To mark its half century, UK fragrance house CPL Aromas reviews its recent successes and explains how it is ensuring future growth
Five decades ago, in 1971, brothers Michael and Terry Pickthall combined their talents of perfumery and accountancy and founded what was then known as Contemporary Perfumers Limited (now known as CPL Aromas).
Since starting as a UK-based company 50 years ago, CPL Aromas’ footprint has increased and now spans across the globe with 18 offices, five manufacturing plants and a team of 600+ employees; it has become the largest fragrance-only fragrance house in the world.
Still family-owned, CPL retains independence and a freedom that allows a truly creative working environment. This is echoed in the essence of CPL that comes down to one simple sentence, infusing happiness through scent. This is done through the company’s mission of bringing success to CPL customers through innovative fragrances, outstanding service and a human touch. To that end, it successfully combines the latest technologies in fragrance with a drive for sustainability.
“Sustainability has to be and is considered at CPL part and parcel of every decision we make,” said Emily Heron, Head of Sustainability at CPL. Sustainability is at the forefront of the company’s strategy and has been from the beginning with consistent work across four pillars: people, innovation, environment and sourcing.
Last year, in 2020, CPL celebrated the 20th year of supporting CAFOD (the Catholic association for overseas development), a charity that works in conflict areas providing aid, compassion and support to those who need it the most. When it comes to sustainability, it is all about collaboration and this continues with CPL’s responsible sourcing policy.
With such a large palette of raw materials to work with, CPL partners with suppliers to ensure sustainability is integrated into every area of the process and each supplier is audited accordingly.
CPL took things to the next level with the launch of EcoBoost combining innovation and sustainability. EcoBoost is a unique technology which allows customers to use a tenth of the standard fragrance dosage, saving in packaging, labelling and transport costs.
The company continues to innovate and has a dedicated R&D team that is fully focused on bringing the best innovations to CPL’s customers. Since launching AromaGuard, a malodour counteractant technology in the 90s, CPL has since launched AromaFusions, InsectaGuard, AromaCore and most recently AromaSpace, a unique combination of headspace technology paired with expert perfumery. CPL continues to innovate with sustainable trend sets to answer growing movements in the market driven by consumer demand. These include upcycled ingredients, 100% natural fragrances, biodegradable scents and ‘clean’ products.
CPL’s founders Michael and Terry Pickthall
Alongside innovations, creativity has made CPL Aromas what it is today. Several members of the Pickthall family, including the late Michael and Francis, were senior creative perfumers. This expertise has continued in the company under renowned Master Perfumer Christian Provenzano, who heads up the CPL perfumery team as Global Director of Perfumery. With over 50 years of experience in creating outstanding fragrances, his reputation for developing successful and original compositions shows how our perfumers can harness an idea and make it a scented reality.
“CPL is blessed to have a wonderful team of perfumers around the world with over 30 perfumers; creativity runs through the heart of every division at CPL and is reflected in any position and any role,” said Nick Pickthall, CPL Aromas’ COO.
The human touch at CPL Aromas is seen in its ‘Ingredients for Success’: Quality, Responsibility, Sustainable Mindset, Independence and Family Pride. These values drive every employee’s actions, every day. Although spread around the globe, the company works as one global team with a common set of culture and values that brings the company together and where the word family really resonates.
“For me the family of CPL is every single employee who works on it, with over 600 people at CPL spread across the globe in most countries, they are the family, they are the team and I’m so proud that so many people at CPL have been with us for so many years. The family continues to get stronger and bigger each year,” commented Chris Pickthall, CEO.
From the Far East to Latin America, Europe to India, CPL Aromas has local operations accessible to all its customers. Each division has autonomy and brings its own flair to the global company – and having that local knowledge that can be tapped into is essential for the growth of CPL.
To celebrate how far CPL has come and its 50 years in the fragrance industry, some big changes have been made to the brand with a new brand identity, a refreshing new set of brand guidelines and a new website. These assets reflect the growth of CPL and the importance of a sustainable mindset.
Today’s leaders Chris and Nick Pickthall
It began with a new tagline, ‘Let’s Create Together’, which reflects CPL’s essence. The new look followed, which features what the company calls ‘the Playful Square’ – a play on CPL Aromas’ logo. By literally thinking outside of the box, the Playful Square effortlessly brings innovation and simplicity to mind, while still highlighting the messages that matter. This refreshed brand purposefully retains the solid foundations that the company has built its success on: customer service, independence and family pride.
Chris and Nick Pickthall, the current CEO and COO of CPL Aromas and sons of its co-founder Terry, said: “What an honour and a challenge to lead this company and this team in such an important anniversary. Throughout these first five decades, we have partnered with our customers and have provided them with unique sustainable solutions, whenever possible. Together with the rest of our leadership team and employees, we can’t wait to continue creating with our customers.”
Since the beginning, CPL Aromas has remained long-term focused and free to innovate sustainably. The first 50 years of the company were full of adventure, learnings and growth. As CPL Aromas looks to the next 50 years, the future looks very bright ahead.