Interview for the portal Gradus Ossetia
She is not just attracted by everything new and dynamic, she is ready to create something that no one else has done before. To appreciate her creations, it is enough to smell the scents, so unique and different.
Fatima Gaeva knows what components should be put together to create a chemical reaction to get a new bottle with a “precious” liquid. It’s simple: mix and shake a good idea, rebellious attitude and … keep it in the “storage room” until full maturation.
Create fragrances? Rather, creative ideas in a scented form. Fatima shares: since childhood she liked all kinds of smells. She also prefers her own perfume: it’s always nice to smell of something that you cannot buy in a store. At first it was a little hobby, now the plan is to create her own brand:
“I’ve been interested in perfumery for a very long time, I can not tell you from what age exactly. But from early childhood, I have a very sensitive sense of smell. Not everybody, of course, start to work in perfumery because of this, but my love for smells, even not the most pleasant, has led to this kind of passion. I like to watch how the smells can impact on us. I like to mix them up, to think what will happen if I join them together.
Everything starts with an idea. The first results, of course, were horrible, ridiculous. I used to mix up essential oils that I bought from a pharmacy. Then I began to study and learn the principles of creating perfume. And only recently I had a thought about creating my own brand.”
Fatima’s collection consists of a dozen fragrances that she creates herself at home in her small laboratory.
“There is a term ‘indie‐perfumery’ (from a word independent) which is only starting to develop in Russia. Indie‐perfumers are independent people who create fragrances for the soul, on their own rather than working under a well‐known brand, There are many indie‐perfumers all over the world, although in Russia this direction is only starting to develop. For example, I wanted to create something in a national spirit, and I came up with a couple of scents — male and female “FARNA” and “ALLON”. While this is my first experience, maybe, there will be a need to create something similar in future.”
According to the young perfumer, the volumes of work are still very modest. After all, it’s impossible to create a scent that everyone will like.
At the moment I create fragrances to order; there are those who can afford to produce large batches — I can’t do that yet. Good quality raw materials are very expensive, and I will not add anything less than perfect, as I am quite pedantic about composition. Therefore for now I only create scents to order. If you compare this to art, imagine: you create a picture, and you have no idea whether people will like it or not, therefore you can’t make many copies, it’s risky. For the time being I work by word of mouth and I enjoy it. I get a lot of good feedback. I advertise online, but to ensure effective advertising you need large scale production line. There are more than 30 scents, however only 5 people who can present these to a winder audience.
Fatima shares that it is not yet become a business for her, but rather a form of art, doing something that not many people can do.
At the moment I’m doing something what inspires me, things that I like. Of course, this is wrong in terms of the market. One must adhere to the rules, always study the market and do what people want. But in this case for me it loses its charm. First and foremost, this is a very serious hobby, and if I start doing it for sales demand it will turn into dull work.
She cherishes every signle fragrance that she’s created, regardless of whether others likes it or not.
I put my ideas and thoughts into it. First there is an idea, then I think for a long time how it can be done technically. After all, you can think of anything, but not everything can be realized. Then you wait until the aroma ripens, notice how it changes with time. And when people ask what is my favorite perfume, I can’t answer — they are like children, you simply can’t choose a favourite.
The technical process is much simpler than people might think. But it is in this simple process a new unique flavor is born.
For me, the technical process is the least important bit. When I tell people how it’s done, they ask Is this it? You just mix different oils with alcohol and they become perfumes? Of course, these kinds of comments are not very pleasant to hear. It’s like asking a painter So you simply mix a little red with a little blue and yellow on the canvas, and that becomes a painting?! This is not true. First comes an idea. I write down everything that comes to my mind, I analyze how the ingredients will play together. And then I make an approximate aromatic formula. I determine what and in what quantities should be included in a particular formula Next, I measure everything, I adjust the formula, then there is the period of maturation, which lasts from two weeks to a month. This process occurs under certain temperature conditions. And only then the perfume comes to life and opens up in a completely new way.
Fatima is sure, you can be either a talented perfumer, or a good chemist. But she does not believe she is either. She just has a passion for scents.
I am self‐taught, like most of those who are in this craft. You can only become a professional in perfumery if you’ve graduated. There are only two or three places where you can get a diploma in perfumery. But those who have graduated are somewhat office workers – they are doing the work that their boss tells them to do. For me, this is not a creative process. There are good chemists who know how to mix things together in order to get a good result. For me this is art, something that I want to do myself, and not what someone else wants me to do. You might come up with a lovely formula, but an accountant might reject it because it might be too expensive. I don’t even think about this at the stage of creation of the scent, I usually think of it at a later stage. There are many perfumery courses, but no one reveals their secrets. I had an opportunity to study in England, with serious perfumers and lectures, but what they offer is basic knowledge. I’m sure that nobody will share their long sleepless nights. They will only offer some basic knowledge and a certificate.
Fatima says that people in the Caucasus like to stand out and they attach great importance to their image. Therefore, there is always a demand for perfume.
It seems to me that Caucasus people are esthetes. We are very receptive to everything beautiful. Even guys sometimes very well versed in perfume. Sometimes I hear their statements about a scent, which is exactly to the point, and you understand – this man is really interested in perfumes for a long time. We also like perfume, which we can hardly afford, we seem to think that high priced fragrances are special. I, for example, prefer complex scents which have some sort of composition, I like a smell with a beginning, a middle and an end. It is not interesting to smell only of one thing. Although for some smells like this seem perfect. We are all different.
Fatima cautions those who might suffer from allergic reactions.
If someone suffers from allergies, I would advice to try my scents on a piece of paper, very to be very careful when trying it on the skin. My fragrances contain a lot of natural ingredients, but mass perfumery is practically devoid of anything natural.
According to Fatima, the fragrant composition of your chosen perfume should play the melody of your heart, only then the perfume will truly complement your image.
I gave away all the mass produced perfumes I had. I don’t like it when the perfume is unused, I want someone to get a sence of joy from it. What do we need a perfume for? To lift the spirits. The status, the brand, the box, or the desire to make an impression is not important … You just have to always want to smell this perfume on yourself. If you feel it, then this is what you need right now. Of course, it’s also important to think about others but it’s more about the amount of perfume you use. I make my perfume to order, I don’t want this precious liquid to just be left somewhere. I myself try many different perfumes, even the most manly scents.
The composition of a perfume can include up to two hundred ingredients. No rules — only ideas, desire and creativity.
For a perfume to work I prefer to mix more than a dozen of components. Sometimes it can be more than 200 of them, depending on what is needed. I love creating something new and I enjoy working with unusual ingredients. For example, people don’t find the smell of African tree tar in everyday life, do they? But it is so unusual, and I really want to share the joy of the find.
On Fatima’s in Instagram, many people shared their positive feedback of the original packaging. When asked how important it is to beautifully wrap up her creation, she replies:
Packaging is more important than it seemed to me. I hear different reviews from people and I understand that many have their own wishes for the design of the bottle. I do not stress about this, for me the most important thing is the fragrance. What I worked on for a long time — this is what I want to share. But people nowadays are spoiled for choice with the variety of packages. Therefore, however great your perfume might be, if the packaging is not good, the customer won’t even want to try it.
She does not like horoscopes and does not believe in myths.But there are so many myths about perfume.
They say that a woman should have only one unique scent. This is myth number one. We are very different, especially modern women. What does it take to change the colour of our hair? Change the shape of the eyebrows, nose, lips? And why should this new, renewed woman have the same scent? To me, on the contrary, a woman should have different scents. There was a time when I was attached to one scent, now I can’t understand what I liked about it. In my opinion, what is appropriate for the evening is not always appropriate for the daytime. A perfume that’s used for office is not always appropriate for the evening. Myth two: if you can’t smell the perfume on you, it means it really suits you. This isn’t right. You choose the perfume for yourself, in the end you spend money on it. And first of all, this fragrance should give pleasure to you, and not to people around you.
Ms Gaeva takes criticism easy and admits that there are always those who really like the new fragrance, and those who do not like it at all. This is a healthy balance.
I keep every perfume I’ve ever created in small doses, even the ones that did not turn out well or the ones I didn’t like. They give me new thoughts and ideas. I probably wouldn’t offer them to anyone, but for me they are important. Most often, new scents are tested by my friends. They always used to praise me, which on one hand felt very nice, on the other, it seemed that they did it on purpose, so that I wouldn’t get upset. Now they speak my language: “it’s too bitter”, “it’s too sweet.” And I understand what they mean. I listen, of course. I don’t even react to the most stingy testimonials. If there are five people who did not like the smell, there are five others who will like it very much. I once sent one of my perfumes to a collector in USA. He was very pleased. I like feedback and I like listening to the most different reviews.
But Fatima was not always so bold. Until quite recently, she was embarrassed to show her fragrances to others.
I didn’t even want to share it, it seemed to me that it wasn’t serious enough, as I had such a serious technical work. And I guess not many people understand my hobby. Now I have a desire to share, and as much as possible. If there was an opportunity, I would give my perfumes to everybody to hear people’s opinions. I absorb the opinions of others like a sponge. And when people ask me about future plans … I would really like for spirits to be exported from Ossetia not in vodka bottles, but only in perfume bottles. Because for me it’s just plain love. I just have a passion for scents …
Firstly, it’s great if you know the type of the perfume you prefer (oriental, woody, floral, etc.) But if not, not to worry! In this case, we need to establish what you need the perfume for. For example, to emphasize femininity, or status, or maybe to be able to wear it all day in the office and not annoy people around you. This is a very important stage, the more honest you are, the higher the probability of a successful purchase.
Secondly, the budget. Unfortunately, you can’t buy a good perfume for a cheap price. Perfume is not a basic necessity, but a means of luxury. Purchase one bottle of high quality perfume and it will give you jot for a very long time.
At last, do not be afraid of consultants, they are your friends in helping to choose the right perfume! Tell them exactly what you are looking for – for example, ‘I’d like to emphasise my status on a lower price range.’ It would be impossible to smell all the perfumes in a store, after a while your nose will simply refuse to work.
Now to not so obvious, but important points.
90% of the time you will not smell of the perfume you have tried in the store. Learn to choose the fragrance by base notes rather than top notes, which come to life after one or two hours of contact with skin.
You can “take out” four fragrances from a store, on both sides of your wrists and forearms. Remember where you’ve put it, and forget about blotters – you will wear perfume on your skin, not on paper.
When you have free time, try new fragrances. Sometimes you will find new components, which will make the smell more interesting and futuristic, in a year or two the same scent might be reformulated, which might make it less interesting.
And try to go shopping for fragrance on your own. The final decision is yours!