International Women's Month 2022
If you missed our International Women's Day Webinar, here are the best bits...
International women’s day is about more than one day, it’s about celebrating women’s achievement every day of the year and raising awareness against bias. The journey doesn’t stop here for Maya, Sarah, Annabella, Olivia, Natalia or Marina. Their path is onwards and upwards, achieving inspiring things and blazing a trail for those that follow.
As Natalia Outeda, founder of FRASSAI, says in the webinar, there are a lot of women behind the scenes in the perfume industry. Even if the perfume brand is headed by or fronted by men, there are evaluators, lab technicians and marketers that make the perfume a reality. Creating a fragrance is a team game.
The challenge, however, is to provide a space and carve out room for independent brands and entrepreneurs to launch their own perfumes – and provide and equal footing for women in the industry.
Because the reality is that indie fragrance brands do exist, and they are arguably creating far better environments to work in than their larger peers. Annabella Fasano-Leslie, founder of Ilk, is proud of the thirteen women that contribute to her business through social media, partnerships, retail design and more. And it’s wonderful to see.
One of our favourite takeaways from this year’s webinar is how diverse the panelists were, highlighting that niche perfume brands don’t have to be owned by a larger company with bigger spending power. Hero perfumers can come from all walks of life, with a multitude of experiences and previous career paths. It’s what makes the independent perfume industry so exciting. From working in advertising to writing books, our panelists come from all walks of life to deliver glorious niche perfumes.
Olivia da Costa found her journey diversifying from buying toilet brushes for a living to creating a fragrance from start to finish. What a journey! Olivia realised her dream of matching her passion of fragrance with her career in sourcing and buying – an inspiration to us all.
Challenges in the Independent Perfume Industry.
Starting a business in any industry is challenging enough, but to try and break into a male dominated industry without the budgets or scale of the giants backing other niches, can seem nigh on impossible.
For Sarah McCartney, not being included on the list of perfumers by the World Perfumery Congress is just one example of the challenges faced by independent perfumers. However, Sarah is speaking at their conference on behalf of independent brands – something we can all agree is much needed and overdue. Being excluded from that list is a poignant example of doors not being open to those that should be allowed in – and we have to do more to make that happen.
For Natalie Outeda, it’s about sticking together and working together to help allies out. Natalie feels that we’ve come a long way in the last ten years and there are more resources available but having seen peers turned away from education and opportunities because of age or gender it’s more important than ever. Independent brands aren’t just brands to perfumers, they’re living breathing things that represent the passion the founders have for them.
Celebrating the wins
Despite the challenges faced along the way, there are also the moments that make it all worthwhile. It’s so important to celebrate these moments, too, as it can be lonely launching your independent perfume brand by yourself – but by sticking together and creating a community, we can celebrate together.
Our fantastic panelists have had some incredible moments in their careers, from Sarah McCartney secretly making a perfume for a washing machine ad featuring Max Whitlock to Natalie Outeda having her brand recognised in a New York hotel.
Marina Barcenilla found herself recognised by the Academia of Fragrance in Spain, which as an independent niche perfumer is a major milestone that we would all be proud of.
And it’s not just the awards or the press that tick the boxes, either. Maya Njie is constantly celebrating how far her brand has come, her team of largely women. Just being aware of how far you’ve come is important in the independent brand world.
Continuing the journey
In a male fronted industry, dominated by men at the top, #breakthebias could seem like an ambitious and unobtainable goal for this year’s International Women’s Day. However, having banded together for an enlightening webinar at the start of International Women’s Month, some of the brightest and best independent fragrance faces prove it’s easy to see why #breakthebias isn’t so hard to imagine after all.