Hi there Posse. Recently I introduced you all to a new business called American Perfumer. The name says it all. Independent Artisan American Perfumers being put on display so you can find a large selection of them in one spot. Genius! From that initial post I was inspired to meet some of the people behind the perfume brands that are for sale at American Perfumer. They all get the same 10 questions so we can see how they differ and how they are similar. After I will give you a quick review of one or two of their perfumes. Today let’s meet Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes.
En Voyage Perfumes: American Perfumer Interviews
What do you recall of your families fragrances as you grew up?
My Aunt Bobby was tiny, rich, glamourous, and wore the highest heels I’d ever seen. One day she gave me her bottle of Schiaparelli’s Shocking, right from her fancy dressing table. The bottle was shaped like a little glass dressmaker’s dummy, and was under a glass dome. My parents were horrified at the idea of their 5-year-old wearing such a fragrance. To me, it was simply wonderful.
Where is your dream vacation spot?
Places that evoke secret old stories such as Venice and Paris are my dream spots. They’re saturated with extraordinary art, culture, literature, history, and cuisine. They spark my romantic and creative imagination.
How do you like to start your day?
Café au lait. Morning hugs. Check news. Check schedule and orders.
Tell us about your life, family, business or career before perfume?
My early life in an artist colony was involved with music, textiles, clay, charcoals, paint, jewelry making and sculpture. Eventually I needed more income, so I entered the corporate world. During those corporate years I missed having something to hold up at the end of the day and say, “I made this”. It was like living in a sensory deprivation chamber.
How did you find yourself in perfumery?
As a diversion to my corporate life, I bought a few essential oils. I blended a few little things and put them in pretty bottles. I had some talent and wanted to learn more. So I took a vacation to Paris and Grasse to study, learn, and to find better oils. I gradually collected an extensive reference library, a fully stocked perfumer’s organ, and developed rewarding relationships with other perfumers and helpful suppliers.
My first business, Beau Soleil Perfumes (in 2000), was an all-natural perfume, bath and body outlet. It was at the time only a hobby, but became the early forerunner of En Voyage Perfumes and remains our parent company.
What is your favourite perfume note and why?
I gravitate most strongly towards the Base. Those big, luscious, deep and lasting base materials such as benzoin, styrax, ambergris, vanilla, musk, labdanum, sandalwood and dark woods; Cedar. Cyperus. Oakmoss. Geosmin. Peru Balsam, Tolu Balsam. Ambrette Seed. Why? They are all grounding and healing. Working with them nourishes my soul at a very deep level.
How did you decide on your companies name, what is its relevance?
En Voyage perfumes = To travel and to explore creative spaces of the mind, and of our beautiful planet, enriches our lives by conjoining the humanities with the natural world. It exemplifies the true literal and metaphoric meanings of being “en voyage”. It lifts us.
I continually challenge myself by designing and expanding my horizons creating perfumed stories; these are my own signature scents, each inspired by my knowledge of perfume chemistry and composition, indigenous raw materials, by art, artists, literature and the gorgeous world around us.
What was the last novel or biography you read (current if appropriate)?
“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. It’s a wonderful story, I strongly recommend it,
Who are your fragrant heroes?
My hero perfumer is Ernest Daltroff who founded the House of Coty in 1904. He was a young Russian Jew in Paris who trained himself to make perfume for a living. His assistant, muse and beloved life partner Felicie Vanpoille, helped him to escape to America when the Nazis occupied Paris during WWII. His masterpieces include Tabac Blond, Nuit de Noel, and Bellodgia, trendsetters of their day. Today they’re treasured classics that radiate the poignant authenticity of his life. I like his story because he was the real deal who succeeded on his own merit despite not having a wealthy family or a famous mentor.
Thanks Shelley for letting us see a little into your head and heart.
You can buy En Voyage Perfumes from American Perfumer
Zelda by En Voyage from Val the Cookie Queen: The notes unfold in layers like magic. First the spicy top layer, and then the thick magnolia and flowery layer, and then hidden under that you hit a smoky, musky, vanilla, sandalwoody and who knows what else accord. It stays layered on the skin. Absolute genius, and it doesn´t stop. It is deep and complex, and I wonder how Shelley Waddington came up with this. Be careful though it´s a twelve hour trip! Still there in the morning.
Portia also writes for Australian Perfume Junkies