How to Become President of a Fragrance Development & Branding Company

Our post today is going to inspire you. Experiences and accomplishments are the stepping-stones of your future, but the real secret behind true success is following your passion.  
Through the power of twitter we were introduced to Sue Phillips, an intriguing woman who pursued her love of scents to become President of Scenterprises. Her company works with some of the leading brands in the world, including Tiffany, Lancôme, Chanel and many more, to define their position in the fragrance market and deliver high-impact multi-sensory collections. She is responsible customizing emotion-evoking perfumes that transport her clients on a fragrance journey.  

Sue always had her finger on the pulse of the beauty industry, but she didn’t snag her swanky job at Scenterprises over night. She grew up in South Africa and worked a plethora of different jobs, honing her skills to become one of the most globally recognized experts in her field.

We were fascinated by her story, which is alluring as her fragrances, and we think you’ll really enjoy reading about her career and journey to the top.   

Miss Fake It Til You Make It: How did know to trust your instincts and "follow your nose" to the job of your dreams?
Sue Phillips: My career began when I landed a position at Elizabeth Arden and then after 6 years (in Training, Product Development and Marketing) was hired to go to Lancôme in a senior position and was there for 4 years. I left Lancôme and was hired as the VP Marketing for Tiffany Fragrance.

MFITYMI: What was your greatest challenge at Tiffany?  
SP: When I was asked to evaluate their fragrance submissions, my first instinct was that the quality was not there and that the fragrance direction was not appropriate for Tiffany.  After all, Tiffany stood for quality and beautiful precious gem stones right? Through a series of events, I worked with a world recognized Perfumer, Jacques Polge of Chanel, to develop an extraordinary perfume which I felt was absolutely appropriate for the Tiffany Brand. I then developed both a qualitative and quantitative focus group to have Tiffany Customers come into the Tiffany Retail store on 57th Street and 5th Avenue to evaluate the 3 Tiffany submissions. I felt that it was really important to be fair to the other perfumers who had worked so hard on the project, and to engage their ‘works of art’ in a meaningful research project. The results were totally in line with my original ‘instincts’ and thankfully I had the courage of my convictions to ‘follow my nose’ and develop an iconic fragrance that is still consistent with the Tiffany brand image. And I must say, it was an honor and a privilege to work with one of the greatest noses in the world!

MFITYMI: What is your favorite fragrance / combination?  
SP: My favorite combinations are ‘heady’ florals – (like my mother used to wear when she was dressed up to go out), with a combination of exotic spices and woodsy notes. I love bold, big beautiful florals with a hint of sensuality which comes from the amber and woodsy notes, and creating a sensual trail!

MFITYMI: What is the greatest perk of your job?  
SP: Meeting talented, creative people who have a passion for all things fragrance….and of course all the wonderful products we receive at Fragrance Events!

MFITYMI: Who is your greatest career / beauty influence (and why)?   
SP: When I first came to America in 1977, I was reading the book “FIRE AND ICE” which was about the Revlon Cosmetic company. I was fascinated by the stories and glamour and the mystery of the Cosmetic Industry. Little did I realize that I would ever land up working in this industry, but being friendly with, and working for (!) some of the people who were featured in that book. It has been an amazing journey and I am so grateful to so many people who guided me on this path.

MFITYMI: What career / beauty advice do you wish you had known when you were 22 years old?  
SP: Two things – firstly, never be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure of something! And secondly, STAY OUT OF THE SUN! Growing up in South Africa, we used to go to the beach and bake in the sun. I am very fair and while I was young and resilient I didn’t have a problem. Two years ago, a little skin cancer lesion appeared on my check! Yikes! Sun damage only manifests itself years later!

MFITYMI: When was a time you had to Fake It, Til You Make It?  
SP: Its not so much fake it, till you make it, but believing in yourself to come up with the right answer. If you speak with conviction and are passionate about what you are doing, people will believe in you and will forgive you if you make a mistake. Being passionate goes a long way to help make people believe in you!

For more information about Sue (follow her @ScentfullySue) and Scenterprises visit:

1 comment:

Sue Phillips said...

Thanks Lindsey for 'finding' me on Twitter and for this great article! I really hope young women take me seriously when I say stay out of the sun! And if they would like to create their own unique scent, I would be thrilled to help them do so!
Scentfully, Sue