Bitten by the perfume bug several years ago, and tired of the ups and downs of corporate life, François Damide decided to create a one-man enterprise that helps make the dreams of would-be scent-makers come true. Not a movie star or Justin Bieber-level recording artist? No problem. François specializes in connecting the dots to perfumers/package designers/manufacturers who are happy to work on a much smaller scale.

And in 2010, François created Crafting Beauty with the vision of creating a finished perfume for small brands.

“I realized I didn’t need a boss anymore, that I was a big boy now,” he said, recalling his two decades at the U.S. helm of two of France’s most influential textile manufacturers; a year as president of the fashion firm Lela Rose; and most recently at Arthes, the Grasse-based perfume company behind the Jean Arthes and Smiley scents.

“The big guys like Michael Kors, for instance, they all have licensing agreements. They don’t need me. But what about the small-tier? The medium-tier? If they’re dreaming of their own scent, where do they go? It’s almost ‘Mission Impossible.'”

François’s first project, a pair of unisex scents created by fashion photographer Christophe Jouany, speaks to the niche nature of this new venture. Dubbed Saint Barthelemy and Marrakech, the 50-ml EDP’s pay tribute to two of Jouany’s favorite shoot locations. They retail for $125, are sold in 15 doors (including Henri Bendel), as well as on, and were nominated for a FiFi Award. And as per the Crafting Beauty guidelines, Jouany purchased 1,000 units of each scent – a fraction of the order for a scent by, say, Taylor Swift.

While he can’t fully disclose his next projects, François said he’s in talks with several B-level celebrities, and “I’m not saying that in a pejorative way. But the top-level celebrities, the household names, have no problem. Everyone is contacting them, Coty, Estée Lauder.”

François added that thanks to the Internet, his clients automatically have a place to sell their little 1,000-unit fragrance runs and to do it at their own pace, without the retail pressure of besting their numbers from the previous year. In other words, it’s a whole new world out there. They can test their concept for about $25,000, said François.

It’s affordable, and the return can be fantastic. “With all due respect to department stores, you don’t really need that middleman.”