My family moved to Eugene, Oregon when my brother’s and I were very young. For those of you that aren’t familiar, it’s a bit of a hippie town. Every few years the painted buses would roll into town and settle in on East 13th street in anticipation of the arrival of the Grateful Dead. Our family belonged to a co-op where we would get our tofu out of large tubs and grind our own peanut butter. On special evenings out, my beautiful mother attired in dress and heels, would envelop herself in the scent of soft amber and spice as she hugged me an early goodnight. As she did not typically include fragrance in her daily routine, the noticeable presence of perfume was enough to capture my attention and I enjoyed breathing in the captivating aroma. The scent that she wore was her own combination of oils self-blended at the local Essential Oils shop in town. Other than those small hand-labeled bottles of essential oils, I don’t recall my mom ever having what would traditionally be considered an actual bottle of perfume.
After graduating high school, I moved up North to Portland, Oregon which impressed me as being a big city. After all, Eugene had only one main bridge while Portland boasted a dozen. At the age of 25, I married into a family that owned a fragrance boutique that specialized in classic fragrance lines such as Guerlain, Caron and Jean Patou. It was a world that was completely foreign to me but I was intrigued, so much so that within a few years I left my other job and began working at The Perfume House full time. My husband at the time did his best to introduce me to the many fragrant options and varieties. Initially, nothing really spoke to me and I figured that maybe I simply had the type of skin that didn’t compliment fragrance. It wasn’t until we landed on a spicy, oriental scent that I recall being surprised at how intriguing and nuanced the right scent could be on skin ( for those curious, the fragrance was Secret de Venus by Worth). As I delved further into discovering my own personal tastes, I began sharing samples with my mom. She gravitated towards the vanilla and amber scents, which she wore beautifully.
My mother and I have always been close and I’m deeply grateful for the support and acceptance that she has consistently shown even in some of my more experimental phases. One example was my punk rock phase in which I spiked my hair and blared angry music, which my twin brother responded to by counter blasting Billy Joel and Supertramp (guess who won that particular music battle?). When I realized that the world of fragrance offered more than just a job or a minor passing interest, I took a deep dive into researching scent and collecting vintage fragrances that spoke to me. I found myself unable to walk past a fragrance counter without stopping and immersing myself in the array of endless scents. Even today I experience a flush of pleasure when entering a fragrance boutique, with the anticipation of scent exploration. As always, my mother responds to my interest with sincere curiosity and engagement. She asks many questions and we have had numerous in-depth conversations on the topic of perfume. During one visit, I brought along a book, Perfumes the A-Z Guide, by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. I also brought a collection of samples for her to experience as I read to her the corresponding reviews that were notable for their remarkable descriptions and sly humor. My mom is an avid reader and found the book compelling and appreciated learning more about the world of fragrance in this manner. I’ve since gifted her the more recent edition of Perfumes the Guide, as well as several more samples for her to delve into and explore. Although she might not share the same passion for fragrance as I do, she is genuinely interested and always open to attaining more knowledge on the subject.
On my mother’s first visit to Fumerie, she expressed her delight through tears and wholehearted pride. She knows first-hand the profound challenges and adversity that I faced in realizing this dream, and I truly believe that her love and unwavering support throughout my life made it possible. My mother’s birthday is in August but she recently mentioned to me that she had fallen in love with the Jovoy fragrance Remember Me. Those that know me can attest that I tend to lack much in the way of patience, and I ended up gifting her the scent back in March in order for her to enjoy the scent now and throughout the year. It makes me happy to know
that she can spray this beautiful fragrance to her heart’s delight, and that she is experiencing the true pleasure of perfume. To my mom and all the mother’s out there, I unequivocally wish you a joyous and fragrant Mother’s Day!