In this day and age, part of being well-dressed is having the right scent to match our mood and outfit for the day. A quick visit around any department store and you’ll realize that there is probably a scent marketed for every man, woman, and even child out there. But for many of us who have been in the search for the perfect perfume, we know that many times it is hard to find one that we truly love and makes us unique. This is where the home perfume makers make their niche. They can make one-of-a-kind scents that will not make you smell like everybody else.
The handcrafted toiletries market, including home perfume making, is indeed on the rise. Everything, from handcrafted soap, lotions, and other spa products can be seen, in various specialty shops, and at times, even the big department stores have jumped on this bandwagon and attempt to make their products appear “handcrafted”. The handcrafted and natural appeal is now very much in vogue.
In the competitive world of perfume development and manufacturing, perfume was thought to be such a multifaceted chemical mixture of essential oils, aromatic compounds, fixatives, solvents, and, if you did not have a celebrity endorsing your product, then it is sure to be doomed. It used to be that if you wanted to manufacture your own perfume or fragrance, you would have to be prepared to spend well over $10,000. Many suppliers of raw materials had such steep minimum orders that you would have to have the pockets of the industrial giants to be able to even do some research and development. But the Internet has changed that. Many of the ingredients are now readily available over the Internet, including recipes, and many suppliers have minimum orders that are well within the reach of an average crafter, and you can actually start a business for sometimes as low as $200 depending on the kind of scent that you want.
Basically, perfume, the most concentrated of all fragrance products, is around 20-30% fragrance or essential oil (colognes, eau de colognes, eau de toilettes have lower percentages of the fragrance or essential oil, and more of the alcohol, with some mixtures even incorporating water). The rest is alcohol and fixatives because perfumes only have from 0-5% water (mostly 0%). Fixatives are used because many essential and fragrance oils are so volatile that if you expose them to the atmosphere, the scent evaporates in a very short time, and, in order to “fix” the scent, you need fixatives so that the scent stays longer. Also essential are pretty bottles to package your scents in, and basically, the two most expensive ingredients in the manufacturing of perfumes are the essential or fragrance oils, and the bottles.
A quick search in the internet will give you a slew of suppliers for essential oils, alcohols, fixatives, and bottles. For the essential or fragrance oils, many suppliers sell these at ½ an ounce, making it much more affordable for the home perfumer. Many even offer sample packs. Prices range from $2.00 to a high of $80 per half ounce of essential oil, but many of them ranging from $7-$15 per half ounce, the cost progressively lowering the higher the amount you buy per essential oil.
For the perfumer’s alcohol used to dilute the essential and fragrance oils, the average cost is around $6 to $10 for 8 ounces (around 1 cup), depending on your supplier. As with the essential oils, the costs go down if you buy in bulk. If your perfumer’s alcohol contains isopropyl myristate then there is no need to add a fixative because that in itself acts as the fixative.
Many suppliers of essential oils also supply perfume bottles. For the suppliers of perfume bottles alone, some just ask for a minimum order of $40, with the price per bottle ranging from below $1 to $9 for the larger bottles.
Cost vs. profit wise, the perfume industry is a very lucrative business, even for the home manufacturer. The internet has definitely changed this industry that in the olden days was limited to the very few big shots in the corporate perfume world. So go ahead, make your scent!