What is the Perfume Project?

This blog is a constantly evolving forum for thoughts on perfume, perfume-making, plants (especially orchids and flora of the Pacific Northwest) and life in general. It started out chronicling the adventures of Olympic Orchids Perfumes, established in July 2010, and has expanded in other directions. A big part of the blog is thinking about the ongoing process of learning and experimentation that leads to new perfumes, the exploration of perfumery materials, the theory and practice of perfume making, the challenges of marketing perfumes and other fragrance products, and random observations on philosophy and society. Spam comments will be marked as such and deleted; any comments that go beyond the boundaries of civil discourse will also be deleted. I am grateful to all of you, the readers, who contribute to the blog by commenting and making this a truly interactive perfume project.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


After participating in all four of the West Coast Fragrance Salons organized by Taste TV, I have seen one model of how a perfume show could be organized, with many pros and cons from both the point of view of the exhibitors and the attendees. It seems that in future these events will be organized and sponsored by the perfumers themselves, at least for the time being, so we have an opportunity to build on and improve the current model.

I’d like to solicit some feedback from everyone out there so that we can make the events the best possible experience. To that end, I’d like to present a general questionnaire that you can answer in whole or in part in the comments section. Even if you’re not on the US West Coast and/or even if you’ve never been to a fragrance show, you are encouraged to respond. The more feedback we get, the higher the probability that events will be attractive to the public. Your participation will automatically enter you in a drawing for a 30 ml bottle of any Olympic Orchids EdP, with the drawing to be held on Saturday, May 18. Here are the questions:

1. Would you prefer a stand-alone fragrance event, or would you like to see it combined with other products that engage the chemical senses, such as chocolate, wine, etc?

2. If there were an entry fee, how much would you be willing to pay and what would you expect to get for it?

3. What would be the optimal number of exhibitors so that you experience maximal variety without being overwhelmed?

4. What factors are important with regard to venue (e.g., parking, accessibility, ventilation, appearance, location?

5. Would you prefer a one-day event or two-day event (e.g., Saturday and Sunday so that there’s more flexibility in when you attend)?

6. What additional features would you like to have included with the show (e.g., Lectures? Educational exhibits? Hands-on demonstrations or workshops? A social gathering with the perfumers?)

7. What would be the best way for you to find out about the event?

8. What do you think the best hours would be?

9. What categories of fragrance products would you like to see represented (e.g., all-natural? Mixed media? Strictly artisan (i.e., everything made by the perfumer him/herself)? Larger indie brands based on the West Coast? Home scent products/candles? Bath and body products?)

10. What else would you suggest to make a fragrance show attractive to you?

I’m really looking forward to seeing what you have to say!


  1. I love testing and wearing edp,edt.colonges single and multi scent naturals love candles artisian chocolate & wine,water, tea, Hours 10-5/6pm.Ventilation is key I prefer no inscense burning although I like inscense.might be nice to bring in some people from the healing arts.
    A liitle fresh seasonal fruits and veggies cheese

    1. Tara, thanks for your comments. Incense would be a nice addition if people have it in their line. There has always been a rule of "no incense burning" at these shows, which makes sense, but incense can be sniffed in the same way as perfume, without wafting it all over the room.

      Tea is a perfect fit (along with wine and chocolate) for a multi-media show. Bringing in someone from the healing arts might be an option for a workshop or presentation.

      You're entered in the drawing.

  2. Brad and I both loved the Seattle show. Our answers to questions 1 and 4 would be to use Seattle as a model for future shows.

    Question number 2: Entry fee for a one day show no more than $20 and for a two day show no more than $40.

    3: Keep it small. Seattle's event included 14 fragrance exhibitors. 25 should be the absolute max in the fragrance section.

    5: We liked this one day format but if the show were a two day event there would time for workshops, more lectures and possibly a reception. We would have liked to have seen more of that at the Seattle show.

    6: See 5.

    7. I think the advertising for Seattle was perfect. If mainstream media had been more involved there would have been more of demand for tickets and the show would have been too crowded to enjoy. Both Brad and I loved the fact that we didn't have to wait in long lines or be smothered by lots of people spraying stuff everywhere. When we went over to the chocolate side of the show we found the room to be dark and stuffy and the lines too long. We tried a couple of chocolates and were out of there in 5 minutes.

    8: I think the show should begin at 10:00 instead of 11:00 and run as late as 6:00.

    9: I noticed that at least one of the exhibitors in Seattle was not really an "artisan" perfumer. I think it would be OK to include a few of these larger indie brands, but there should be a limit to how many can show. It was nice to see and smell the differences. I really think our west coast "artisan" perfumers have nothing to fear from the larger indies.

    Regarding candles and bath products: Limit these to the exhibitors who already have these products in their lines. Don't include people who only make candles or spa products.

    10: As I mentioned in "5", workshops, more lectures and a very small reception staged in a room separate from the exhibits would be nice (elaborate foods and live music would not be necessary). Please keep music and food out of the lobby or exhibition area. I like your idea of bringing in someone from the healing arts for a workshop.

    1. Gail, thanks for your long and thoughtful reply. It's particularly useful given that you attended the Seattle event.

  3. If the event is combined with something, it should be something odor-free, not a coffee-lovers' convention or a spice market! ;-) That said, it would be nice to have under 50 booths, but more than 10. Tickets could be $10 each with the understanding that samples would be available. Kids could be reduced or free. Small workshops would be great! Sat and Sun is good, not just one day. Parking is a must. If a variety of scented products are sold, they should be in sections. Candles and soaps can have a huge throw, they might overwhelm the perfumes.

    1. Marla, thanks for your comments. I agree that $10 is the most that should be charged for a ticket, and attendees should get more than admission for that price.

  4. IMHO
    1. I prefer stand alone event so people can focusing on fragrance.
    2. I would like to pay not more than $10. If the ticket can be used as discount coupon, I will be do happy.
    3. Exhibitors at the event should be 20 - 40.
    4. Any nice place that visitor can reach by puclic transportation.
    5. Two day event. Please.
    6. Work-shop sound interesting!
    7. Ad in fragrance web or personal e-mail.
    8. 10:00 - 6:00
    9. Artisan and not so large infie brand.
    10. Including artisan whom I love or the rising star.

    1. Phatcharee, I also think it's important that the venue is accessible by public transportation. A 2-day event is better for both the public and for the exhibitors.

  5. So based on my ideals rather than experience:
    1. My personal preference is a stand-alone event (and from what I've been reading the perfumers get short-changed at mixed events).
    2. I'd be willing to pay up to $25 per day, especially if there were a door prize or if a portion could be put towards purchases.
    3. Max 15 to 25 exhibitors.
    4. Venue with decent ventilation, close to public transit and to at least a couple of cafes.
    5.Two days is great if the exhibitors can manage it and if there are additional features.
    6.I'd love to have additions like lectures or exhibits, whether on certain notes or genres with scent strips, or about the process of creating a single scent with strips of the various mods.
    I'm personally not big on the hands-on experiments, but many are and that could be a big draw (with appropriate space and time).
    7. Websites and blogs of the participating exhibitors and general sites like NST or Fragrantica and Basenotes.
    8. 10:00 to 6:00 sounds good. Possibly a meet and greet with perfumers after.
    9. Categories: natural and mixed media, artisans and fairly local indies. Other smelly stuff only if part of the perfumers' lines, not from separate exhibitors.
    10. Possibly some best in show awards and consumers' choice award if it's a 2 day event.

    I realize these events take a lot of planning and work and appreciate that they occur at all.

    Thanks for seeking input.

    -- Lindaloo

    1. Lindaloo, thanks for your detailed response. I really like the suggestion of door prizes. I held multiple drawings at the Seattle show at my booth, but a general drawing would be even better, with each exhibitor contributing something to it.

  6. Everyone who commented is entered in the drawing, to take place on Saturday, May 18.

  7. Am I too late? I'd still love to participate.

    1. I actually would prefer a stand alone event, focused solely on the fragrances.

    2. I would pay up to $40, and would hope for mini bottles and perhaps giveaways of full size bottles.

    3. 15-20 exhibitors would be best.

    4. Accessibility would be a huge factor, be cause I don't drive, but that would be dependent on location.

    5. Two days would be great, so i could either attend both or choose one based on availability.

    6. Educational exhibits and social gatherings would be great added benefits, and ways to meet other like-minded individuals.

    7. Blogs and social media are wonderful methods of spreading the word about events.

    8. Hours extending from late morning to early evening would be most inclusive.

    9. Artisan and indie brands would interest me most.

    10. A meet and greet with the perfumer would be really cool!

    Thanks for letting me participate!

  8. Holly, Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Your feedback is really helpful in designing future fragrance events. It's too late for the draw this time, but there will be more coming up!