Parfumo's Blog
10 months ago - 04.04.2022
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“Focused on the Process of Building” – An Exclusive Interview with Ethan Turner from MOI Fragrances

Ethan Turner is a distinguished African-American Perfumer and Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. During his time there he fostered an interest in the olfactive sense and began studying perfumery, wine, and the sense of smell at the age of 19. To date, he has developed over 250 unique bespoke formulas and is the nose behind Anuri à La PlageAnuri à La Plage . We asked him a few questions

Every brand has an interesting story to tell behind its foundation. What inspired the start of MOI Fragrances?

After nearly a decade working in the restaurant industry, our founder Ethan Turner wanted a change. During that period, he ventured out to find a new career, style, and life. In addition to the search for a new style, he wanted a new fragrance. For many years, Ethan had been searching for a smokey, peaty, earthy, and bold fragrance. One day, while searching, he decided he was unsatisfied with the limited options from niche and luxury brands and would start making his own personal fragrances.

His friend, Emeka Ukaga, sitting nearby, offered to pay Ethan if he built a custom fragrance for him as well. With that said, Ethan knew there was a business to be made. The name Moi was born and the idea of providing every individual the opportunity to own their own cologne became the founding principal of the company.

Tell us about a time when MOI Fragrances faced a creative challenge and how it was eventually overcome.

One of the most significant challenges was balancing order volume with expertise. Our brand initially started with fragrance oils and essential oils, and I had no clue of what it meant to use aroma chemicals. Eventually demand increased, but I had a desire to continue pursuing mastery of my craft. I began replacing my fragrance oils with aroma chemicals, and practiced building daily. I reached a point where my inventory of ingredients was nearly 300.

How do you translate your passion in each of your fragrances?

My passion is to help tell stories, and to help other people’s stories be heard. My passion is always focused on the process of building, while the passion of my bespoke clients is the true backbone of the fragrances I build. I’ve always had a love for helping people reach their full potential, and this is translated directly into my brand.

We’d love to know more about your personal favorite! What makes it so special?

My personal favorite has to be Anuri à La PlageAnuri à La Plage. The story behind the fragrance is personal, and the outcome is beautiful. It is unique, juicy but aquatic, fresh but woody, soft but sharp. When I look at the fragrance. It tells the story of different cultures within the same diaspora experiencing two different experiences in the same story.

The infinite world of fragrances is often faced with fierce competition, what is the list of criteria a perfumer needs to meet before they’re deemed successful?

There are 3 components that I believe are necessary for a perfumer to be considered successful. I believe the first step is self-awareness. Success is a matter of accomplishing the goals that they have set for themselves. If a perfumer has a goal of creating a mass appealing fragrance, then that is wonderful, if a perfumer has a goal of creating niche fragrances, that is just as good. The key though, is knowing what you want out of perfumery and that is a matter of self-awareness. The second is empathy. You have to understand your clients and market. Who are they, what do they want, where do they go, what are the pains and possibilities for each person. I love to know the type of music they listen to, their upbringing and origin stories, favorite colors, and then finally the fragrance categories they enjoy. With an empathetic perspective you are able to create fragrances that tell stories that your clients and market can empathize with. It’s not just about scents, its about really enjoying the spray and calling back memories every time. The last component is craftsmanship. Your craft is the key to how you tell stories. Just like a painter cares about the type of paint, from brand to shade, so should a perfumer care about their materials, the location, and how they work. It takes practice to understand every material and how each of them work independently and in unity. Sometimes its having a mastery of the science, and sometimes its having a mastery of the art. I think many perfumers are very focused on craftsmanship and forget that the craftsmanship has a purpose of telling compelling stories. Painters and writers aim to share experiences in a fragrance, and so should perfumers. A story is successful based those who are listening, reading, watching, or in our case smelling. With all three components I believe you can reach a mastery of the craft and any person can look at you and say, “This is a successful perfumer.”

Moi Fragrances Website:

Last updated 05.04.2022 - 06:07 PM
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