10 questions for Pissara Umavijani - an interview about Dusita perfumes
Today I want to spoil my readers with a post about Dusita fragrances. I have invited Pissara Umavijani, the founder and perfumer of the house, to answer to my questions. I hope you will like it. Enjoy!
1. Hello Pissara! First of all, I would like to ask you what perfume are you wearing at the moment? Why did you choose it today?
Hello :) Today is a special day, I am wearing the vintage Narcisse Noir. Why this is choose this? It was created in 1911, the vintage version is one of the perfumes that I consider a perfection. It is an emotional choice. It made me dream and wanted to become a perfumer.2. If you had to name one favorite note or accord, which one would that be?I have many favorite ingredients but if I have to choose one, it would be an Indian Tuberose Absolute. This scent has a special meaning to be because it reminds me of my father’s voyage to India and Nepal where he would sit quietly near the temple and write poetry. The scent has its mystical charm and beauty, also seductive with a touch of innocence. This as well has inspired me to continue creating perfumes.
3. What do you think about the direction in which the art of perfumery goes today? How would you define niche?
I see many positive changes. More and more people are interested in the art of perfumery. Social media is the channel that allows us to share different point of views about the scents. It has created another kind of relation between the consumers and the brands that we did not have before which also allows the small artisanal brand to be in touch with the market.
What would I define niche? In my humble opinion, I believe that now people who are looking for more exceptional products, started to look into new proposals, offered by the so called Niche perfume.
Therefore there are four dimensions that define ‘niche’
1. The interesting personal story behind the creation, the perfumer and a brand.
2. The exceptional quality of raw materials. I believe that our noses can not lie.
3. The creativity in perfume creation. Can one offers anything different from a brand in the market? In the long run, this is what passionate consumers are looking for. As a consumer, I live a real experience, I feel unique! This is extremely important.
4. Selective distribution: a product that you do not find everywhere but is distributed in a selected places where salespersons are passionate about them.
When you create your brand and your own line, you put not only your passion, but also your soul, and all of your time, you live with it! Then in return there is nothing more gratifying than to put them in the proper hands, the ones that will respect your product as much as you do yourself, that will nurture it, take great care of it.
4. Is it hard to keep your perfumes so unique in a world that is permanently assaulted by rough marketing campaigns which seem to dictate what to wear and what not? Do you feel that something has been lost on the way?
I believe that if we want to create art, our greatest competition is within ourselves. Trends can come and go, but the good perfumes stay. The challenge I give to myself as a perfumer is: how can I do better? My ultimate role models are the ancient perfumes out there. The more I study their accords and compositions, the more I learn…
5. Tell us more about you. When did you know that creating perfumes was what you wanted to do in life? Did a particular moment inspired you to do this?
I grew up in Thailand. My parents worked as professor in the university, so I have a lot of books at home. My passion for perfumery started early when I was young and fortunate enough to grow up in Bangkok, in a beautiful house with a big tropical garden. I was exploring the garden and I loved smelling the soil, the grass after the rain, the exotic flowers, such as the lotus, frangipani and jasmine grandiflorum, the pandan leaves and Champaga flowers. The nature gave me the tranquility of mind.
I believe that love is the most important aspect of our life. I always searched for the thing that I am passionated in. I started self-study in perfumery with a friend and I became very passionate, first as a collector and then, we started to blend perfumes. I did not think of it as my future career at all! In contrary, it is more than just work. I love sitting in a room and start smelling each ingredients. They talk to me…. I smelled the masterpieces in the past and I dream even more.
There is also another dream that I wanted to achieve, I would like to capture the poetry of my father (Montri Umavijani) into scents. This is how my love story with the perfume begins. This is how I decided to develop my own perfume, which turned in the end to be Parfums Dusita.
6. Can you share with us your first memory about perfume?
The memory clinged around the members of my family back in Thailand. My very first smell is the 4711 Eau de Cologne that my grandmother loved to wear. I remember how sharp and lively the bergamot, with a touch of lavender and piney rosemary. My father loved to wear “Fidji” and bought “Mitzouko” for my mother. I remember smelling Fidji on my father when I was sitting on his lab. My beloved aunt loved to wear Nina Ricci’s l’Air du Temps. I associated everyone in my family by the trail of their perfume!
7. Where do you find inspiration? Is nature your muse? Or art? Do you find inspiration within your own memories?
I believe that inspiration is everywhere...in different aspects of life. To be creative, I believe one must take care of body and spirit in order to perceive and appreciate life.I am fortunate enough to live in Paris: I love to be in nature, whenever I have free time, I would do the long bike ride outside Paris to breath in nature and just empty my mind. I found that extreme sports can do that. It is also the means to meditate.
I found also inspiration in poetry and arts. Other than my father’s work, I love the work of Kenneth Rexroth ‘The Love Poems of Marichiko’ :
Some day in six inches of
Ashes will be all
That's left of our passionate minds,
Of all the world created
By our love, its originAnd passing away.
8. How do you want your creations to be perceived by people?
People are free to interpret the scents according to their own perception and experiences. They don’t need to like everything but I hope that at least a perfume that I created that can evoke their childhood, the feeling of love and happiness or freedom.
9. If you had a time machine, is there a perfumer you would like to meet from the past?
There are many! I always admire Edmond Roudnitska as the greatest perfumer of our time! I had a chance to visit his home and his garden. It would be nice to just talk to him in person and perhaps be his lab assistant!I also highly admire GERMAINE CELLIER for her brevity and revolutionary creations!
10. What makes your perfumes special? Why would someone try Dusita?
All the Dusita creations made from my heart, it is not only my passion, but it is the love of a daughter to her father, someone who has devoted his life to poetry. I am just someone who has certain dreams and I believe that investing in a good raw materials and time for creating formulations are the most important ingredients.