If you want to become a perfumer or a cosmetic scientist, you first need to determine if this is a good fit for you. Patricia Mascarenhas follows the scent trail.
If you have a good nose, memory for fragrance, and don`t mind spending hours in a chemistry lab, then a career in perfumery might be up your alley. After all, you get to devise fragrances all day. The art and science of making perfumes has been passed down over centuries and further developed over generations. For years, fragrances were reserved for royalty. The fraternity of perfumers too is an elite one, with there being only limited perfumers in the world.“The market is steadily growing at about 15 per cent/annum and the field keeps expanding,” says Nagina Hasan, founder, Lansh training Center.
To be a trained perfumer, you need to begin by attending perfumer courses. In Mumbai, Kelkar Education Trust`s VG Vaze College has a post graduate diploma in Perfumery and Cosmetics Management in partnership with the French Group Institute Superior International of Perfumes, Cosmetics and Aromatic Alimentaire (ISIPCA), which was backed by the Chamber of Commerce and University of Versailles.
“The course, a brainchild of our founder chairman Late Shri Bhausaheb Kelkar, the only Fellow of French Perfumery Association from Asia, was initiated as Innovative Programme recognised by UGC,” informs Dr SS Barve, deputy director, Kelkar Education Trust`s Scientific Research Centre.
This incorporated perfume making course focuses on the technical know-how of perfumery. “It includes understanding and recognition of various raw materials and their properties, which are essential for the formulation of basic perfumes,” says Barve. Students are also acquainted with different ingredients that go into the formulation of various products.
“The hands-on practical training enables them to understand the manufacturing procedures prevalent in the industry. Bearing in mind the increasing importance of conformance to various legislative regulations, Indians, US, European and Japanese regulations are introduced in the programme,” he adds.
To sign up for the course, one has to have a graduate degree in chemistry, life sciences, biotechnology with basics knowledge in chemistry to be eligible for this diploma. “The sale of forms is on and admissions are on the basis of written test and personal interview to judge if the candidates are suitable for this course,” informs Barve.
The course includes the industrial application required in cosmetic and flavor industry and also offers techno-managerial skills with 100 per cent placement. Since perfumery is associated with various cultures, students are given an over view of the history of perfume evolution in different cultures and also kept abreast with the current global market trends.
Perfumes and cosmetics are products that appeal to different senses of human beings and thus the science behind understanding the psycho-physiology of the sensory appeal is essential. “Today every industry is very keen on its sustainable development programmes, and increasing threats to the environment makes it mandatory to study the science behind environmental conservation,” says Barve.
A perfumer’s job is to please the senses of a client. “An entrepreneur with a sophisticated sense of smell and style who wants to tap into the fragrance market can learn the art easily but must work hard to grow the business,” says Hasan.
It is a booming business with no foreseeable decline in the near future. People want to feel good about themselves and are ready to pay the price to portray an image that fits their life style and expectations of their ego. Perfumers are hired as laboratory employees or contractors for organisations that develop fragrances for consumer products.
“It opens job avenues world over. Apart from the industry, the course offers research opening in cosmetic and perfumery industry in formulation, testing, validation and clinical trials of cosmetics. One can also think of self entrepreneurial avenues by starting a venture,” Barve concludes.