Unusually for this blog, today I’m doing an interview. I’m very fortunate to have Tammy Frazer of Frazer Parfum joining me at Skinny laMinx. Frazer Parfum, you might recall, used my pincushion protea design on their beautiful wooden Parfum Solide containers, and I mentioned before that Tammy had kindly donated one of these to be used as a giveaway on this blog! Tammy herself comes from a long line of beauty pioneers and parfumiers, including her grandfather Graham Wulff who created Oil of Olay.
Now, let’s hear from Tammy, all about Frazer Parfum:
What made you decide to become a parfumier?
I have always loved apothecaries and chemists. They’re filled with many curious things and wonderous places, allowing my mind wanders and imagination to soar.
The more I research, the more I love the intricacies of what it means to be a perfumer: Discovering oils that are extracted from plants and flowers by farmers who grow and nurture the land, then taking them in hand and learning about them on my skin, and how they change over time individually, and then what it means to meld them with other raw materials.
This is what motivates me daily as a perfumer.
Of course having vivid memories of going with my Dad to work, and watching the perfumes on the conveyor belt, or walking into his study late at night seeing him distilling some special concoction have influenced me too. And with the provenance of my Grandfather ever present, knowing what he achieved to take his invention of Oil of Olay to global heights, inspires me daily.
Where did you study?
Like all of what I do, the road is less travelled and filled with questioning. I read in Time magazine that Albert Einstein had “a lifelong suspicion of all authority” which is something I admire immensely.
In this light I researched, literally going directly to a famous perfume school in Versailles and interviewing them, but I knew that this was not the path for me. The palette used in these commercial schools is primarily synthetic and the natural raw materials are simply too expensive to experiment with. Knowing that I would never use synthetics, it was impossible for me to submit. So I continued to travel directly to the source of my raw materials for lessons in farming, harvesting and distillation along with local geography and geology.
In this way I learn from individual amazing perfumers and botanists around the world who individually take me in hand and at times educate me on the fine balance between the boiling point of Ylang Ylang, Cananga odorata, when paired with the volatility of lemongrass.
What is it about Frazer Parfum that you love the most?
What I love is having carte blanche to explore and research absolutely anything, because anything can be applied in some way to our sense of smell. Being able to call a documentary videographer and tell him my ideas for a visual concept that translates one of my scent creations into a visual journey and understand his craft, collaborate and produce something together continually makes me grow, redefine and gain momentum. To be able to employ two girls from Imizamo Yethu to fill the Parfum Solide and create a production line is also tremendously rewarding.
Where can people find your work?
My Haute Parfum range is available in London at the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie in Harrods, and in Amsterdam’s Oud Zuid district at the Annindriya Perfume Lounge.
The Parfum Solide range – which is perfect for travel – is being released at Anthropologie in the U.S. this month!
My bespoke work, that is, creating a scent privately for an individual, is worldwide, and I consult directly with clients by spending time with them in their own surroundings.
Any exciting plans and developments for 2010?
I am working on two new Chapters which will be released later this year. The one is inspired by my time on the Il de Beaute Corsica last summer and the other inspired by my time in Switzerland, in the mountains.
Next on the passport is the M’Pedougou tribe of Mali where I shall meet the Chief and the ladies who are making beautiful Shea butter from the gathered nuts. I am scheduled to be there later this month.
Thanks so much to Tammy for taking time out from her busy schedule to do this interview, and also for… gasp!… the fantastic giveaway!
So, if you’d like to have your very own Frazer Parfum parfum solide in ylang and narcisse, Tammy has kindly donated one to be given away right here.
Just send an email to info[at]skinnylaminx.com with the name of the Mali tribe that Tammy’s off to visit next. Then, on Valentine’s Day I’ll randomly draw and announce a winner.