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How Sue Phillips, Author of “The Power of Perfume,” Has Disrupted The Fragrance Industry

Sue Phillips epitomizes the modern-day fairytale of finding success even after being knocked down by life’s inevitable curveballs. She has disrupted the cosmetic industry as the founder of Scenterprises, Inc. and The Scentarium, New York’s newest custom perfumery and a globally recognized expert in the fragrance and perfume, cosmetics, and personal care fields.

After the 2008 financial crash, all of Sue’s consulting abruptly came to an end. She utilized this opportunity to pivot, creatively utilizing her fragrance knowledge to slowly climb to the forefront of a significant new trend: customizing fragrances. Sue started Custom Fragrances and opened her perfumery, The Scentarium, in Tribeca. She created the Olfactory Fragrance families and started offering Custom Fragrances for men and women for corporate events, bridal, team building, and client appreciation. 

Over the years, Sue has become a branding and marketing fragrance expert. She coined the term SCENTREPRENEUR®, creating fragrances for celebrities including Jamie Foxx, Katie Holmes, Zendaya, Susan Sarandon, Marcia Gay Harden, Lawrence Fishbourne, Cicely Tyson, and many other Oscar Winners. In addition to these household names, Sue has also created interactive, powerful, and memorable ‘experiences’ for Fortune 500 clients through our most potent sense… smell. 

Phillips’ Contribution to COVID-19 ‘Long Haulers’

When the pandemic hit and downtown closed down, business dried up, so while the whole world was in lockdown and bingeing on Netflix movies, Sue wrote her book The Power of Perfume. She has now been able to help so many people rediscover their sense of smell.

“The Power of Perfume” is a compilation of Phillips’ love of perfume and the answers given to the numerous questions asked by so many people who are fascinated by this marvelous subject. 

Being such an expert in smell, Phillips’ was asked to assist a COVID-19 ‘long-hauler’ regain her sense of smell. Sue was able to help Lyss Stern smell something, and Lyss said: “I smell something, and it’s beautiful!” And she started to cry! 

Since then, the news went viral, and today, Sue has been featured in about 76 different press and tv interviews and has helped about 65 people in person and on zoom rediscover their sense of smell.  

As it turns out, Sue has garnered interest from several doctors supporting her endeavors. An ENT doctor, a neuroscientist, and an Integrative Health Doctor are now working with Sue to endorse her work to help with their Olfactory sense.

Phillips’ Advice For Fragrance-Industry Hopefuls

Phillips has many vital tidbits of advice for young entrepreneurs aspiring to get a foot into the fragrance industry. Her first piece of advice is to learn as much as you can about fragrance and read everything about perfume. “These days, I also find inspiration from reading blogs, Instagram, Youtube, and TikTik,” she said. “If you end up working in a cosmetic company, make sure you do anything and everything that needs to be done regarding work,” Sue advised against bringing an attitude or ego into your new endeavors. “‘ That’s not what I was hired for,'” is never the right thing to say, Phillips says. Be considerate, courteous, and follow up with people you meet and foster relationships. You’ll be amazed how these qualities will help later in life.

Sue also encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to pay attention to details. “Go over and above your core competency and stretch yourself to become an expert,” she said. “That was the advice I was given 43 years ago by a marketing guru who spent a day with me as I was learning about fragrance and becoming the Fragrance Training Director.” Now, many years later, with so many brands, businesses, and articles under her belt–not to mention a book with national and international praise–Phillips is still passionate about the more mundane day-to-day work she does. 

Within the next five to ten years, Sue sees her company growing and eventually aspires to have a digital online retailer distributes the fragrances. In addition, she has opportunities in the works for Sue Phillips Fragrances to be co-branded with a luxury accessory brand. Phillips believes the disruption will continue and have thousands of points of distribution. 


Olivia Liveng is a contributor at Disrupt Magazine and an award-winning travel, entrepreneurship, and lifestyle journalist and editor who relocated to Copenhagen from NYC. She has been featured in The New York Post, Fodors, L.A. Style Magazine, and Forbes.

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