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A perfumer's take on scents, memories, and brands
Janice Silva specializes in thoughtful olfactory solutions for brands that aim to create an emotional bond with their customers.
Aromatherapist qualified by The Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy of London, Janice is currently based in Curitiba, Brazil. Here, we talked a little about scents, memories, and brands.
What led you to work with the senses?
It all goes back to my childhood, which was extremely sensorial. In my house, there were always herbs and teas — my mother's spices and my father's mate with freshly cut Lemongrass. Years later, living in England and going through a difficult pregnancy, I received complimentary treatment with essential oils. That was an important rescue for me. From then on, I started studying the subject and I haven't stopped since then, thirty years ago.
How would you define what it is an olfactory identity? How does it differ from a personal perfume?
This question is the foundation of olfactory marketing. As tempting as it is to mix the two universes, a symbolic perfume that is part of your life will not necessarily be the best for your brand. When we talk about corporate identity, we have pillars that require getting out of our own shoes and considering the public: what and with whom we want to communicate.
How is your creative process — are you able to study a brand and immediately sense its smell?
There is a technical aspect, and an intuitive one. Working with an abstract sense like the smell, the briefings are extremely conceptual. However, I make a point of having a close conversation with everyone that comes to me, either in person or via facetime. This means that, in addition to the answers I get, I'm fed by other subtle information (remember that at least 70% of our communication is non-verbal). This allows me to start bringing a scent to life, like a musician composing a song.
How does a sensory environment, such as Café Leon Dore, work in the mind of the client?
There is a difference between environmental aromatization and sensory ambiance. In both cases, the smell is capable of reinforcing identification and the desire to be in that space. When you go to a padoca [a word used to refer to local bakeries in the city of São Paulo] in the morning, you can smell the coffee along with the freshly buttered bread. This reinforces the experience with the feeling of coziness, pleasure, and satiety, with an emotional and affective bond that brands have begun to perceive in recent years.
What was the most memorable experience you had with a customer?
While I was still working as a Clinical Aromatherapist, one of my clients was Waltel Branco, an important maestro. In one of our appointments, I used Peppermint oil, and he was so touched by that smell that he asked me if his next concert could have that feeling spread in the air. That was a disruptive point when I crossed the line of using aromas from personal to collective use.
We are curious, what would you say SCHARF smells like?
I would definitely start with the Passion Fruit flower and the Pomegranate peel: something soft yet magnetic, that invites us to go inside.
Can you share three places that hold your favorite olfactory memories?
The Entre Vilas Restaurant in Serra da Mantiqueira, Brazil.
The Neal Yard Remedies store in Covent Garden, London.
The Ver-o-peso market in Belém, Brazil.
Thank you, Janice!
You can learn more about her work at www.goodsmell.com.br.
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