When it comes to building a luxury beauty brand and a world-class range of products, I think Tammy Frazer got a genetic head-start on the rest of us. Her late Grandfather was the great Graham Wulff who founded and built up, with his partner, Oil of Olay, before selling it globally to Richardson Vicks (now Proctor & Gamble), whilst her Father worked at Givaudan – the leading global Fragrance House. After studying her Communication Masters in Australia, Tammy returned to South Africa and began life as a Master perfumer, building her own brand of exclusively African, hand-made, natural organic perfumes – Frazer Parfum, as well as applying her craft as a bespoke creator of natural fragrances for high net-worth individuals and corporate clients all around the world. As a typical entrepreneur she has used her vocation to shape her own future, provide jobs, support farmers and showcase what Africa has to give to the rest of the world. I caught up with Tammy in her lab earlier this week and got the chance to go a bit deeper, grabbing insight into just what her life-story and life-philosophy actually are:
My Definition Of Success | I feel like I am not there yet! This is the way I think all entrepreneurs view the present because they are always seeing the vision, always looking to the future to achieve more. Lately though, I’ve enjoyed having the discipline to spend more time perfecting the ideas I have.
I Am Driven By | I love the creative idea. Coming up with something and then researching how it can be executed is so exciting. The cleverness of design, the purity of concept. And having big dreams.
I think my ‘MAGIC’ comes from | I’ve always felt that everyone’s X factor is like a finger print and can’t be repeated so there is no need for competition, just awe in what humans can do. I’m fascinated by little details: the way someone might have a mannerism when they laugh or the taste of a micro clover leaf on my tongue. That obsession with the human condition is what makes me curious and drives me forward….. which can turn into magic sometimes.
The Difference Between good And Great | Certain things to certain people are effortless. Almost as graceful as seeing Federer serve – which I’ll never forget at the Melbourne Cup tennis final. If you find your ‘calling’ it becomes you and the opportunities with that natural ease are attractive to others, which builds on success.
A Key Talent | Will. I keep at it. And when times are hard, I am able to find something in my work that becomes a renewed passion which makes me fall in love with it all over again. It can even be a simple re-framing of something I’m struggling with, so the struggle is still there but I look at it differently.
The Characteristics Of Success | It can also be my hurdle, but I’m a doer. So rather than just thinking about something and hoping it may happen, or waiting on someone else to act, no task is too small for me to get done. I’ve found over and over again, that something great happens when you meet with someone face to face. If I make the effort to be the one to drive out to my box maker in person the conversation is richer and the product development is better for it.
Principles I Live By | As I grow up I’m learning that respect for people is key but compassion is everything. You never know what the other person is going through.
Critical Skills I Develop | I’m trying to remain focused on what I’ve already developed rather than wanting to create, change and update. Newness can be about taking a product or offering and showcasing it to a new audience.
How I Use My Mind | I know I need time out to inspire me. I call it pyjama Monday and it’s a day for no phone calls or admin work but rather for my mind to follow ideas, learn something new. You never know how someone else’s story may inspire or influence you. Especially in a different genre. I’m obsessed with tech company growth, so I stream CEO and founder interviews in the background while I work in the lab.
Lessons I Have Learnt | Sometimes it can take years to actually understand some of the advice I’ve been given. I’d heard it before that the move to taking on commercial clients can change the shape of your business but I didn’t actually know what that meant until I lived through it. The burden it put on my business and figuring out how to work to scale. It made me completely reassess the business model and to scrutinize what works and what doesn’t and adjust the model accordingly.
Dealing With Doubt | I’m quite lucky in that I am sensitive underneath but I have quite a thick skin. Not often do I dwell on these thoughts and, if I do, the creative in me quickly comes up with a plan!
Performing At My Peak | I’m not and I don’t. I recognize that I need to work in a more stop-start way. That is my flow that fuels good results. I like to work under pressure closer to deadlines and in advance I spend a lot of time free thinking.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | People. I watch a lot of You Tube interviews on founders and CEOs and I have a huge fascination for tech companies. My inspirations are Whitney Wolfe Herd (Bumble), Marissa Mayer (Yahoo), Susan Wojcicki (YouTube), Kevin Systrom and Mike Krueger (Instagram).
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | Even though it’s been 11 years, I feel like it’s just the beginning. It’s time now to perfect all the messy hard work I’ve done to date and polish it up into a proper commercial proposition, and that for me means going retail. Touching my customers directly, controlling the narrative and delivering service excellence while being the best at what I do – not many can say their fragrances are safe and pure.
Balancing high performance with with happiness and contentment | Whether right or wrong I link happiness with financial freedom and when I have that I am able to be more content.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | CEO of UnionSwiss Justin Letchert once told me: ” It’s the journey and the growth of the business that I should enjoy. Once you’ve “made it” you will look back and relish the journey, with all it’s hurdles and struggles.”
Advice On Building Wealth | If you’re a creative, partner with an accountant. I see so many company heads who live and breath the figures. Numbers should guide decision making, while not compromising on the creative.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | A strong stable empire for our children to continue on.