Hubert Burda Media

Lydia Lim: Scents and Sensaura

The 25-year-old has successfully grown her fragrance business, thanks to her attention to detail and a nose for what works.

It is only 10 minutes into our meeting with Lydia Lim and already we can tell just how single-minded and goal-oriented this young entrepreneur is. She knows exactly how she wants her make-up and hair done; the outfit that’ll look best for the camera; and the angles that will accentuate her features. This attention to detail applies across all aspects of her life — including business.

“You have to know what you want and be focused on your goal,” says the 25-year-old managing director of Sensaura, a unique branding agency that employs sensorial stimuli — such as sound, smell and taste — to help build emotional connections between clients and their target audiences. Founded in 2007, the firm’s signature service is developing scents for clients as part of their brand identity.

Lim was first acquainted with the US-founded company when she started working there upon graduation from the University of Nevada with a Bachelor of Science. In 2011, when the opportunity to buy over the firm presented itself, she didn’t need to think twice.

“I had a good feeling about it. And my dad has always reminded me that instinct is very important,” she says of her father Lim How Teck, who sits on a number of company boards. “Even though things were tough at first, I pushed on, met more people, fronted sales pitches and so here we are,” says Lim, who later went on to complete her Master’s degree in Business Administration at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Université Paris-Dauphine. No longer wet behind the ears, she counts international banks and automobile companies as part of her clientele. 

Entrepreneurship has taught me…to mature faster, become more grateful and methodological with my undertakings.

At work, I am…bossy and very serious. You hardly hear me break out in laughter. I like things done my way and at my speed, which is fast and faster. Of course, it helps to be polite and lead by example.

When it comes to scents for a space…I tend to favour gourmand sweet scents with notes such as blackcurrant, figs, sweet peas and lilies. This is largely influenced by living in a place with a tropical climate and in a home surrounded with lush greenery.

My personal scents…vary greatly depending on my outfit, mood and time of day. For mornings, I love a little bit of citrus and for nights, I like some vanilla with a stronger base and sometimes a little spice. My favourites include Rancé, Annick Goutal and Gucci.

I am inspired by…the beauty in people. Mainly friends and family who have shown me love and support through the years.