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How I Started and Why I Keep Going By Sarah McCartney

My background is an unusual one for a perfumer. I was planning to be a musician, but I studied maths and sciences at university, went into advertising, then marketing, running international events for The Guardian and Observer newspapers. Following this I went back to university, studying marketing and corporate strategy while working as a copywriter and freelance brand strategist. Following that, I was invited to write for the Lush Times by Mark Constantine, founder of Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, eventually leading to running the international writing team. In the meantime, I also qualified to teach yoga.

I left Lush to be a freelance writing trainer and to write a novel about a problem-solving perfumer, The Scent of Possibility. I tell you all this because I recently read about skill-stacking, which is something that comes in really handy if you want to run a small business of any sort. You don't have to be the world’s best singer to make it as an opera star; you have to be someone who can deal with people, learn lyrics in different languages, tolerate the publicity, travel worldwide without flagging, act, dance a little and captivate an audience.

You don’t have to be the world’s best perfumer to set up your own perfume business, but you do need a skill stack. I’ve found that maths for the formulas and financial calculations, understanding French and organic chemistry, photography and writing for your social media, people management, and building relationships with customers have all helped. My music background has translated into my sensing aromas as musical notes, so I believe I find it easier to make harmonic accords. I started to make perfume after writing the book - a little novella of only 40,000 words.

To learn more about Sarah McCarthy and her work, visit her website at

Read the full Article in the Perfume Special 2023 edition (10.3) E. available in the shop. 

Read the full Article in the Perfume Special 2023 edition (10.3) E. available in the shop.

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