Norwich business helps you smell better than Beyonce

From Beyonce to Britney and Jennifer Aniston to, errr, Josie from Big Brother, anyone who is anyone has their own perfume. EMMA LEE follows in their footsteps and creates her own signature scent.

Did you find Jennifer Aniston in your Christmas stocking? Or Katy Perry, maybe? This festive season it seems like more celebrities than ever put their name to a perfume. It's official, anybody who's anybody has their own signature scent.

Although it's a comparatively new sector, celebrity fragrances have proved to be highly lucrative for the perfume houses.

No longer is it enough to have a famous face associated with your brand (blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe famously declared that the only thing she wore to bed was Chanel No 5). Now they are the brand.

This Christmas another host of celebrities got in on the act, with Dannii Minogue, Beyonce and, err, Big Brother 11 winner Josie Gibson (to be fair, some of the money from her scent did go to the charity Look Good Feel Better) joining a roll-call of A-to-Z-listers who have their own fragrance including the Beckhams, Kylie, Kate Moss, Gwen Stefani and Katie Price.

If Beyonce's debut fragrance Heat is her personality in a bottle, then, crikey, she's one feisty lady.

And more are set to join them – pop diva Rihanna's Reb'l Fleur will be on counters this spring and Lady Gaga is developing her own fragrance line – hopefully she won't use her infamous meat dress as inspiration.

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And if celebs aren't creating their own perfume, they're advertising it. Keira Knightley, Audrey Tautou and Nicole Kidman have all starred in campaigns for Chanel,

And Oscar front-runner Natalie Portman, currently wowing audiences in the ballet melodrama Black Swan, is the new face of Miss Cherie Dior.

Perfume is certainly big business. In the 1980s, the era of the 'blockbuster' scent like Poison, Jazz and LouLou, around 20 new fragrances were launched. Now hundreds are launched every year, with the hope that one of them could become a timeless classic like Chanel No 5, which was first launched in 1921 and Nina Ricci's L'Air Du Temps which arrived in 1948.

But having your own signature scent isn't just the preserve of the rich and famous.

Dale Evans runs the Perfume Studio at Hethersett. There the beauty expert helps clients design their own fragrance from 18 blends specially created by a master perfumer.

She has worked in the beauty industry for 20 years. As well as the Perfume Studio, she offers CACI non-surgical face lifts, facials, permanent make-up and tattoo removal.

'It's really popular for film stars and pop stars to make their own perfumes,' says Dale. 'We have people making signature scents for their wedding or hen night groups.'

And it's not just for the girls – men can design their own fragrance too.

Perfume is the ultimate accessory and can really make you stand out in a crowd. The ultimate fashion faux pas is turning up to an event in the same outfit as someone else – and Dale says that many of her clients want to create a perfume that is unique to them as well as emulate their favourite celebrities. Like clothes, some scents go in and out of fashion – and she notices that some scents appeal to certain age groups, such as younger people tending to like vanilla and fruity notes.

First comes the science bit. Fragrances are made up of top, middle and base 'notes', which are blended together.

Explaining the difference between them Dale says: 'The base notes stay on your skin until you wash it off. The middle notes last between six and eight hours and the top notes about two hours. The top notes disappear quite quickly – that's why you think you like a perfume and then find you don't like it as much as you did,' she says.

Then, nose at the ready, it's time to get sniffing.

The process takes about an hour, and as well as making a 20ml eau de parfum, which comes in a sparkly atomiser and presentation box, you can name your fragrance and enter into the Perfume Studio's perfume hall of fame.

Your nose can only differentiate between about three fragrances at a time, so it's important not to wear perfume on the day of the consultation.

Like with wine tasting, where you cleanse the palette every so often between sampling, in the case of perfume making, smelling coffee beans works a treat.

The first job is to eliminate the fragrances you definitely don't like. You can go for a blend of all 18 if you like, but that might be a bit of a heady brew.

'Your sense of smell is rather under-used,' says Dale. To make sure that decisions about the scents are made on aroma alone, she doesn't tell you their names to avoid influencing you and recommends that you test them with your eyes closed.

The scents were divided up into three piles – the definite nos, the maybes and the yeses.

I am a fan of fruity, fresh fragrances like Benefit's Maybe Baby and DKNY's Be Delicious, so I immediately ruled out the heavier, more masculine notes.

After the first round, it was time to work out what I liked. To do this, Dale took my 'yeses', then swapped the 'maybes' in and out one by one to see what difference it made. By this time my nose was getting attuned and I was able to give an instant yes or no to each.

My signature scent consisted of three base notes (so it will be super long-lasting) – balsamic, woody and musky, with two middle notes of rose floral and ozonic. My nose also chose two top notes, citrus and aldeydic – the latter, Dale says, is used by Chanel in its iconic No 5.

The verdict when I returned to the office was that my scent was 'better than Beyonce's'.

That's what I call the sweet smell of success.

Consultations for one to two people at the Perfume Studio, Hethersett, cost �50 per person. Group bookings and Perfume Studio gift vouchers are also available.

For more information phone 07921 367910, visit or e-mail