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Profile: Creating Scent Connections

By: Alexendra Voigt
Posted: February 27, 2009, from the March 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Michael Edwards’ classification system—which describes general scent categories, the descriptors in those categories and then points to more specific categorical descriptors, along with fragrances that match—is referred to as a “point of departure” when creating a relationship with a client. Donna uses the information to establish individual scent preferences, scent history and the image the user of the scent wants to convey. She encourages clients to “dig deep” and share as much as possible: favorite scents, discontinued scents, favorite memories—any scent the client associates with pleasure. Donna notes, “There is logic in language that a fragrance coach may be able to decipher.” Upon discerning particular notes and characteristics, scents can be identified.

If a client is interested in custom fragrance, the initial process of establishing scent history is the same, with the added step of selecting a perfumer. “Most consumers don’t want to make a career of selecting a perfumer; they need someone who has done the sleuthing,” says Donna, who believes there is a perfume for every client, regardless of taste and means, but understands the process may be daunting for many. Options include natural and synthetic ingredients, scents based on abstract ideas, memories and tastes, for example. “The method of creation can vary from a single sitting with the scent crafted directly on the skin to a remote process featuring up to five distinct trials for a client’s consideration and feedback. It is an intimate and joyful experience,” she says.

Donna believes consumers want to make good choices when it comes to selecting a fragrance, but may become overwhelmed by the number of offerings. “In these times, consumers are eager to avoid a purchase that gathers dust on the dresser. The time for thoughtful, personal help with fragrance selection has come,” she says.