Meet Frances Osadebe, entrepreneur creating unique fragrances
Frances Osadebe’s undying love for perfumes is rare. Her expertise makes her a sought-after perfumery consultant today.
Osadebe is the founder and managing director of The Perfume Madam – a start-up operating in the personal care and cosmetics industry and behind the unique fragrance – 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 at a bank in an effort to get a well-paying job or some other source of income. In her search, she saw an opportunity in the personal care industry and acted on it.
“I went online to look for other sources of income, I found many other things and tried but nothing caught my interest for a long time. Later, I found an opportunity in the personal care industry and I grabbed it,” she says.
The young entrepreneur followed a training course to perfect her skills and she is now a qualified perfumer. “Today I am 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, perfume products from interior and care oils,” she says.
“I have made it my mission to make the knowledge of perfumery accessible, and as affordable as possible, to all perfume enthusiasts who wish to learn perfumery, write their stories in a bottle and paint their experiences with the right ingredients”, explains she.
Frances also trains people who want to venture into the industry, giving them not only the right tools to create best-selling artistic fragrances, but also the confidence to creatively explore the beautiful world of perfumery without using replica scented oils.
Drawing on her experience in retail, she teaches her students how to create, market and sell their perfumes.
She has also created courses to help mentees. “In The Art of Perfumery, I created an online course where I teach other entrepreneurs to identify these ingredients, analyze them, and use them to create a client brief and mood board.”
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“Plus, they’re trained on how to create unique formulas for fragrances that can be packaged and sold for profit like imported designer brands,” she says.
“In my e-book, I identified 700 raw materials for making perfumes in different perfume families,” she explains.
Speaking on her business expansion plans, she says The Perfume Madam plans to train more perfumers who will bring the Nigerian personal care industry to the global stage for favorable competition.
Recently, the young entrepreneur launched a Perfume Academy – a subscription school where subscribers gain in-depth knowledge of creating, marketing and mentoring perfumes.
Responding to questions about the challenges the business faces, she says the lack of critical local information about the business was the biggest challenge she encountered early on.
“There was no adequate information about the company locally. You could only access information on board and the fees to access it are quite high. It’s in the millions,” she notes.
Additionally, she says, the lack of local manufacturers that produce the packaging materials needed by the industry is another challenge limiting the sector.
“Then there are still no manufacturers of perfume bottles, we have to buy from abroad, which is expensive because of the volatility of exchange rates, the weight of the bottles and the shipping costs, not to mention the minimum order quantity.”
“Access to raw materials for production is a real problem as most courier companies do not ship fragrance ingredients, only one company ships from France and a few others from the US and UK. United, which makes importing quite expensive.”
She adds that the lack of trust in Nigerian perfume brands is also a major challenge for the company. “Nigerians still don’t trust Nigerian perfumes and prefer to buy imported brands, but when most people see me behind the scenes teaching 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 endorsements for the products.
On her advice to her younger self, she says, “It’s so worth it, it’s very fulfilling, and you can release your inner thoughts through your creativity and earn money through your art.”
“There’s joy when someone wears a scent you’ve created and they love it, even better when they can describe it in their own words, my God!” It’s an indescribable feeling,” she says.
“Do not try to figure out how to create perfumes by yourself or by Youtube videos, otherwise you will waste a lot of time and money, this is a mistake that many beginners make. Take a course, online or offline, get advice and mentorship.”