CEW was delighted to welcome Valerie Kaminov of Miller Harris to discuss the international beauty industry and the changing role of boutique fragrance. Having worked with an array of international beauty brands over the past 20 years, Valerie was approached by Miller Harris 17 times over five years before she finally decided to venture into boutique fragrance and take the helm of the British perfumer. Not a typical foray into the beauty industry, French-born Valerie started selling helicopters and black boxes to the Japanese army before following her father’s footsteps into the family delicatessen business. Her instinctive salesmanship transformed the business and she was soon supplying corporate gifts for big business and hoteliers, which led her to fragrance and a role with Aromatique Inc. the leading American home decorative fragrance house. Setting herself specific missions and goals, Valerie’s prowess earned her a reputation with major players in the industry who hired her to establish them globally. Calling herself the Nanny McPhee of international beauty, Valerie was a trusted advisor to luxury, premium and niche beauty and fragrance brands like REN Skincare, Penhaligon’s, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Elemis, Organic Surge and more. Having turned down the offer 16 times, Valerie agreed to join Miller Harris for two weeks to see what she made of the company. Nine months later, she’s still there. With growth in the niche fragrance market seriously outpacing fragrances overall, she sees a huge opportunity for Miller Harris, one of the few remaining independent brands in the sector. Doing incredible things in her short tenure, Valerie pushed the limits of new product development and ensured the release of two hugely successful new fragrance launches. While Valerie wouldn’t reveal the finer details, she has been credited with a 56% increase in international turnover that the production team simply couldn’t keep up with. She has helped Miller Harris expand into travel retail and develop new store concepts at the International but sees product development as the key to longevity and future growth. As for Valerie, she’s going to keep on doing what she does best and will continue adding significant input and value as a Board member and Independent Advisor. Her expertise in brand evaluation, acquisition due diligence, risk assessment and commercial growth has been highly valued by Private Equity Funds, multi-national organisations and financial investors. She is also dedicated to passing her knowledge along to the next generation through a range of conferences and events and will be seeking out her next mission soon in Change management, transformation projects or exit strategies.