As a young teenager growing up in the Bronx, (a borough of New York City), my best day was a Saturday when I would take the subway “downtown’ to 59th Street and Lexington Avenue and enter Bloomingdale’s and meander through the aisles and byways of its enormous perfume department.
Spritzing myself as I went along with all varieties of scents and potions, dabbing creams and lotions on any available part of the body. I was struck back then by the power of fragrance to evoke a memory or to conjure up visions of beauty and fantasy. The whiff of a scent with all its beautiful imagery and packaging, crystal bottles and elixir most powerfully could paint a picture, create a melody and, most amazingly, take me to another place. Little could I have dreamed that a decade later (1974-1987), I would be in charge of the country’s largest purveyor of scents, 25 blocks south and a few blocks west at Herald Square as Macy’s fragrance buyer. That is where I met and began my great friendship with the indefatigable and unstoppable Annette Green.
Annette Green and her life story in the realm of scents is a love story and a story of dreams coming true. How one woman took her passion for perfume and love of an industry, added courage, determination, drive and enormous talent and wit, and helped move it forward to today’s global world of fragrance. An industry that was in its nascent stage of development, which consisted of disparate worlds of individual fragrance companies, many French and privately held, manufacturers, essential oil houses, perfumeries, department stores and marketing agencies. Annette helped to transform these powerful components and harmonize their efforts to work together for a bigger vision. She influenced how companies thought about products and marketing activities, visual display and education, focusing them to look both inward and outward. Annette dreamed big. She saw endless possibilities for this most powerful and elusive of the senses, the sense of smell.
She developed her own sixth sense to imagine what could be. Annette recognized the art of perfume making, scent, imagery and packaging creation and connected that creativity with science and olfactory experimentation and its outcomes: healing, ambience, mood creation and emotional well-being that fragrance can provide. She connected the dots with the commercial aspects of the business and engagement of consumers, taking them on the journey. Annette understood early that the experiences that are created at counters or on websites or in museums are what peak people’s interest, and never more than now.
Spritzing to Success captures the names and faces of the times, the trends and changes in our society and early development of branding. In many ways, fragrance marketing and branding has been interpreted by other industries, along with the language and processes that were constructed over the last several decades in perfume launches.
Annette was at the forefront of developing a framework for the industry. She brought the worlds of theatre, art, film, science, and technology to the party. She helped the Foundation establish the guardrails of what constitutes success, through the FiFi’s, the symposiums, the conferences, museum exhibitions and consumer educational events.
Annette is a force of nature. She has the determination, drive and persuasive powers and tenacity not to give up the dream. Spritzing to Success is inspiring as an American true grit story. As Leonard Lauder often says, “If you don’t see the future, you will never get there.”
Annette’s book brought me right back to that Bloomingdale’s counter, spritzing myself with the wonder and beauty of it all. Once more I fell in love with this amazing world of scents, and being in awe of the woman who made so many dreams come true.
Rose Marie Bravo
Former Chief Executive, Burberry (1997–2006)
Former President of Saks Fifth Avenue (1992–1997)