Fragrance Trends

Faces Behind the Fragrance

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Emily Austin

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CPL Aromas is a world-leading, independent, family-owned fragrance house. We focus all of our creativity, innovation and energy on making outstanding fragrances together with our customers. There are lots of CPL staff working hard behind the scenes to bring you the best quality fragrances.

Dawn Groves has been a part of CPL since 2003, and in that time has been a critical member in helping grow the Analytical team into the global department it is today. With a recent promotion to CPL’s Group Analytical Manager, we sat down to ask Dawn about life in the fragrance industry and what her new role entails.

Q: You have been on quite a journey from leaving school up to your new role, how did you start out in the fragrance industry?

A: I always had a passion for chemistry at school. My thesis at University was based on flavours, through this I became aware of the flavour and fragrance industry.

My first job was with Quintessence, a small UK fragrance house based on the South Coast of England. It was an amazing introduction to the fragrance industry. My primary role was GC-MS analysis, but I also covered QC and regulatory. It was a small company, about 20 people, so everyone was involved in everything. I learnt so much.

A few years later I moved to Robertet UK as they wanted to start utilising GC-MS. At that time CHIP & COSHH were becoming essential for fragrance houses, so a big part of my time was spent selecting and setting up a regulatory system.

In 2003 I joined CPL Aromas as Senior GC-MS Analyst at Barrington Hall. About 5 years later I took over managing the team of analysts. I was lucky to inherit a team of enthusiastic trainees. As CPL flourished the team grew and we were able to purchase more instruments and base them in different locations around the world.

Q: What does your new role as Group Analytical Manager entail?

A: In my new role I’ll be responsible for advising on and implementing the group analytical strategy, with regards to both equipment and recruitment. I will also focus on training and developing analysts throughout the group. We aim to give our local teams around the world the analytical tools they need, develop centres of excellence and ensure we remain at the forefront of analytical advances.

Additionally, I will have an involvement in developing new AromaFusion materials and assisting sourcing of sustainable materials for our palette. These are two extremely exciting areas. Sustainable and ethical sourcing is hugely important to us. Our innovative AromaFusion materials give us a point of difference and enable our perfumers to create truly unique fragrances.

Q: What are the highlights for you, being a part of and working for a fragrance house?

A: Fragrance is a wonderful industry to work in. It is all about making life better and more enjoyable, whether that is a luxury fine fragrance, beautifully fragranced laundry product or a floor cleaner. Fragrance can help physically in terms of antibacterial properties and also improve mental well-being through its powerful link to our emotions and memories.

One of the joys of working in the analytical field is you study fragrance almost like an art form. In a beautifully designed perfume, you can see structure, colour, texture & sometimes a spark of genius.

Q: You’ve been with the company for 17 years now, what do you enjoy about working at CPL?

A: CPL Aromas is an incredibly dynamic and positive company to work for. We have grown enormously since 2003. We are never afraid of change, we seek to innovate and have an unrelenting determination to succeed.

I have had some amazing experiences whilst at CPL. Visiting our rose oil supplier in Bulgaria at harvest time and the Perfumers’ Conference a few years ago in Colombia were some of the highlights. One of our values is to have fun! We work hard, but there are always lots of events that strengthen us as a team.

Some of our most exciting analytical projects are based on headspace techniques. We can use this, in combination with perfumers’ expertise, to create beautiful, true to nature fragrances or to optimise fragrance performance in products such as candles.

Q: What do you think makes a good team?

A: The people! If you have the right people and give them the freedom, training and encouragement to excel, they flourish.

Q: Are there any challenges the industry faces?

A: Our industry is always evolving. We constantly adapt to ever-changing regulations. Many of our suppliers are developing greener production processes and we are actively seeking more sustainable materials and ways of working. It is both our challenge and our responsibility to consider the impact we have on the planet and society.

As an industry our role is to provide delight through fragrances, our biggest challenge is to continue innovating to produce fragrances that meet societies changing needs and expectations. COVID-19 has changed many things this year, but people still need great fragrances.

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