Meet the Maker: Q & A with Natural Perfumer Lisa Brodar
What was the muse that sparked your passion for natural fragrance?
I have always loved fragrance. When I initially started our previous company (Portland General Store), I discovered that even the best quality fragrances are manufactured using synthetic ingredients. Personally, I did not like many of the fragrances that I tried; they smelled synthetic, lasted too long, even gave me headaches. My goal then became to offer a 100% natural fragrance to my customers, as I was convinced that there was a market for a totally natural perfumery. I did research, attended trade shows, and learned how to blend fragrance materials together in order to make perfumes.
How do natural fragrances differ from mainstream products with regard to the quality, scent, and staying power?
My method of perfumery dates back to old school formulary, which was much more simple. Just because the industry is what it is today doesn't mean one should make sacrifices when buying a fragrance that is all natural, or think of it differently. LMS perfumes are something very special, handcrafted with only the highest quality natural ingredients. This production method makes our perfumes something extraordinary, and not "mainstream", which I define as mass produced in a factory using cheaper, synthetic ingredients that are not sourced from nature. When I picture that image of the perfume produced in a factory by machines, it is no longer art.
What are your favorite essential oils to use?
This is always changing as I evolve as a perfumer. With our new line, I am loving Bulgarian Rose, Myrrh, Spearmint, and Cocoa in my perfumery and skincare products. I took a brief break from using Cedar Wood, which I previously used a lot of, and now am coming back to using it in a totally different way.
Describe the process of creating a scent from beginning to end.
My process is a lot like creating art. I have an idea or inspiration depending on what is going on in my life, or possibly a subject of interest, for example, I'm currently inspired by wild lands. I then start blending ingredients together based on an idea and see what path it leads me on. The final perfume often smells similar to my original inspiration, with some surprises.
You often compare creating perfume to creating a work of art rather than a product — what inspired the creation of NEVER SETTLE?
My initial inspiration for NEVER SETTLE was to create a perfume that smelled like my memory of an extraordinary biking trip Troy and I took along the rugged landscape from Finse to Flam in Norway (also where Star Wars was filmed!). My goal was to create a "layered" experience, similar to this journey and many others, where it starts off one way, and ends up another. In the case of NEVER SETTLE, like our bike trip, it starts off bright and enthusiastic, and ends more grounded and softer, similar to the way you know yourself better after a particular journey.
Who do you envision the LMS perfume wearer to be?
Someone who is a perfume aficionado, who wants something out of the ordinary, special, and personal. Someone who appreciates nature and what it produces, believes in aromatherapy, and who also cares about the environment. And of course, someone who wants to smell great.
What is your all time favorite scent?
Rose. It is pretty much perfect.
Click here for tips on Fragrance Layering.