Vital Tool For Home Perfumers
What a "formula" is, how you make it, and why you need it for your own creations.

Turning homemade perfume
into a commercial product

Part VI of a Multi-Part Series

Imagine this —
      — You've been messing around, making your own signature perfume from essential oils.
      — You've produced something everyone likes.
      — Friends say "you should sell it" ... and you would be happy to do just that, except for one small problem. You can't remember how you made it!

Creating the recipe for your money maker

We call it a formula. It's nothing more than a recipe but instead of being instructions for making a tasty treat to be eaten, it's a recipe for a perfume that can be sold.

Like those recipes found in cookbooks or passed down from grandmother, with this recipe you or someone you have shared it with, can create more of the perfume that your friends thought was so great. By following the formula (recipe!), new batches of perfume will have the same scent and characteristics as your original, the perfume your friends said you should sell.

A good way to learn

Start with a good cookbook. You probably have one in your home already. Go through the recipes. Some will be very simple while others might be more difficult but all, both the simple and the difficult. follow the same format. They itemize the ingredients needed, they specify the quantity of each ingredient to be used, they specify the equipment that will be needed (pots, pans, mixing bowls, etc.) and how, step by step, to blend and cook these ingredients.

Now find a recipe for something familiar, such as chocolate chip cookies. Make a batch. Then critique your results.

Did the cookies come out the way you expected? Were you pleased with your results? Did you use the exact ingredients the recipe called for? Did you change anything and, if you did change anything, did you make notes describing the changes you made?

Now for your perfume...

Think of how you made your perfume. You had your ingredients, you mixed them, and (no cooking required!) when you were done mixing, you had your perfume. And, oh yes, you might have added alcohol so your perfume could be a spray.

Now answer these questions:

  1. Can you remember all the ingredients you mixed together? What, for example, essential oils were used? And, were there some small drops and dashes of other things?
    Next time, rather than trust your memory after the fact, list the ingredients you are using as you use them!
  2. Can you remember how much of each ingredient you used? Did you even bother to measure or did you just pour a little this into a little that until you liked the small? And maybe later you added a little something more?
    Next time, to make your recipe so you can repeat what you have done, measure out each ingredient and record the amount that went into your perfume.
  3. When you finally came up with a perfume you liked, did you blend the oil with alcohol so that it could be sprayed? Did you record the type of alcohol you used and did you measure and record how much alcohol you used?
    Next time, record the type of alcohol you used and the amount of alcohol you added to a specific amount of your fragrance oil. In other words, record the ratio of alcohol to oil. What percentage of your finished perfume was oil? What percent was alcohol? A kitchen measuring cup is an important tool.

The lesson learned

If you want to sell your perfume, record what you are doing. Keep notes that are complete enough so that you can repeat each step, so each new batch will be an exact copy of your original fragrance.

Learning to record and maintain formulas of your creations is the first step in turning your perfume hobby into a money making perfume business.

-Philip Goutell
-Lightyears, Inc.

Part I: Making Your Own Perfume For Pleasure or for Profit

Part II: Voyage of Discovery

Part III: Extracting Essential Oils Through Distillation

Part IV: Making Indian Attars

Part V: Producing Agarwood Oil In Thailand