The International Perfume Foundation (IPF) recently launched a Directory for Certified Natural
Perfumers worldwide. The Directory is the first step in responding to a growing number of
questions consumers have been asking about the contents of perfumes and the importance of
natural products in their lives.
Hi Teone, Where are you based?
In Brisbane, Australia, right in the middle of the city.
How did you start? What was the first scent that made you decide to become a perfumer? When was that ?
Living and growing up in Australia, I didn’t have access to any sophisticated French perfume houses, nor the means to educate myself on perfume beyond the advice of department store sales assistants and a few great dames I knew who had a lot to say about their fragrant favourites. When I was a teenager in the 80’s I was gifted with a full tester bottle of Diorissimo and its notes were listed on the bottle. Being completely ignorant of any of the methods by which fragrances were composed, and unaware of any kind of grand culture associated with perfumery, (this was before the internet was at my disposal) it was like a very bright light came on. Suddenly I had an incredible desire to get my hands on the raw ingredients to make my own Diorissimo. I saved up and Imanaged to buy Dioressence, Diorella, Miss Dior and Eau Sauvage, because, at the time I found Dior’s fragrances so compelling, they were simply fragrant works of art that my brain wanted to understand. I really didn’t have the maturity to comprehend Chanel’s fragrances in any real way at the time, all the women I knew that wore No5 did so because they’d bought into the exclusivity hype, but in my opinion, they didn’t have the ‘presence’ to carry it very well. I added to my collection: Rive Gauche, L’air du Temps, Fidji, Joy and a whole cupboard full of hippie market perfume oils with intense rose and other super-sweet and pungent floral/resin combinations. I played with combinations ofthese and layered them. It was fascinating. All those aldehydes…
You are a natural perfumer, so when did you make the choice to become a natural perfumer instead of following the majority of the brands making synthetic perfumes. What led you to make this choice?
The choice for me was pragmatic and not so much driven by a passion for human health concerns or environmental integrity. In my 30s I studied aromatherapy and practiced clinically for several years. I understood the chemistry and the application of using essential oils for maintaining and repairing the general well-being of my family and for treating the conditions that my clients presented. At the time we lived in a national park of 28,000 hectares of rainforest, and aromatherapy was always a front-line of treatment that worked very well for us. Later, I was struggling through the hidden valleys of completing a PhD and for a while, went through a very difficult time. This is when, for any kind of distraction and mental relief, my perfume addiction returned with an insatiable hunger. I was wandering all over the city buying commercial perfumes in a total frenzy and wearing them and being dissatisfied within days, and then buying more,and stalking Fragrantica and other online perfume forums and devouring books to learn everything I could about perfumery and the contemporary perfume industry. I became cynical and disillusioned by all the the board-room politics, the snobbery and the industry controlling exclusion, the nasty synthetic ingredients, the marketing machinery and the terrible loss of so many vital components of great perfumery in preference for profit –always about money. So I just went ahead and made some really awful perfume using pure essential oils. Then I made many more awful perfumes (and worried so very much about all the money I’d wasted on making so much awful perfume). I kept doing that until finally, a miracle happened. I finally discovered how to build a great chypre base and a fabulous amber base. The rest just followed and my learning continues to evolve daily. I think, looking back on all the emptied flacons of Chanel, Dior, Guerlain, YSL, Patou, Hermes, the rare, the niche, and all the cheap and terrible fragrances that I’d bought and consumed, this was my training ground; my nose’s perfume points of reference for pushing very hard with natural ingredients to recreate what was once – in my opinion, the traditional art of perfumery – the mystically spiritual ancient forms, the traditional and classic fragrances of royalty and the elite who could afford such luxuries as were blended from harvesting the wondrously precious bounties of nature. I recognize that my entire range of natural perfumes is a collection of totally retro beauties; some are edgy, some are conservative, some are truly works of art. No more awful perfume.
Where can we find your perfumes?
Currently I am the sole distributor, and my fragrances are available internationally, if purchased online from my website. I sell testers to enable people to discover their next signature scent in a sustainable way. My flacons are vintage French crystal which are also reusable and collectible.
Are you distributed worldwide?
Mostly yes, and purchased from my website. I offer paypal which provides security and peace of mind to new customers.
Can you give us an idea what type of person buys your product?
Really curious, beautiful human beings who resonate with numerous aspects of my brand that they either see or read about. Many are sort of ‘fussy-eaters’ who want a unique fragrance. I’m comfortable with being a small, exclusive brand – for me it’s creatively sustainable and pure pleasure to work this way. I think the connections I make with my customers is my greatest reward, most return, and in our email collaborations on special orders, advice and customised service, we become friends.
From which country are most of them from? Do you have many European clients?
I have customers in Russia, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Japan, USA, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Australia.
Do you think the use of social media can spread the message of natural perfume as a healthier alternative?