Fragrance and the world around us

Perfumery encompasses not only colognes, perfumes, cosmetics, and treatment lines but also the ever-expanding classes of functional products that appeal to the sense of smell. Who would believe, for example, that young pigs grow faster in a properly fragranced pig pen? Yet preliminary research supports that conclusion. The world's fragrance business will continue to grow for the next 20 years.

I've found that a split personality helps in this business. I have the good fortune to have inherited both a hardnosed Swiss German business sense and wild Irish imagination.

First, an observation from the Swiss German side: Churchill used to complain that too many generals waste their time--and their country's money--preparing to fight the last war. For our industry the last war was the golden era of stable costs and cheap money--the 1960s and the early 70s. Natural oils were abundant then, and affordable. Today, like it or not, we are operating in most parts of the world under double digit inflation, which pushes up costs even when business is bad and unemployment grows.

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