Last December, Nancie Ferron, Vice-President of Maison Lavande & La Fabrique des Filles, had the chance to take perfumery training directly in France!
I (Marianne, creative clerk at La Maison) was curious to discover what her stay there consisted of, what her trip was like, what knowledge she acquired, etc. I asked her a few questions so I could share her experience with you here, on our blog.
You will see, the world of perfumery is fascinating!
Can you give us some context: Where in France, for how long, etc?:
"I went to France from December 10 to 22, 2022 to follow two basic training courses in perfumery in 2 different schools. The first training was given in Versailles, near Paris. The school, Isipca, is recognized throughout the world and is part of the Écoles des Métiers du Luxe of the Paris Île-de-France Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The course focused on raw materials in perfumery. The second course was offered by a private school in Paris, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, and also focused on raw materials in perfumery."
What was the purpose of your trip?:
"I am determined to learn more about perfume design to be more autonomous in our creative process at Maison Lavande. For the moment, we start from our ideas, we develop our collection projects with our ideas, our vision, the raw materials we see in each of the collections and then we put everything in the hands of a team of designers and perfumers with whom we work very closely. The goal is to perfect my knowledge to be more and more autonomous in this process."
For those who know a little less, what does "perfume training" mean?:
"Becoming a perfumer or a "Nose" is a long university training of several years and internships. I will not do this long training. On the other hand, there is continuous training for people like me. I know I have a good nose, a passion for perfumery blends, and a creativity waiting to be expressed. But I'm not a chemist and I didn't go to university to be able to claim to be a perfumer. Therefore, My desire is to acquire enough knowledge in perfumery to create the accords specific to Maison Lavande, collection after collection. So I will follow his training where we learn about raw materials (all its flowers, fruits, woody notes, aromatic ...) and the composition of perfumes."
Can you describe some of the workshops/activities you participated in during your trip?:
"It was the first module, the base. We studied some 45 raw materials. This is very little in this universe, but let's say that they are the most frequently used raw materials. We analyzed each of these subjects: its name, its family, its subfamily, its olfactory description, its obtaining, its outfit, its uses .... And of course, we felt! A lot felt. In these classes, we spend a large part of our time smelling, comparing, and letting smells develop, evolve, and smell again. We look for words to describe and we still smell. It is a job where the nose and brain are constantly boiling."
What was your favorite moment of the stay?:
"I enjoyed every moment of these training. Every time I managed to find a raw material blindly or found the right words to describe what tickled my nose, I was proud of myself. All this knowledge acquired in these few days made me realize how passionate perfumery is."
Was there a moment you didn't enjoy it?:
"France in December, it's not great, hihihi! It was cold, and it rained! Joking aside, there's nothing I didn't appreciate. I can't wait to go back and continue the training."
One thing you learned during this perfumery training?
"That's all I did, learning and realizing what a vast and complex world perfumery is. It takes so many notions to succeed in creating beautiful perfumes. I was impressed by all the knowledge that great perfumers have. There are so many raw materials (thousands) and creating a nice marriage is hours and hours, weeks and weeks, even years of hard work!"
A funny fact about your trip:
"In perfumery, we sometimes use a birch essence. For us, birch is a known tree, but there are not tons of it in France. Which makes me easily recognize this smell."
Do you already have a next perfumery destination in mind?
"I will be returning to France in the spring to continue the training. My goal is to become more and more autonomous in creation, and I need more knowledge. I can't wait! It's a real passion!"