Fragrance Trends

A Family Affair, right from the start


Emily Austin


As CPL Aromas fast approaches its 50th anniversary, it is to the roots of CPL that we turn to. Contemporary Perfumers Ltd (CPL, for short) was officially formed in 1971, by the Pickthall family, with the first site opening in Witham, Essex. Since then, the CPL Aromas has grown geographically to become an established major international fragrance house, serving over 100 countries and boasting over 600 staff, but still retaining its signature independent family feel.

But the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Since its inception CPL Aromas UK has continually expanded, moving from Witham, to Barrington Hall and finally to its current dual sites: the purpose-built creative centre at Innovation House in Hertfordshire and the manufacturing site at Brixworth in Northampton. 

Just like many other families would, the CPL UK family has grown with generations of staff from all over the world coming together, all connected by their passion for fragrance to create a close-knit team that are able to thrive, blending decades of knowledge with fresh new ideas. 

“CPL Aromas UK is a big melting pot of cultures. This blend of nationalities enables everybody to open up and become curious. We all have something to learn from others and this definitely helps to find the next new concept and the best creative ideas.” 

-       Romain Keller, Perfumer at CPL UK. 

Innovation House is a creative hub for all things fragrance - with a team of international perfumers working in their breath-taking Perfumer’s Studio, a dynamic team of evaluators working on fragrance development, and a product performance department using state-of-the-art testing facilities to make sure every fragrance not only smells great but performs well too. All of these teams collaborate to ensure every scent meets CPL’s uncompromising approach to quality. Then there is the fully equipped lab continually creating samples, a marketing team which protects the brand and delivers new conceptual ideas, and a large account management team which puts the customer at the heart of the whole process, every step of the way. booths2

 In a completely different environment, Brixworth continues the CPL UK family ethos with their practical approach to research and development, exploring ground-breaking technologies that put CPL in the spotlight. 

“All CPL R&D Technologies are developed with the environment and the final customer in mind, and the state of the art facilities at our Global R&D Headquarters in Brixworth allow us to test the fragrances and technologies as the customer would look to use them, ensuring we offer the best solutions to our customers such as our Biodegradable and EcoBoost scents.”

-       Tim Whiteley, Global R&D Director 

  One of the many success stories at CPL Aromas is Charlotte Purcell who started out at CPL Aromas UK 10 years ago straight out of University, and who has gone on to become a member of the company’s Global Operating Board as its Group Technical Director. 

 “I joined CPL nearly 10 years ago as a recent chemistry grad. I took every opportunity working in regulatory, relocating to the US, a stint in sales, before returning to my technical roots. CPL has offered me a great environment to train and develop into a leadership role. Working in both of our UK divisions has meant I have built relationships with both teams within the UK and understand the different aspects of the business. CPL has a family feel, and I can see why people stay here for so long, we look after each other particularly prevalent over the last few months, our people are so important and ensuring their health and wellbeing is paramount.”


The year 2019 saw the team grow substantially, when CPL Aromas acquired the fragrance business of AFF, a well establish UK based F&F house, bringing new staff, core customers and a fantastic buzz to the CPL offices.

 Jodie Bradfield, Customer Services within the UK team, played a key role in the integration of the AFF business into CPL.

“The AFF acquisition was many things: challenging, thrilling and a learning curve for all involved. The team worked seamlessly together in order to make each part as smooth running as possible for our new customers, whilst maintaining our above and beyond attitude for our existing customers. We have taken a lot of knowledge from that period which we continue to use daily. The acquisition has been a great success.”


Great facilities and a talented work force have enabled CPL UK to form long term and close relationships with customers, delighting them in sensory events such as SYN 

“The SYN event was a great opportunity to show our imagination and the desire we have to provide our customers with a deep and meaningful multisensorial experience, which is the very essence of CPL”

-       Donna Toogood, UK Account Manager

The team within CPL UK have also worked on some fascinating collaborations over the years, from scenting sculptures with the smell of breast milk to creating scratch-and-sniff leaves for COS stores for their Christmas displays. Creating a personal experience and conjuring up memories through the use of fragrance is one of the many ways the team show off their talents.   

Collaborations also come in the form of supporting the next generation of fragrance and cosmetic enthusiasts. CPL has long-standing relationships with the London College of Fashion and the University of Sunderland, who have given CPL UK team members opportunities to guest lecture. CPL has, in turn, delivered many hands-on practical sessions for numerous students of theirs over the years. Both Innovation House and Brixworth have also supported placement years, where a student has the opportunity to be immersed in the company, giving them a further insight into this captivating industry. 

Nick Pickthall, COO and a member of the family who founded the Group, says of CPL UK 

“Our successful UK Division is blessed with a team who care and put the customer first.  I have great pride seeing the diversity and rich cultures within our UK offices and factory.  So many of our team have been promoted internally and opportunity for progression within CPL is a core value of ours.  We have fun in what we do and strive to be employer of choice and support each other”


Fragrance is at the very core of everything the CPL UK team does. The company hopes to continue to grow and welcomes your company into a world of fragrance, where we can create together. 


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