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A Sweet Smell of Success

One woman turned a family business into an international sensation.

Vital Stats Jacquelyn Tran, 30, of Perfume Bay in Huntington Beach, California
Company An e-tailer of fragrances and beauty products
Projected2007 sales $18.5 million

Next Generation By all measures, Jacquelyn Tran's mom and dad had achieved the ultimate success. Emigrating from Vietnam in 1980, they soon secured a small spot in the U.S. marketplace with the opening of their fragrance store in 1987. One location grew to three, and before long, customers were flocking there from all corners of the world. But mom and dad's success was only a springboard for Tran. In 1999, she took their basic concept to new heights by selling perfume and beauty products online, thereby securing a place of her own in the global marketplace.

Sensory Overload Working at an early age with customers and vendors in merchandising and retailing armed Tran, and established business partnerships helped her. But going online presented a host of new challenges. "I just had to throw myself in there and learn," she says. Through extensive research and trial and error she learned how to fill orders, collect money and allocate online advertising dollars.

Growth Squirt Once she mastered the internet, Tran started using its selling power as her own. "Our strategy is to offer a unique selection for our customers," says Tran, who specializes in discontinued and hard-to-find items.

Au Naturel Tran currently sits atop an internet-based empire that ships to nearly every country and features more than 1,000 unique brands--all while making the entire operation look effortless. In 2004, she opened her first brick-and-mortar store, which offers facial, hair-care and nail services. This past September, she launched the company's first direct-mail catalog, and early next year the business will expand into a larger warehouse facility with a retail showroom.

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This article was originally published in the December 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Global Scents.

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