How to turn homemade perfume into a business

If you’re in the habit of making your own perfume, you might have considered trying to earn some money from it. The idea of setting up your own business can seem quite daunting, but it’s best to look at it step by step. Take a look at our guide for some useful pointers:
1) Come up with a business plan
It’s easy to get carried away by dreams of your homemade fragrances selling big and enabling you to retire early without really thinking about how exactly that will happen. The reality is that you need to think like a businessperson from the beginning.

Drawing up a business plan is a good way to force yourself to consider all the details while also having a blueprint in place to help you while you set up the various facets of your venture. A good plan will describe your goals and how you intend to reach them. Some of the things you should include are:

• How you intend to finance your business
• The range of perfumes you intend to offer
• Your target market
• Price information
• How the perfumes will be made and sold (online, in a shop, etc)
• Whether you will be a self-employed sole trader or hire staff to help you
• Projected revenues, profits and other financial figures
2) Ingredients and manufacturing
Most homemade perfumes are made with essential oils (which are natural, but can be expensive) or synthetic fragrance oils, along with perfumer’s alcohol. The specific ingredients you choose will be very much dependent on your budget, the scent you wish to create and your target market, as well as on how many different perfumes you want to make.

It’s a good idea to buy in bulk from specialist suppliers to save money, but don’t buy so much that you will struggle to offload the ingredients if you change your mind about a particular scent or even your business.

How you manufacture your perfumes will depend on the scale of your planned business. If the venture will be a relatively small one, you may choose to make and bottle your goods at home or on a separate premises (bear in mind that you will likely need to buy packaging machinery for this), while a bigger outfit may require you to outsource production to another firm.
3) Marketing
Once you’ve set out your business plan, obtained funding and made a sample batch of perfumes, it’s time to start making your business known to the world. Your marketing strategy will be largely reliant on the consumers you want to target; if your niche is eco-friendly perfumes, for example, you will want to make your campaign as focused as possible on your environmentally-friendly message.

There are a range of platforms you can use to market your venture. As well as traditional means like print, radio and TV (if you can afford it…!), there’s also the internet to consider.

If you’re largely going to be selling online, it makes sense to concentrate your advertising efforts on the web, and it’s a great channel for sole traders/small firms in particular, as it can be incredibly cheap while offering the chance to reach a wide audience at the same time.

The main thing to remember is that you need to give a compelling reason for consumers to buy from you – and keep them engaged with your business even after they have made a purchase. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) provides an excellent way to do just this if you have the time and resources to maintain profiles on the relevant sites.

It’s a good idea to use samples in your promotional efforts – after all, few people are willing to buy a perfume they’ve never smelled before!