New fragrance ideas are created through a unique process of partnership involving complementary sets of intangible assets. Owners of consumer goods, luxury, and retail brands work closely with specialist fragrance companies, combining the deep market knowledge, brand reputation, and functional performance expertise of the brand owner with the creative and scientific capacity of the fragrance specialist.
Major expenditures are made every year in building up the knowledge and skills needed to research and develop unique fragrances, using an understanding of different natural and synthetic ingredients, an awareness of market trends and the needs of brand owners, creative flair, and artistry. This is predominantly an investment in human capital, supported by expert software and knowledge codification. At the heart of these investments is expenditure on perfumers: a select group of experts skilled in the creation of unique smell experiences.
Globally there are less than 900 fully qualified perfumers, of whom only a relatively small number are world-class. It is, moreover, estimated that 60-70% of qualified perfumers reside in Europe. To qualify as a perfumer requires more than 7 years training.