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The Smell of Success Figuring out where to save and how to bootstrap can mean the difference between the sweet smell of success and the bitter whiff of defeat.

By Amy Cosper

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Starting a company with nothing can be more intimidating than starting a company with millions. Fabrice Penot, the subject of this month's cover story, knows that better than anyone.

"If someone had given us $2 million to create Le Lebo, we would have spent it," he says. Penot really did start with pretty damn close to nothing: He built Le Labo, his perfume label, with little more than an idea and a lot of passion. Penot left the world of high-end retail perfume (bye-bye, Armani) to launch his own fragrance line with $30,000 in outside funding--an investment funded by a corporate bonus, a hocked car and a chorus of slammed doors.

Penot's dream of starting a perfume business was fueled by the same elements that have driven many aspiring entrepreneurs: corporate fatigue and a dream. After leaving the well-heeled, well-scented halls of Armani, Penot and his business partner, Eddie Roschi, launched their scent with a singular focus of creating product, not overhead. In a competitive $25 billion-a-year perfume industry, the two hit their stride taking on the rarefied airs--and rarefied marketing machines--of Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and myriad elite brands. But somehow Penot's unique product struck a chord with buyers, and in an economic market that largely frowned on luxury products, the $200-a-bottle label found its groove.

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