Sunday, June 10, 2012

First Annual Conference of Canadian Natural Perfumers

First Annual Conference of Canadian Natural Perfumers

Waiting for the others…
23May2012 marked the first annual Conference of Canadian Perfumers. Though there are only a few dozen known NPers in Canada, we know our group numbers will grow with time. In attendance were Anita Kalnay, Karen Van Dyck, Lyn Ayre, and Suzy Larsen.

Here are some of my notes: I brought along my travelling perfume kit, which houses 60 essences, my sample kit that holds 12 perfume samples, pipettes, scent strips, various jars and bottles, rubber gloves, alcohol, labels, sample vials, and several other items. I also included several perfumes for sampling, our own lavender hydrosol, lemon balm hydrosol, many of my unique accords, and some hand cream for sampling. I threw in my teaching manuals, and Arctanders’ book for good measure.

I shared my ideas and thoughts on fixation in a natural perfume. There are several substances that slow the evaporation of other essences in the jus. Some are: Benzoin, Frankincense, Myrrh, and Peru balsam.

These ones evaporate slowly themselves, not affecting the volatility of the others: Oakmoss, Patchouli, Labdanum, and Vetiver.

Animal essences such as Ambergris and Hyraceum are great fixatives for perfume, keeping it close to the skin.

I shared my “Fix-It” accord formula with the others in attendance. This contains myrrh, frankincense, and benzoin.

I spoke a bit about using Accords in a perfume formula and also shared my formula for my Hyacinth accord. I paid $165.00 for a teaspoon of my real Hyacinth. The accord is just as good. Karen immediately picked out four of the essences in it before I shared my formula. Way to ‘nose’, Karen!

Anita Kalnay, Comox, BC

Anita is an awesome perfumer and I’ve enjoyed many of her aromatics. She brought a box (that literally unravelled sideways revealing multiple shelves and compartments) of her perfumes and essences. Anita was trained by Ayala Sender.

Anita’s Note: “Yesterday really was an amazing get together. It is remarkable how when those of like mind gather, magic really does happen. We all commented how solitary it can be ¬ as a perfumer and how the journey is enriched by sharing. Here were the highlights for me:
-The fact that Lyn organized the whole meet up and the lovely facility that Suzy found for us to spread out and create.

-seeing everyone find common ground and discussion together and also have personal conversations and enjoy just sniffing each others creations. We are really vastly different as designers!!

-Lyn sharing her formulas for her accords and generously bringing enough materials for us all to make some and take some home. What a gifted teacher that girl is.

-Sniffing everyone’s Primordial Perfumes - all truly remarkable.

Suzy created First Breath,

Lyn ¬ Ele-Metal-Alchemy,

and myself ¬ Sweet Naam

This year long project is being launched by Monica Miller of Perfume Pharmer on June 1st, but you can take a sneak peak at all of our perfumes and the stories behind them.
-Karen’s insights into the industry ¬ eg. A friend of hers noticed that a sign on the door reading natural perfumes was not drawing any customers. After changing the sign to just perfumes they piled in. We talked quite a bit about the business of being a perfumer and what it would take to truly create and professionalize our offerings. How do we take Naturals to a Mainstream market?? They are so different!

-as for me, I am enjoying my work with custom blending essences. Suzy shared how she had created an astrological scent for both myself and Lyn and I shared a bit about how I am creating Pathway Perfumes ¬ based on my studies of constitutional types, numerology and Kabbalah. All very interesting.

-of course, we covered new notes, and sniffed the never before sniffed, ¬including Karen’s vintage perfume bottle collection from the early 1900¹s. BIG wow!

-...and we talked about those of you who might join us next time. We hope you will and that we have inspired some of you to get together in your own areas as well.
Thanks everyone!! Fragrantly, Anita

Suzy Larsen, Nanaimo, BC Suzy brought her array of stunning perfumes, which she set out on a mirror. I’ve had the privilege of sampling 14 of Suzy’s scents and found her to be a gifted perfumer. She and I are true heart-to-hearts and have enjoyed many wonderful discussions about all things scented and life in general. She also brought several books along to browse through. Suzy gifted each of us with a lovely pink organza bag containing her Primordial Scents entry named “First Breath”, which I will review at a separate time, as well as a green organza bag holding “Golden Bee” her entry for the Coeur d’Esprit eau de Cologne challenge, just past. I was so happy to receive this as mine is all gone now. Suzy creates Astrological Signature Scents and she shared her process for doing that. Suzy is self-trained.

Suzy’s Says: “So many ideas to inspire throughout the day, from how we got into perfume to what's our dream career in perfume. I am so humbled by how open and sharing everyone was. It makes my journey feel less lonely than it has been. To connect with other like-minded individuals was such a treat. I'm sure we could have used another day to really get to know each other's perfumes, paths and dreams. There's just nothing like kicking around ideas to inspire more creativity.

What a pleasure to finally meet you, Karen. The breadth of knowledge you bring to the group is staggering--and you're so open with it.

Thanks so much for sharing your Special Accords with us, Lyn--you are so very generous and carefree with your attitude I can't imagine anyone ever feeling intimidated around you.

Anita, your enthusiasm is infectious and your unique interests are incredibly profound. I thank all you ladies for making the meeting so accepting.

I think we began some discussions that may start to take shape in the days ahead. It's exciting ground we're breaking and I, for one, am glad to be part of it. And as we move into the future, I wanted to let potential members know that you'd be welcomed with open arms.”

Hugs and Love, Suzy

Karen Van Dyck, Cobble Hill, BC It was a real pleasure to meet Karen. She has a line of natural care products as well as some very lovely natural perfumes. We’d exchanged samples and I’ve been enjoying them ever since. She spoke about the course she took with Mandy and what she has learned over the years. She’d scored a box of vintage perfumes both natural and synthetic, which we all enjoyed smelling. Karen spoke with great passion about her vision of a natural perfume guild in Canada. She also shared her deep feelings about how we, as olfactory artists, are under-appreciated. I enjoyed sharing this time with her and look forward to our next encounter. Karen was trained by Mandy Aftel.

Karen’s comments: “Hi Suzy, Lyn, Anita... I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed meeting with you and sharing stories and information. It was delightful and has re-inspired me since I had let my perfume sit sadly in the dark (except for the occasional spark of inspiration or interest). I am so impressed with the creativity, quality and breadth of knowledge and perfumes. So... THANK YOU!!

I'm thinking of what you said Suzy, about training. I truly believe that if the passion is there, the genius is born - and smelling your perfumes I am convinced of that.

As I said, my goal is to make one perfume that I don't just like or even love, but one that I am exceptionally proud of and can't wait to introduce to the world. But that's me and my journey.

I hope we will keep the ideas and connections alive, and I am going to keep my thinking cap on about marketing!

Lots of love, Karen Van Dyck, Vitale Natural Care Inc.

Lyn Ayre, Coquitlam, BC I was just about exploding with excitement when I realized this was actually going to happen. Four Natural Perfumers in the same room at the same time, sharing from the heart. I packed all my stuff up with glee. I was giggly and tickled. I was there first and set up my stuff. I wondered what was going to happen and I knew the day would change each of us in a profound way.

We didn’t really have a program as I feel we all just wanted to be together and share. That was fine with me as making perfume is a very solitary endeavour.

I know we were just four people here in BC but what about next year? How many will we be then? Karen threw out the number 25! It is possible. I know Suzy is busily training someone right now. And what about the rest of the country – our beautiful Canada! Will some of you decide you’ve had enough of being alone and join forces in your areas? I hope so. REALLY! IT WAS JUST SOOOO MUCH FUN!!!

Lyn says: “We are still camping so will write more later, however, I didn't want this day to go by without thanking everyone for their kind words and say 'right back atcha'. I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday and wish we could do it again today. We covered a lot and there was so much more to say. The five hours flew by in no time. I'll upload a few photos for you all to see. BTW, I sent a thank you note to Serious Coffee this morning for allowing us to use that room yesterday.

Perhaps the rest of the country will be inspired to follow suit and join together for a day of fun, sharing & camaraderie. It's fantastic.

Love Lyn

Karen, Lyn, Suzy, Anita
BC Contingent
Taken in Parksville, BC


  1. Such a wonderful group of women! It looks like you all had a terrific time. please give Karen --- who looks beautiful --- a hug for me.
    Mandy Aftel

  2. We did, Mandy. Sooo much for to be with others who love perfume and the naturals.

    Love Lyn

  3. My husband always has this conference and that to go to and I never even conceived there would be something like that for me, a natural perfumer. I am so happy that we've taken this first step friends and colleagues. There's nothing better for confidence and credibility than connecting with other like-minded individuals.

  4. Quite true, Suzy. Making those connections and becoming a united community is vital to the advancements of our cause - to inform, enlighten, and educate the Canadian public on the wondrousness of Natural Perfume (not to mention 'perfume them' : ,).

    It is already being done in other countries and now it is our turn to stand in the light our our accomplishments.

    I am completely inspired by what is happening so far. Where do we go from here?

    Love Lyn