It's either 'why?' or 'how?' as the first question people ask when I say I’m releasing a fragrance for KARMME. There's so many layers as to the 'why' so I thought I’d write it down for those who are interested in reading. This is Part 1, 'Why'; 'Who', 'How' and 'When' will follow.
I think I have always been interested in and atuned to smells. Backapacking I was enthralled by the Egyptian markets with scented oils and luxurious perfume bottles, the Island Of Capri in my mind can be nothing but the scent of Gardenias, and if I smelled Thierry Mugler’s Angel, I would be 19 again. I often get transported to places or feelings through my sense of smell, like us all, but recently I’ve become more conscious of it.
I dabbled in the candle making world after thinking that it was cheaply made candles that were give me headaches. I did many courses but it wasn’t probably until I did Elise Pioch’s course that I was able to be conscious about the link of smell and feeling. She started Maison Balzac as a way to remind her of her childhood growing up in France. Her favourite candle scent is reminiscent of plucking feather and singeing the remaining fluff after hunting with her father. I loved hearing these stories and also hearing the process of how to create a scent. I parked all this information as an enjoyable evening and didn’t think too much more about scents.
I attended a fashion evening in Sydney which was an evening with many top fashion designers, I didn’t know anyone there bar one, and really felt quite out of place, especailly when I asked a very well known designer how she came to be in the fashion business only to learn that I was talking to an iconic fashion designer’s daughter. I felt rather red faced and not like I really belonged within this ‘fashion’ industry. But then I got to thinking that many of the people in that room started like me, small, just themselves and through hard work, luck, perserverance and having a red hot go, failing and getting back up again they were in that room, celebrating their careers as Australia’s greatest designers. At this point KARMME had grown to have a loyal following but my aim was for KARMME to be a brand aligned with beauty, simplicity, elegance and classic design. After that night I decided I wanted to do something about growing KARMME. I didn’t know what it was at that stage, so I parked that as an uncomfortable evening but one that I knew was sent for a reason.
Earlier this year I saw a post from my sister that she’d seen a movie called “Embrace” and that her and her friend loved it. I love the cinema so much, when I first moved to Sydney I had one day off when all the kids were in school or day care and I would go to a 10.30 session with a coffee and a biscuit and go into another world for a couple of hours, the emerge refreshed. So, I made a date with a friend to go and see this documentary/movie that I really knew nothing about but was something to do with women loving their bodies and embracing. With 3 daughters I thought this might be worth a look. The documentary by Taryn Brumfit was excellent, I really enjoyed watching it but it was towards the end of the movie that Rikki Lake, who I grew up watching on TV, said something to the interviewer that really struck a chord. She had battled with not liking her body on and off for years, and when she was asked what she likes about herself, she said with pride “I smell good.”
Right there in the cinema I remember thinking I love it when I get told I smell beautiful, but I’d never considered it to be an attribute I would say I liked about myself.
I parked that as a great night out with my friend and some thoughts to take home about our attitudes to our bodies.
I often receive emails from KARMME customers saying they just love the packaging and then they open the wrapping and touch the clutch and love how it feels so it got me thinking about how sensory KARMME is. The sight of the packaging, the clutch and the shibori lining, the touch of the soft leather and aligning all my sweet loves with the names of the totes acted as taste sensation. Audibly people sigh when they touch KARMME but that left smell. Of course people love to smell the leather but I wondered how I could make KARMME a really sensory brand.
It was then that the link of smell, scent, feeling, memory, mood, confidence and all my 'parked moments' flowed into the idea of perhaps creating a scent that was for KARMME, something that made women feel beautiful. I knew women loved holding KARMME so what else could I create that would also make a woman feel beautiful? That was the ‘Why’ of KARMME scent.