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CPL Aromas Is Bold, Vibrant and Imaginative

From building a new identity to re-branding, the brand is going to go a long way. ParfumPlus in conversation with Francis Pickthall, Director, CPL Aromas, where he talks about the company’s future vision and achievements to be unlocked…

“Bold, vibrant and imaginative,” he describes his family’s pride, CPL Aromas. Apart from being less bureaucratic than its competitors, the company is all set to introduce newer strategies to create a new identity and rebranding. Intriguing and refreshing, the conversation with Francis Pickthall.

ParfumPlus (PP): To begin with, let’s talk briefly about CPL aromas and how it came into existence.

Francis Pickthall (FP): Contemporary Perfumers ltd was founded by Michael and Terry Pickthall back in 1971 though the Pickthall family had been involved in the fragrance industry for many years before that as both my Grandfather and Great Grandfather worked as creative perfumers in the industry. My father Terry, something of an entrepreneur and a chartered accountant by profession, proposed that he and his brother Michael, a senior perfumer for IFF in New York, pool the family’s expertise and found a new British
fragrance house.

PP: How would you describe the growth of CPL globally, as well as in Dubai? We see that CPL has currently rebranded. Please elaborate on this new launch/initiative and what is the strategy behind creating a new identity and re-branding, and what do you plan
to achieve?

FP: Today we are the largest, fragrance only, fragrance house in the world employing over 500 full time staff with operations in 17 countries worldwide.. Today we have a growing reputation in prestige fragrances and we felt that it was time to freshen up our look hence the re-branding.

We have close links to the world of fashion so our new look makes the connection between the world of fine fragrance and fashion evident in the beautiful new imagery employed in our new corporate identity. This new look is a more accurate representation of the CPL Aromas of today which I would describe as bold, vibrant and imaginative.

PP: Any challenges you faced during the rebranding process?

FP: It was vitally important to engage with our employees to understand their views on how they felt we should portray and communicate the CPL message globally. Whilst there was clearly an appetite for change we didn’t want to make unnecessary or unwanted changes. We have a great reputation for delivering outstanding customer service with our customers and we wanted clients to understand that we are the same CPL with the same great service but with a new fresh and
bold message.

PP: What is the core principal of the company? How do you choose your clients? Your perfumers?

FP: Our Mission is to be our key customers’ first choice for fragrance. We don’t target everyone and are therefore selective in how we approach clients. We want to work with customers to whom we can make a difference to and deliver great customer service rather than try to be all things to all people.

PP: What are the distinguishing factors that set CPL aromas apart from others in the category?

FP: The fact that we are a fragrance only fragrance house enables us to focus entirely on our passion for creating outstanding fragrances. This is linked to an appreciation of what is happening in the world of fashion that is often so influential on the world of fragrances. We are 100% family owned and as a result less bureaucratic than many of our competitors.

PP: To what depths do you go to get the raw materials that you need for your products? 

FP: Quality and reliability of supply have always been essential in sourcing raw materials but these days it is becoming increasingly important to assure ourselves and our clients that ingredients come from a sustainable source and that they are harvested in an environmentally responsible manner.

CPL perfumers have access to a range of captive ingredients that allow us to develop truly unique fragrances that no other fragrance house can obtain. Aromafusion has been developed by CPL Aromas to offer fine fragrance clients creations that are truly innovative and unavailable elsewhere. The Aromafusion product list currently extends to a range of 10 specialty captive ingredients that can be found in some of the most exclusive fragrance brands.

PP: Your personal opinion on natural and synthetic ingredients? Modern perfumery wouldn’t exist without synthetics.

FP: It is a common misconception that synthetic ingredients are cheap when in fact some of the most precious perfumery raw materials are synthetic molecules and are used in some of the most expensive fine fragrances. The truth is that modern perfumery needs both natural and synthetic products and there are many fragrance areas where natural ingredients simply cannot be replaced nor should they be.

PP: How do you envision the future of luxury perfumes/ fine fragrances?

FP: The trend of celebrity fragrances seems to be fading as consumers are switched off by the profusion of launches with their clichéd marketing and products that are less than creative in nature. Instead clients continue to be attracted by niche producers who offer true innovation with the allure of making the consumer feel special albeit at a higher price.

PP: How involved are you in the day to day operations?

FP: I and the other family members are intimately involved in the day to day running of the company and travel frequently to our operations throughout the world meeting with colleagues to discuss how we can improve our service to clients. Based in Dubai I am responsible for Group Marketing and Branding but maintain a keen interest in sales, product development and innovation.

PP: Have you created any fragrance yourself? Can you transport us back to that experience?

FP: I am a perfumer by training and spent much of my early career in the company working as a creative perfumer in the UK where I was fortunate to have worked with Michael Pickthall and Robert Calkin. During this time I worked on some important projects for the company and can claim to have created the men’s fragrance Racquets by Penhaligons.

PP: CPL aromas is almost 50 years old, and it continues to be a family run business? What are the advantages/ disadvantages of a family run business? What is that one common thread/ feature/ element  that binds you all as perfumers ? What about value clashes in the family? How do you get that solved?

FP: I think the key is that we all retain a passion for the business. The family members involved in the running of the company all have very distinct and separate roles within the organisation and for nearly 50 years the family has run a successful and happy company so I suppose that is evidence enough of a harmonious relationship.

As a family business we can be flexible as decisions are taken quickly. We believe that it is also an advantage to be able to focus on establishing the right long term strategy for the business rather than concentrating on the short term need of maximizing profits which is often the case for some of our competitors.