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Perfumer Profile: Howard Kennedy

Posted: February 19, 2007

Howard Kennedy began his career as an apprentice perfumer at Revlon and continued to expand his career by joining Pfizer’s Consumer Products Division (Coty). While at Coty, Kennedy worked to become chief perfumer for Worldwide Fragrance and Flavor Development. His extensive perfume work for the company resulted in five FiFi Award wins for Fragrance of the Year. His winning fragrances were Iron, Lady Stetson, Stetson for Men, Sophia and Nuance. Two of these, Stetson and Sophia, are among the five fragrances that Kennedy feels best define his identity as a perfumer. The others are Wild Musk (Coty), Undeniable (Avon) and Ginger with a Twist (Origins).

After 25 years of experience creating both fragrances and flavors, Kennedy founded his own companies, Royal Essence, Ltd. in 1987 and H.K. Enterprises, Inc. in 1990. As the president and perfumer of H.K. Enterprises, Inc., Kennedy created Avon’s first celebrity scent, Undeniable. In addition, he formulated Avon’s Vanilla Bubble Bath, Terry Ellis’ Southern Exposure, Sears’ Time Out and Ulta’s Flirty Floral line. Kennedy believes it is his need for self improvement and mental growth that have inspired his creations, but it is his patience and ability to recall scents that have made him the perfumer he is today.

Over the years, Kennedy has seen the fragrance industry grow and change. Today he feels the biggest challenges for a perfumer are the regulatory safety issues related to fragrance materials and ingredients. As for trends on the horizon, he sees the natural and organic movement becoming increasingly important to perfumers. In addition, Kennedy believes that celebrity-endorsed fragrances will continue to inundate the market. As a member of the American Society of Perfumers (ASP) and the African Scientific Institute, Kennedy is active in the fragrance industry. When asked which five perfumers he feels should be included on a list of “it” perfumers, Kennedy said: Jim Bell, Claudette Belnavis (Takasago), Vito Lenoci (Lenoci Fragrance Group), Frank Fundaro (Robertet Fragrances, Inc.) and Maureen Brooks (Robertet Fragrances, Inc.).