strong brand identity is immensely important if you’re interested in making your perfume business more than a mere hobby. A bit of market research will tell you how to best position your brand locally.

Marketing, Branding & Networking

While you’re working on low-level promotion of your perfume line in your area, it’s crucial that you develop an online presence as well. Marketing your wares on Facebook and Google+  is always a smart move. Put together a basic Shopify store to sell your perfumes to a wider audience on the web. Make your product stand out with a distinctive bottle, logo or ingredient that no other fragrance vendor is using at the moment. Become a regular on small business forums to make connections with other entrepreneurs that can help you to promote your fragrances.

Widening the Moat

In an industry as fickle as fragrances, it’s important to build a moat around your business. The best way to do so is through constant innovation and evolution. You can’t rest on your laurels regardless of how successful your last fragrance may have been. You’ll need to stay on top of the latest trends in the perfume market and adjust your line to reflect new fads. If you’re quick to react to these changes, you can expect a long and fruitful career as a perfume entrepreneur.

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