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This interview launches our world tour of the niche perfumeries that honored us by becoming retailers of our magazine. For this first stop, we invite you to cross the Atlantic (remember, we are in France!), to Portland (Oregon), near the Canadian border, to discover Fumerie Parfumerie with Tracy Tsefalas and André Gooren.
How did you get into the world of perfume?
My early experiences with fragrance did not extend beyond experimenting with a few essential oil combinations as a teenager. My first real à foray into fragrance did not occur until after I was married. My husband’s family owned a perfume shop that specialized in classic houses such as Guerlain and Caron. I began working alongside my father-in-law, whose passion for perfumery was matched only by his kindness. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to spend more time with him. His passion and excitement eventually opened my eyes to an entirely new world and as I spent more time working with fragrance, my own knowledge began to blossom. The discovery of Habanita by Molinard was a pivotal moment for me. It was the point at which my relationship with fragrance grew into a full-blown passion. I was hooked and I have been working in the fragrance industry ever since.
I tumbled headfirst into the world of perfume after attempting to replace a bottle of perfume that I had received as a gift. After being told by an ill-informed department store clerk that the fragrance was discontinued, I embarked on a journey that ultimately led me to online fragrance forums and opened up a whole new world for me. I began collecting fragrances and voraciously sampling anything I could get my hands on. However, my real passion ended up being fragrance history and genealogy. I spent the next several years sampling thousands of vintage fragrances and building my olfactory memory. I was eventually fortunate enough to find a job at a local fragrance boutique where I met Tracy and the rest, as they say, is history.
According to you, what are the specificities of your shop?
We created a welcoming, cozy space that has the aesthetic of a European parfumerie. The rich woods, dark colors and Our intention was never to be simply a retail store—we always wanted to offer more and to make Fumerie a place where fragrance enthusiasts could gather. To that end we host monthly events ranging from fragrance swaps to meet and greets with perfumers. We also offer our customers access to a library of aroma chemicals and books about fragrance. Of course, Fumerie wouldn’t be Fumerie without fragrance experts—André and me are always happy to lend a hand whether that means offering our recommendations or helping someone find a specific fragrance. Our experience and knowledge make Fumerie what it is.
How do you choose the brands that you sell in your shop?
It became very evident in the last number of years that the artistry was in these small independent fragrance lines and those are the lines that drew our attention. When we were first getting started we contacted over forty houses that we found of interest and asked for samples in order to further explore these scents. We look for inspired creations that focus on quality and skill.
Have you had any crushes this year?
Patchouly – Profumum Roma
Bornéo 1834 – Serge Lutens vintage
Bal à Versailles – Jean Desprez vintage
Baraonda – Nasomatto
Anubis – Papillon
New Sibet – Slumberhouse
Folie à Plusieurs – Duke of Burgundy
J’ai Osé – vintage extrait
Cuir Cannage – Dior
Voulez-vous – Parfum d’Orsay extrait vintage
What perfume do you wear today?
New York – Nicolaï vintage eau de toilette
Diorella – Dior vintage eau de toilette et Mystère – Rochas vintage eau de toilette
What made you choose to sell “Nez” in your shop?
Our good friend Angela Sanders received copies of the first and second editions of Nez after contributing an article for publication in the third edition (Angela wrote the portrait of the brand Arquiste). She brought them in and we were immediately smitten. I spent hours reading what I could of the French and translating the rest with Google translate. For years, both Tracy and I have been on the lookout for a fragrance magazine and Nez is everything we were looking for and more. The articles are beautifully written, thought-provoking and surprising. Perhaps most importantly, Nez tackles big topics; for instance, the special feature in the most recent issue is called The Sex of Scent and tackles “gender, seduction and olfactory attraction through the prism of history, marketing, anthropology, sociology, and biology.” The decision to present fragrance as more than a beauty accessory—as something worthy of intelligent discussion—spoke to us on a visceral level. After all, Fumerie was founded on the same principles.
How do your customers react to Nez?
The reaction to Nez has been phenomenal. We sold out of our initial order in a few days and customer demand hasn’t shown any sign of slowing. Everyone who thumbs through the in-store copy ends up taking their own copy home. There really is something for everyone in Nez: from the informative reviews to the gorgeous infographics to the in-depth special features.