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Adding the right scent, in the right way, to add to the customer experience
Of the five senses, smell is perhaps the most unappreciated in the fields of marketing and advertising. While great advances have been made in crafting visually appealing and persuasive messages, little attention has been paid to the role that smell can play in persuasion and in the customer service experience.
David Martin saw an opportunity in the area of fragrance marketing and launched Fragrance Technologies in Orlando, Florida in 1997. Orlando is home to Disneyworld and is a major tourist destination. Naturally, the new company found its first customers in the hospitality industry in and around the Orlando area. Its biggest customer became the Disney corporation, which used Fragrance Technologies in its resorts.
With customers, such as Disney, Fragrance Technologies saw rapid growth in its first three years. Martin brought on Forest Fleming as CEO, to help expand the company to new markets. Sensing an opportunity on the west coast, Fleming moved the company to Santa Barbara, California. The company continued innovating and acquiring customers mainly in the hospitality industry.
In 2000, Fragrance Technologies changed its name to ScentAir. In the same year, the company launched its first fragrance delivery system, the ScentBlitz. By 2001, the company had placed its scent delivery systems in over 1,000 establishments. The same year, ScentAir expanded into the healthcare industry with the installation of a system in the MRI section of Celebration Health in Florida.
The company continued innovating and developing new products throughout the early 2000s. The innovation would be critical in helping the company expand to new areas where scent technologies have never been used. In 2002, the ScentWave delivery system was introduced. In 2003, Macy’s became a client and brought ScentAir technologies to its department store.
In 2004, the company was bought by Alerion Partners, a private equity firm. In the same year, the company moved its head office to Charlotte, North Carolina. At the time of acquisition, ScentAir only had five employees. Today the company has over 400 employees. In 2007, ScentAir expanded internationally, adding 10 distributors worldwide within two years. By 2010, the company had over 26 international distributors. Given the enormous market for fragrance products and the low cost of scaling up, ScentAir continues to grow exponentially as a company.
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