Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alex Latos, Founder of The Parfum Apothecary, located in North Bondi, NSW, Australia.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Parfum Apothecary is an artisan perfumery that also aims to function as a resource for perfume education and the community. Every item in the Apothecary's line is made by one person from start to finish. The perfume formulas are blended in small batches and allowed to macerate and mature. The aromatic concentrate is then blended with a solubilizer, either ethanol or oil and bottled. Many of my customers are seeking a fragrance that speaks to them personally and reminds them of happy experiences or their personal history. It is this intimate sensed experience that informs the formulations of each perfume from the Parfum Apothecary.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Alex, and while the Parfum Apothecary is my full-time work, I sometimes work freelance for similar businesses. I'm always thinking of new ways to pursue my passions and am eager to work with like-minded people. I have an academic & professional background in Natural History and have worked in laboratories and museums, conducted field research on land and sea, & experience as a writer. The Parfum Apothecary got its commercial start at community markets around Sydney. You may have seen my stall at Bondi, Balmain, Marrickville & Rozelle.
Currently, the Apothecary operates out of a residential office. This workspace is a perfumer's dream and allows me to work in privacy and surrounded by natural beauty. It is this environment that is my daily motivation, from the beautiful smells flowing from my perfumer's organ, the scented plants of my garden just outside my office, and reading the sacred words of historians, botanists, and alchemists from the past.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of The Parfum Apothecary's greatest successes is its community. I make the highest effort to communicate the ingredients, sources, and methods utilised, and once someone places an order, they join our perfume family. Connecting with other solo perfumers and meeting experts from around the world has been a source of great satisfaction.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that comes with being a solo business owner is feeling directionless. With no one around you giving you feedback, it can be hard to know where you stand. That's why connecting with fellow perfumers and communicating with customers has been so important.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't just follow trends or money. Following your true passions makes your job easier because it's something that comes naturally to you. Believe that your brand can be something with real value that stands the test of time.
- Patience. You shouldn't be disappointed if you aren't immediately making a profit, and it takes time to build a natural following. There will be highs and lows or an opportunity to try something new. All of that is ok.
- Respect your customers. Never lose sight of the fact that your clients are what enable you to do what you do. Give them the benefit of the doubt, communicate authentically, and always be generous.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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