Dream Job: Nose

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: January 18, 2012

Beautiful? Brilliant? Bathing? Though he won't disclose what the B stands for, the secret of Philip B. is Botanicals. This 37-year-old, self-described medicine man turns ordinary and extraordinary ingredients into deliciously scented luxury liquids for hair and body.

As an aspiring hair expert, Philip suffered a childhood injury chasing the cat down the stairs for a "haircut." By 14 he was already working at a salon, and it wasn't long before his name started gaining recognition. But it wasn't enough.

"I wanted to live in LA and be a hairdresser to the stars," he said. With two twenty-dollar bills in his pocket and a one-way ticket to California, Philip moved to Los Angeles and began developing a network of clients.

The view from the hairdresser's station compelled Philip to develop natural alternatives. "What any hairdresser notices is the condition of the hair and scalp of each client. People spend their entire existence cleaning their hair with water and detergents. You would never treat your face like that, so why treat your hair like that? There was no quality option available in the world of liquid haircare. It was all the same product in different bottles."

Philip soon developed a line of luxury products that treat the scalp and hair with botanicals he hand-picks from all over the world. "We need botanicals," he said. "Plants are medicine."

The mysterious ingredients both heal and appeal to the customer's olfactory sense. "It is not aromatherapy, it is aroma therapy. Two words," said Philip, whose focus is what's in the bottle rather than on the packaging. "Scents have always intrigued me. I get inspired from the healing magic of chai spices. I use elements of the earth and bring plants from all over the world and boil them down to make my own concentrate." People with this sophisticated ability to mix fragrances are called "noses."

These potions have names like African Shea Butter Shampoo, Scent of Santa Fe Shampoo, Thai Tea Body Wash, White Truffle Shampoo, Chai Latte Soul and Body Wash, and Shin Shine.

Dubbed the "Hair Guru," Philip loves to make people love their hair and get excited about his products. He has been known to drop everything and apply his treatments to someone he has just met while making an appearance at fragrance counter.

In the whirlwind that is Philip B., he somehow manages to run four businesses that support a very comfortable lifestyle with a home in Los Angeles and an apartment in Manhattan. He lives well, but takes pride in putting money back into the business.

"If I ever sell Philip B., that's when I'll make the money," he said. "I enjoy building the business."

While continuing to grow his haircare line, he has begun selling his products on cable television channel QVC with great success. Traditionally, luxury lines are sold at exclusive boutiques, but Philip believes "every woman deserves to be beautiful."

With Dr. Ava Shambon, Philip has opened the world's first scalp and hair treatment center in Santa Monica, California. Together they are also creating a line of skincare. "This will probably be the first time anyone has seen such a combination of eastern and western philosophy. Modern medicine meets highly active herbs. With everything that pollutes our skin these days, we need to evolve the way we treat it. With these new products, we are creating protective biospheres for the skin."

Philip says beauty is everywhere and individuals need to decide what is beautiful to them. He claims to be disheartened by people who get caught up in what is expected of them, rather than listening to what they really want to do.

"You have to have a dream and then translate it into reality. Passion persuades. Look at me. I wanted to live in LA and have fun 365 days a year. And I wanted to be a hairdresser to the stars." Glad to advise, he explains, "Find your passion, hook into it, do whatever you have to do to get there as fast as you can. Get there and start cultivating it and one day you'll do what I did and find that found your place. I've realized my dream."

For more information on Philip B. or to buy Philip B. products, visit www.philipb.com.