So as you all know I love to support local and started a #girlboss segment where we could share, learn from each other and inspire!
During lock down, we are going to do a whole lot of these to highlight these businesses – many of which are taking HUGE strain during this time – and shed some awareness and love to all. Their perfumes are so divine and priced from R150, you can not go wrong! I bought mine at Kamers in Irene last year and it’s on me daily! Check out their website to buy yours!
To make these gorgeous scents, these ladies use original perfume oils imported and bottled locally in order to bring customers affordable fine fragrances. You are definitely going to thank me for sharing this awesome find with you.
So let’s see what we can learn about the duo behind What’s that Fragrance?
You started your own perfume business – How does it feel to be a successful #girlboss that inspires others and loves what she does?
Background info: Cath (Thompson) is my second cousin and has successfully run her own Candle-making and Fragrance business for the last 6 years supplying big brands and retail outlets in Southern Africa. My background was in Marketing for a Cruise company and with all the traveling I did, I always spoilt myself with duty-free perfume purchases before I set off on a trip. (I’ve had a love affair with perfume since getting a sample perfume with a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine way back in the 80’s!!)
Last year Cath approached me as she felt she was in a bit of a creative rut and we sat and brainstormed over a cup of coffee. When I learnt that the perfume oils she used in her diffusers were also available for the manufacture of perfume it was like a firecracker exploded in my brain. Within two weeks we had our first small range of inspired-by perfumes displayed in our very own branded bottles at a home market in Saxonwold, Joburg!
Cath and I both just LOVE what we do, and I think more than anything that is what makes us feel successful. Our biggest kick is to get feedback from customers (such as yourself!) that one of our products has brought them some joy. There is nothing more exciting for us than to see a returning customer.
What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?
1. You are NEVER too old to learn – and there is so much to learn! Mistakes will happen with digital platforms, human error and business decisions. We are very lucky to share the same outlook and not let these hiccups derail us.
2. A difficult lesson is having to sometimes rely on the time-line of suppliers … their delays can drastically alter production times and affect us fulfilling orders. Lesson learnt – Under Promise, Over Deliver.
3. Go with your gut. 9 times out of 10 your gut is the best guide when decision making!
Where do you see your business in 5 years? Once we have gotten over the effects of the lock down.
We would like to continue building our online presence – enabling people from all over the country to have access to beautiful, quality fragrances at a fraction of the cost of big name brands.
We also have some wonderful corporate clients and this is an avenue we hope to expand. We can personalise candles, diffusers and even fragrances for companies, events and birthdays.
We are supplying a few retail stores, and in 5 years we would hope to be in far more stores across the country.
What is your advice to women out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
Take the plunge!
There is nothing as invigorating as seeing your idea/concept come to fruition and you will find that if you are following a passion project, you won’t consider it as “work”. Do your homework, research the market you are entering and see what and how you can do things differently.
Have realistic expectations regarding money and understand that you will be putting money IN for a long time before you can take any OUT.
Tell us 2 things that are the BEST part about owning your own business and make it all worth while?
The flexibility is most Cath has a young son and so afternoons for her are often filled with school lifts, extramural activities and homework, and she is far more productive in the morning. I tend to start my days a lot slower and work later into the afternoon and evening. The autonomy of decision making is hard to beat. We can decide on where our energy goes, what we focus on, what we would like to achieve. And then the very best is getting wonderful feedback!
What’s next for WTF?
We have used this lock down time to allow ourselves to take a good break. 2019 was a complete roller-coaster for us. We saw such rapid growth of our business, but we were knocked sideways when Cath was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer diagnosis in July. All her focus went to her recovery and she managed chemo and radiation like a rock star. 3 weeks after her last chemo session she was all systems go at Kamers in Irene!!
We have obviously been hit hard by the cancellation of all the markets we had planned for this quarter, and at this stage are uncertain as to when those markets will resume. Our online side has also ground to a halt, as deliveries for non-essential items aren’t allowed (even though we consider perfume VERY essential!)
We are also introducing some AMAZING new room sprays, fragrance sachets and some Jo-Malone inspired bespoke perfumes … so watch this space!
My absolute favourite perfume at the moment is their F12 perfume, inspired by Chanel Chance. It is absolutely divine! I wear it EVERY SINGLE DAY.
These ladies want one thing, and its heartwarming. They want..
to make perfume and home fragrance that is perfect to wear, perfect to gift, has a touch of attitude and smells amazing! Life is so serious sometimes. It’s good to lighten up!
Amen to that!