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The fragrance division of MANE Germany in Hamburg has built its success on marketing expertise paired with a highly focussed sales team, while capitalising on the strengths of its parent company’s outstanding creative forces.

With several leading consumer goods companies based in the area over the years, the port city of Hamburg is an ideal location for MANE’s fragrance division in Germany. Operating from the leafy, central district of Harvestehude since 2007, the division is purely a sales and marketing operation, combining regional teams and global account managers. A largely separate activity in the Hamburg office is devoted to ingredients sales to other fragrance and flavour producers, part of a global trade in raw materials.

“In terms of geography, our territory covers Germany, Switzerland and the Benelux countries,” explains General Manager and Sales Director Guenter Wohlmannstetter. “While our global account teams travel each year to the United States, Central/South America and Asia to serve our multinational customers.”

There is close collaboration and support from the Group’s fragrance development teams in Le Bar-Sur-Loup, while experts from France regularly accompany the sales team in Germany on top client visits. By working together, the two sides are able to identify the precise areas where a German touch is needed. “When it comes to developing shampoos and in particular shower gels, the fruity, more exotic fragrances tend to be popular here,” says Guenter Wohlmannstetter. “But otherwise, consumer preferences here are similar to those in the rest of Western Europe.”

From personal to household care

In terms of products, the team operates in a fragrance market with two main segments. About 75% of the activity is in ‘head-to-toe’ personal care, covering:

  • hair care
  • skin care
  • toiletries
  • toothpaste.

The remaining 25% is provided by fragrances for household goods, such as:

  • air fresheners
  • surface cleaners
  • dishwasher liquids
  • laundry products, including both detergents and fabric softeners.

Growth in the air freshener segment is particularly strong in the Germany, driven by the increasingly popularity of reed diffusers and scented candles.

Like the MANE Group in general, growth has certainly been a feature of the fragrance division in Germany over the past decade. “Since I joined in 2009, our sales have multiplied by a factor of nearly five and by next year the number of employees has more than doubled,” says Guenter Wohlmannstetter. “And it’s all down to the people we have been able to attract and retain, because fragrance is still a people-to-people industry and product - it’s not a commodity business. We’re in a very subjective, emotional sector of activity, so individual skill sets, personalities and above all, passion are key.”

The value of marketing skills

In terms of the different skill sets, he sees marketing as the division’s key strength – and a major focus of its resources in terms of personnel and investment. In return, those efforts have enabled the teams not only to retain existing clients but to win new accounts, with a leading European candle manufacturer being one of those successes.

“We carried out a comprehensive survey for Europe, identifying the current market and key consumer trends, and suggested new fragrance products that could be developed to reflect those trends,” Guenter Wohlmannstetter recalls. That in-depth marketing expertise, coupled with MANE’s reputation for fragrance development, led to his team being chosen – despite the division having had no prior contact with the client.

Beyond the workplace, the teams in Hamburg also share the company’s commitment to social responsibility and helping others. Money is donated to charities and a local children’s hospice, for example, while cleaning materials are regularly sourced from a local workshop for blind people. For their part, members of staff have volunteered for fundraising runs for charities.

In recent years, the division and its employees have also responded to spontaneous crises including:

  • collections for refugees arriving in Germany from the Middle East and Africa
  • donations during the floods in Germany in 2021
  • help for families fleeing Ukraine.

This sense of belonging is also reflected in the way staff view their employer. Several of them have been with MANE for more than 30 years, while younger recruits who were hired in their early 20s a decade ago are still with the company today. “There’s a great deal of loyalty and the atmosphere is excellent,” says Guenter Wohlmannstetter. “People share their knowledge and experience with each other, and are always ready to help a colleague. There’s a real sense of being a team.”