Frances Osadebe’s unwavering love for perfumes is rare. Her expertise has today made her a sought-after perfume consultant.
Osadebe is the founder and chief executive of The Perfume Madam – a start-up operating in the personal care and cosmetics industry and behind the unique perfume – Scented Icon.
Her inspiration comes from her desire to be financially independent and her passion for wearing unique fragrances.
Frances quit her contract job as a cashier in a bank with the aim of getting a high-paying job or another stream of income. In her search, she saw an opportunity in the personal care industry and leveraged it.
“I went online to search for other streams of income, I found a lot of other things and tried my hands on them but nothing held my interest for long. I later found an opportunity in the personal care industry and I grabbed it,” she says.
The young entrepreneur took up training to enhance her skills, and now she is a certified perfumer. “Today, I’m a certified perfumer and have created my own best selling perfume products such as – Deep Kiss and Ecstasy EDP as well as bespoke perfumes, private label perfumes, home fragrance products and skincare oils,” she says.
“I’m on a mission in making knowledge of perfumery accessible and as affordable as possible, to every perfume enthusiast who desires to learn perfumery, write their stories in a bottle and paint their experiences with the right ingredients,” she explains.
Frances also trains people who want to venture into the sector, giving them not only the right tools to create best-selling artistic perfumes but the confidence to creatively explore the beautiful world of perfumery without the use of replica fragrance oils.
With her experience in the retail business, she teaches her students to create, market, and sell their perfumes.
She has also created courses to help mentees. “In the art of perfume making, I have created an online course where I teach other entrepreneurs how to identify these ingredients, analyse, and use them to create a client brief, and a mood board.”
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“Also, they are trained on how to create unique formulas for perfumes that can be packaged and sold for-profit like the imported designer brands,” she states.
“In my e-book – I identified 700 raw materials for perfume making in different fragrance families,” she explains.
Speaking on her business expansion plans, she says The Perfume Madam plans to train more perfumers who will take the Nigerian personal care industry to the global stage to compete favourably.
Recently, the young entrepreneur has launched a Perfume Academy – a subscription-based school where subscribers get in-depth knowledge on perfume creation, marketing, and mentorship.
Responding to questions on challenges confronting the business, she says the lack of critical information locally about the business was the biggest challenge she experienced at the early stage.
“There was no adequate information about the business locally. You could only access information aboard and the fees to access them are quite expensive. It runs in millions,” she notes.
Also, she says the lack of local manufacturers who produce packaging materials needed by the industry is another challenge limiting the sector.
“Then there are still no perfume bottle manufacturers, we have to buy abroad making it expensive because of exchange rate volatility, the weight of the bottles, and shipping charges, not to mention the minimum order quantity.”
“Accessing the raw materials for production is a real hassle as most courier companies do not ship perfume ingredients, only one company ships from France and a couple of others from the US & UK, making it quite expensive to import.”
She adds that a lack of trust in the Nigerian perfume brands is also a major challenge for the business. “Nigerians are yet to trust in Nigerian perfumes, and would rather buy imported brands, however when most people see my behind the scenes when I teach perfume making, they can trust my products.”
She says her business has been able to overcome this through its unique products and services, as previous customers always make recommendations and referrals for the products.
On her advice to her younger self, she says “It is so worth it, quite fulfilling and you can release your inner thoughts through your creativity and make money through your art.”
“There is joy when someone wears a perfume you have created and loves it, even better when they can describe it in their own words, My God! It’s an indescribable feeling,” she states.
“Don’t try to figure out how to make perfumes out on your own, or by Youtube Videos, otherwise you will waste a lot of time and money, this is a mistake a lot of newbies make. Take a class, online or offline, get the guidance, and mentored.”