When combined with the sense of smell, a scent has the power to evoke fond memories and a range of feelings that can uplift people’s spirits, deepen romance, elevate moods, and create a general sense of happiness. Fragrances help make life complete. They emphasise the value of scent, a frequently undervalued human sense that, along with sight and sound, gives a priceless vibrancy to the tapestry of life. To maintain this tapestry, Sue Phillips, CEO & Founder of Scenterprises Inc., transitioned herself into the world of fragrances.
Journey to the Destination
Sue Phillips was born and raised in South Africa, and ever since she was a child, she wanted to pursue a career in theatre. She moved to New York and immersed herself in Broadway culture. Shortly thereafter, she was hired by Elizabeth Arden’s cosmetics division after a head-hunter decided that her theatrical background would make her a good fit for the field. After working in training as National Training Director she was then promoted to product development, and ultimately marketing at Elizabeth Arden for six years, she was hired as the marketing director of Lancôme Paris.
After four years, Sue was recruited to the position of Executive Vice President of Tiffany & Co., where she created and developed the first Tiffany perfume and oversaw the global launch. After a successful launch and the development of Tiffany for Men, she left to have her daughter and established Scenterprises Inc., a global fragrance company that manages product development, marketing, and branding for well-known companies and brands, including Burberry, Avon, Lancaster, and Trish McEvoy. As we know, the 2008 economic crisis created more challenges, and Sue established her perfume boutique The Scentarium in Tribeca, where Sue and her team developed distinctive, specially formulated perfumes for clients, A-list celebrities such as Jamie Foxx, Katie Holmes, Zendaya as well as Fortune 500 corporations for team-building, corporate events as well as Bridal Showers.
“In order to continue to grow and develop as a leader I believe one has to be very aware of trends, predict them, strive to be ahead of them, be a trailblazer\and establish them!”- says Sue
Scenterprises started out as a global consulting firm specialising in product development, marketing, branding, and forging strategic partnerships between apparel and cosmetics companies. It also provides expert witness testimony in legal situations involving copyright, trademark, and distribution disputes; many motivational speaking engagements; and supports philanthropic endeavours for Alzheimer’s and Wild Life programs, which resonate with Sue’s personal causes and initiatives. The idea of creating bespoke or custom perfumes emerged as a way to give people and fragrance lovers the opportunity to have their own personalised fragrance to reflect their individuality and personality after a proliferation of designer and celebrity brands, which were at their peak from the 1980s to 2010s.
At the time, this was a brand-new endeavour! The idea of “Tupperware parties for scent” had people raising their eyebrows. Since then, it has grown and now provides tailored fragrances and scents for both men and women; perfume parties; fragrance bars; corporate team-building activities; and bridal celebrations for high-profile A-listers. Scenterprises gave rise to the Scentarium perfume shop. To assist customers in comprehending the magic and mystique of fragrance, Sue creates cutting-edge ‘scentsory’ events and initiatives. People can use the Scent Personality Quiz to determine which fragrance family most closely resembles their personalities and unique characteristics. People are constantly in awe at how accurate it is. On both iOS and Android smartphones, anyone can access the quiz on her app: https://www.suephillipsapp.com . By doing interviews, releasing podcasts, and hosting “live” programs, Sue uses it to promote the company.
Emphasizing Communication as a Leader
Sue is a staunch supporter of effective communication. She stresses the importance of clear communication and prompt problem solving. In order to improve oneself and develop a great culture in the workplace, it’s also essential to pay attention to details, to never give up, be passionate about what you do, and to constantly hold yourself accountable for mistakes you make. As an entrepreneur, (she calls herself a “Scentrepreneur™) Sue’s role and responsibilities are all-encompassing. She has always been active in all facets of the company. She keeps an eye on and handles every aspect of the business like the conductor of an orchestra. As her team has developed, she has been able to delegate some tasks, but at the end of the day, she is still accountable for her Company’s reputation and product quality. She is committed to offering quality ingredients in her perfumes and thankfully, because she has never heard of anyone complaining of allergies or headaches with her fragrances, she wants to maintain that.
All organisations need to actively promote and uphold values like integrity, honesty, and openness. Businesses that boldly display their “5 star” ratings on the web and social media are just as prone to unfavourable reviews. So, keep an eye out for the company’s brand message and marketing tactics.
The Pandemic was one of the biggest obstacles to the company’s growth. Sue had to close her physical perfume boutique The Scentarium when the world locked down and had to find out how to move from in-person events to online, especially because her business was attracting a great deal of traction. She asked herself, “How do you experience fragrance online?”
Consequently Sue had to redesign her company. With the use of her scent kits, she was able to reposition her in-person client consultation events and present Zoom virtual events by shipping her scent-kits to clients and taking them on a ‘fragrance journey’. The results were ‘scentertaining’!
Interestingly the Pandemic did create a fortuitous opportunity for Sue as she had always wanted to write her own book, but never had the time. The government shutdown allowed her the chance to finally write her book, “The Power of Perfume,” which offers an in-depth history of scent, packed with intriguing details of iconic fragrances and their influence on social, economic, and political movements. In addition, NBC TV wanted to interview Sue about her book and the day before the interview they asked her if she could help a Covid ‘long-hauler’ regain her sense of smell? Sue replied that she couldn’t be sure but would certainly try. The client came in and Sue explained that she would take her on a ‘scent-healing journey’ and after not being able to smell anything for the first 13 scents, suddenly the client said with tears in her eyes: “I smell something and it is beautiful”!! It was so emotional and the TV crew and everyone in the boutique felt and witnessed the breakthrough! It was palpable! When the interview was launched it went viral, and suddenly many people who had Anosmia contacted Sue and to date she has helped over 125 people regain their sense of smell.
Work and Professional Life balance
Sue Phillips invests a significant amount of time in her professional life, and as a Scentrepreneur, it truly brings her great delight. She loves what she does. She also enjoys attending plays, lectures, operas and concerts. In the last 2 months she has seen four wonderful Broadway plays, 2 concerts at Carnegie Hall, ‘Rigoletto’ opera at The Met, and is so grateful to be able to experience them in person once more.
Sue has also gone back to her acting roots and joined two theatre organisations where she meets once a week and performs on Zoom. It is a wonderful distraction from work-related concerns and fuels her creative energy.
A Leader Needs Entrepreneurial Spirit
Making decisions, hiring the right people, taking the initiative when you’re certain it’s the right path, and listening to your intuition are all important qualities of a great leader. People naturally take the road that appeals to them the most. While some people are content to be in employee roles and to follow the rules at their day jobs, others aspire to be an employer or owner who creates or imposes rules. Sue thinks it is always crucial to have a certain amount of entrepreneurial spirit to successfully operate a firm. One’s ability can result in both big and small victories that pay off in the long run, and there are always risks and benefits.
“A great leader must have a passion for what they do, to believe in themselves, to never be afraid to speak up or make a decision, and most importantly, to never give up.” – says Sue Phillips.
Sue advises the upcoming generation of female leaders to always follow their ideas and hobbies while also taking pleasure in activities that could one day become a business. If you have the chance, it is advisable to gain corporate and business experience first in order to grasp business fundamentals, build business acumen, and create plans that will serve you well in the long run. In light of the foregoing, constantly pay close attention to details and possess the courage to hold firm in your convictions without alienating co-workers in the pursuit of your goals.
“Always remember people who have helped you along the way, and don’t forget to lift someone up”― Roy T. Bennett
“Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down” __Wilson Mizner Playwright, Entrepreneur
Written by Steve Sanchez.