Head of Training Kenneth Green
How did you get in to the Fragrance Industry?
After university; I became a management trainee at Selfridges W1, and was lucky enough to gain a full-time role as one of the Beauty Hall Department Managers. From there, my love of perfumery retail began to grow; as I understood what a fast-paced and exciting department fragrance was. With so many counters and staff at Selfridges; I was able to make connections that enabled me to progress my career within the industry. After being recommended for a job opening, I joined the training department at Kenneth Green Associates in 2000, where I have enjoyed the variety and challenges that come with working with over 30 different luxury fragrance brands.
Top tips for entering the industry at any level...
Getting “a foot in the door” at shop-floor level is a great way to begin. You don’t need any special qualifications in order to begin a new job selling fragrance, other than an ability to connect with customers, and an aptitude for learning whilst you work. Most companies will offer product training to their staff; or you can complete the Fragrance Foundation on-line training programme, and research the world of perfume through the various websites and YouTube channels on the subject. There is also a newly approved beauty advisors’ apprenticeship scheme, that came into being earlier this year.
At head office level; you might join a graduate scheme, or complete an internship in a department like marketing. At KGA we will often have new recruits within head office categories that come from outside the industry, as most candidates will have transferable skills.
Perfume is an emotive product: one that inspires imagination, emotion and provokes memories. Therefore, when preparing to enter this industry, it helps if you have an appreciation of this: nurture a passion for the product, find out what’s popular and why, and go into stores to try different scents to become familiar with how they are described to you as a customer.
Why do you believe this is a destination industry?
Perfume is a beautiful, desirable product, and one that is immensely enjoyable and motivating to work with. There are lots of elements to engage your interest, and inspire creativity: from the scent itself, to the packaging; the advertising, the brand concept and story behind it; and how all of that is translated to the consumer. It’s also a product with a touch of magic: the “right” fragrance can endure for centuries, engendering years of consumer loyalty. The marketplace has mushroomed over the past decade with new fragrances entering the market place weekly, and it’s still growing, with plenty of competition and opportunities to make your mark.
Personally, I have found the industry to attract much loyalty from its key players; and have enjoyed the networking opportunities that this brings. Working in it can be both glamourous and rigorous; full of creative challenge and populated by talented and interesting people.