The 10 Most Inspiring Businesswomen Making a Diffe...

Sue Phillips: Sharing the Essence of Fragrance

The 10 Most Inspiring Businesswomen Making a Difference, 2022 Vol-1

Our most powerful sense is smell. It has tremendous power to arouse, entice, and raise our spirits, making it an incredible gift; choosing the appropriate perfume for your loved ones, like creating a wonderful aroma, demands imagination and daring. Perfumes are used to represent emotions, concepts, tones, and conflicts. Fragrances come in a variety of forms: basic, intricate, layered with several notes, and some that appear to be simple but never fail to surprise. Fragrances associated with mystics and the holy are exactly what they sound like. Each handmade bottle is a planet in a bottle to a connoisseur’s nose. It is reasonable to argue that while the techniques of production and the chemicals used have changed dramatically throughout time, the concept of smell has not.

Sue Phillips’ mission is to create unique scent ‘experiences’ and products by diffusing aromas out of the bottle. She is the Founder and CEO of Scenterprises Inc., a company that creates one-of-a-kind fragrances for men and women as well as presents corporate teambuilding events, bridal and wedding showers, and fragrance bars for all occasions.

Sue has to be nimble to develop innovative products and initiatives to generate interest and awareness about fragrance. She just created her own SUE PHILLIPS APP, which is accessible on both iOS and Android devices, and using it, she will be able to conduct interviews, distribute podcasts, and host ‘live’ programs in order to raise awareness of her company. During the pandemic, the firm had to adapt its products, creating a Scent Kit and hosting Zoom events, both of which were huge successes. She says, “Businesses are opening up now, and so I am looking forward to presenting in-person events again.”

Early Life Experiences

Sue was born and raised in South Africa, and aspired to pursue a career in theatre ever since she was a child. She visited America on vacation and fell in love with the country’s enthusiasm and vigor, deciding to relocate to New York. To pursue a career in theatre, she became immersed in the off-off-Broadway culture and began singing and acting at night. She didn’t have a green card and wasn’t a member of the Theatre Unions, so she became ‘official’ by working for an immigration attorney. Sue is still active in the theatre, and she is a US citizen and SAG-AFTRA member. She shares, “I have just been in a wonderful play called Letters from Versailles by Tony Baron, and I play Queen Marie of Rumania.”

Sue started her work at Elizabeth Arden after a headhunter believed her theatrical experience would be suitable for a position in the cosmetics industry, specifically in training. This was the harbinger of her foray into the enchanted realm of perfumery. She was employed as the Marketing Director of Lancôme, Paris, following 6 years at Elizabeth Arden in training, product development, and marketing, and after 4 years, she was appointed as Executive VP of Tiffany & Co., where she designed and produced the first Tiffany perfume.

After leaving Tiffany to have her baby, she founded Scenterprises Inc., a worldwide scent enterprise supervising product development, marketing, and branding for major firms and brands, including Burberry, Avon, Lancaster, Trish McEvoy, and many more. After the financial crash of 2008, Sue opened The Scentarium, a beautiful oasis in the heart of Tribeca where the brand created custom fragrances for individuals, A-list celebrities, Fortune 500 companies and presented teambuilding, bridal, and corporate events.

Reinvention is in her DNA because Sue had to reinvent her business yet again because of the pandemic, which forced the building to close. During this time, she wrote her book called “The Power of Perfume” and was delighted to have been able to share her experiences and knowledge gleaned over many decades about the power of perfume.

Holding Professional Excellency

Sue’s career in the fragrance business began rather by chance, and she has had the great fortune of creating exquisite perfumes for legendary companies like Tiffany, Burberry, and Avon, as well as unique fragrances for thousands of men and women and top celebrities. She is overjoyed that her enthusiasm and love for scent has already assisted hundreds of Anosmia sufferers in regaining their sense of smell. She’s also thrilled to be working with neuroscientists who support the Scent Healing project.

Sue trains her helpers and fragrance ambassadors and has an open door policy; she emphasizes the importance of communicating effectively and early if there are issues that need to be addressed (e.g., don’t wait a few months before saying, “A few months ago you did such and such”); it is critical to pay attention to details and “to never give up”; and to be accountable if mistakes are made and own up to them. She goes on to say that it is now essential for everyone in the organization to have technical and organizational abilities, as business development is impossible without them. During the pandemic, with the shutdown of most businesses, technical and organizational skills became vital for communication, motivation, and continuity.

According to Sue, organizations must promote and sustain integrity, honesty, and a welcoming attitude. Companies that boldly display their “5-star” ratings on the internet and social media are just as vulnerable to negative feedback and states, “We are vigilant about showing gratitude, respect, and consideration to my clients and employees. We thrive on innovation and creativity, and every day we practice an attitude of positivity and respect.”

Finding Joy in ‘Her’ Work

Sue enjoys going to the theatre, lectures, and concerts and has been able to attend a selection of events via Zoom and now, thankfully, again in person. She does spend a large amount of time on her professional life as it gives her a great deal of joy, and as a Scentrepreneur™ she doesn’t really ever shut off. She says, “I am always thinking about ways to offer innovative events.”

“The Power of Perfume”

Sue has always enjoyed writing and has contributed articles to a variety of industry journals, as well as the Fragrance Editor for Glow Magazine. She had always wanted to write a book but never had the time. Nevertheless, the shutdown provided the perfect opportunity. This is a comprehensive yet accessible book about the history of scent, with many fascinating facts about classic and influential perfumes that have shaped social, political, and economic movements. It also explains how to apply perfume and the differences between perfume, cologne, and the various fragrance ‘types.’ Readers may also complete Sue’s Scent Personality Quiz at the conclusion of the book to find out which fragrance family best reflects their personality and uniqueness.

Future Visions and Messages for Visionaries

Sue hopes to assure continuity in the future by assembling a team of successors who will carry on her heritage and pursuit of excellent goods, as well as continuing to spread the word about how scent can alter people’s lives. She’s also working on her second book with a neuroscientist on how she has been helping people restore their sense of smell, and the procedure she’s devised will be used for individuals with anosmia to help them regain their sense of smell.

Sue’s advice to all aspiring female leaders is to follow their ideas and passions, and to try new things that they enjoy that might turn into a company. She also adds, “If you have the opportunity, it is a good idea to get ‘corporate’ and business experience first so that you learn business fundamentals and develop acumen and strategies that will stand you in good stead for the future.” In addition, she states, “Pay attention to details and have the courage to stand up for your beliefs and convictions without alienating colleagues in your quest for your ambitions.”