Independent Perfumers Finding Sweet Smell of Success


California’s Brent Leonesio became a perfumista at an early age of 12, when his mom presented him a perfume bottle of D’ Orange Vert. Brent was surprised to see how the perfume making company had taken the aroma  of a real orange fruit. However, it was not until he was a matured young man and in the process of being laid off as a purchaser for a top-end store that Brent chose to begin his career in the field of perfumery. He purchased technical books and raw materials, learning the process of ancient art.

Brent launched his Smell Bent in 2009, depending on modest prices of bottles (less than $50), colorful website to boost sales and since then, he produced up to 40 perfumes, including Hungry Hippes, with the notes of patchouli, chocolate, and cannabis, Prairie Nymph (Clementine , carnation, beeswax, and honey) as a full-time perfume maker.

His business is very small in the field of perfume industry as a whole; according to NPD Group, a market research firm, his company sales in last year was just $2.8billion. However, he is one of the top 20 independent perfumers from West Hollywood, where designer fragrances rule the shopping malls. Some people begin with master perfumers at big perfume firms or apothecary shops, while few opt for aromatherapy, but many are independent and use botanical ingredients. 

Many who use aroma chemicals include more natural notes, unlike mass market firms; they’re neurotic about using raw materials, like ambergris, sandalwood, and oudh, mixing them in small proportions. Lacking big budget for fancy bottles, advertisement, and models, they concentrate on the juice. Brent Leonesio says his aim is to create a perfume, investing inside the bottle instead of outside. He says explosion in independent perfumery is increasing in the mass-produced world.

Three months ago, an event was organized at Artisan Fragrance Salon, San Francisco, which was attended by hundreds of people, checking out the perfumes created by small perfumers and they were really impressed by the work of independent perfumers. This new start owes much to online marketing that has allowed these self-made designers to sell their products worldwide.

Smell Scent Bar is now in the well-known boutique list, which sells cutting-edge and artisanal colognes and now his store has been shifted to a new location at Beverly Boulevard, which is almost triple its original 300sq-ft space.


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