My clients amaze me.
The kinds of people who seek me out for custom fragrances usually have one particular thing in common - they have paved an unconventional path through life. The artists, musicians, writers, scientists, and executives I’ve designed scents for all share a visionary outlook on their world and a deep desire to differentiate themselves from the fashionable masses. They are trendsetters not followers, with strong aesthetic preferences and interests.
Some of my clients have come to me with rich olfactory memories of specific places they wish to experience again; the baked rafters of a sunlit library, the grassy sweet snap of a summer-ripe tomato garden. Others have craved more curious and even unknowable fragrances - the waft of a plastic dinghy adrift on the Pacific Ocean, an ozonic sunset on Mars. Such requests may present unique challenges, but the opportunity to create something so beautifully evocative is one of my greatest pleasures as a perfumer.
I like to begin this work by developing an understanding of the role fragrance plays in my client’s life. Some people want their scent to be bold, to announce their singular presence and then linger behind when they exit a room. Others prefer to wear their perfume close to the skin, like an intimate garment. Some people love the earthy familiarity of all-natural fragrances while others like the imaginative complexity of mixed-media perfumes.
No matter how loud or gentle, simple or elaborate the fragrance is, I always begin by sourcing materials with sustainability first and foremost in my mind. Thousands of medicinal and aromatic plant species are threatened with extinction worldwide from habitat destruction and over-harvesting, many of those, such as vanilla, are already facing depletion as the demand for essential oils continues to increase. That is why I feel so strongly that people who work with botanicals, like myself, should be held accountable for ensuring our materials are sourced responsibly and should also consider using more sustainable alternatives such as lab-derived aromatic molecules whenever possible. I appreciate that these environmental values are also important to my clients.
My wise clients know that the luxuriously high-quality fragrances I lovingly craft for them are both beneficial for their spirits and low-impact for our planet and its inhabitants - because true beauty is cruelty-free, ethical, and environmentally conscious. I’m thankful for the good fortune to get to collaborate with such evolved people as my part of artistic process.