Christi Long is the founder of Facebook group Eau My Soul, which was formed with the aim of being a safe place for perfume lovers to express their views among a positive and friendly membership. Reaching over six thousand members from all over the world, including influencers and perfumers, the group goes from strength to strength. Christi took time out to answer our five questions.
What perfume question do you get asked most often?
I get asked “what is your favorite perfume of all time” more than any other question. It’s impossible to answer, and I usually refuse to even try. I can’t even narrow it down to a top 10. But…if I was being sent to a deserted island for a year and forced to choose only one perfume to bring along, I would probably choose Chanel No 5.
What’s your first scent memory?
My first scent memory, or at least the most vivid, is Jungle Gardenia by Tuvache. I was literally just a baby when I first smelled it and I can recall the scent and how I felt, when all I could do was hold the cap and sniff. My mother had a bottle but wore it only for special occasions. She held the cap up to my nose to let me smell it and she said my eyes got big as saucers. After that, when she would go near the dresser where the bottle was, I would raise my arms up and make those “gimme, gimme” grabbing motions with my hands. So she would take the cap off and let me hold it and sniff. Until I tried to eat it of course and then she would have to put it back on the bottle. But I sniffed this bottle and cap until I was a teenager so it’s definitely implanted in my brain.
What was the first fragrance you bought?
My parents bought all of my perfumes for me until I was 18 and working myself, and the first I can recall purchasing with my own money was Fendi. It was my signature scent for a few years and when I smell it now I am instantly transported back to that period in my life. I bought a Fendi handbag around the same time and I remember just sitting and staring at it, so proud that I bought it with my own money. When I smell Fendi today, I immediately think of that handbag and how I finally felt like somewhat of a “real” adult.
What does fragrance mean to you?
While many fragrances are very meaningful to me, I really only think of fragrance in terms of scent. Simply, do I like how this smells? Does it make me feel good when I wear it? I don’t set out to find any meaning, I just look for things that I like to smell. It’s usually by accident or nostalgia that a fragrance provokes something beyond the scent. But fragrance is my hobby and passion and it has brought some wonderful people into my life from all over the world, and it has allowed me to learn so many things about different cultures. So fragrance is very meaningful to me for this reason.
What do you think the fragrance industry needs in the future?
Kindness. I say this not because it’s not a kind industry, some of the kindest, most selfless and giving people I have ever known have come into my life through fragrance. But I would love to see more conscientiousness from the perfume makers, such as avoiding materials that create unnecessary cruelty toward animals, all just for a “scent”. There are so many wonderful alternatives, it simply isn’t necessary to hurt an animal so we can smell a certain way.
I think the industry has made huge improvements in this area and they should be applauded. I still think we could do a little more. Outside of that, I think what the fragrance industry needs is less fragrance. There is just too much, too many releases, too much of the same, too many brands, and it’s killing the magic.
Niche perfume started out as something that felt smaller and more unique and special. Now it’s being heavily commercialized because of Instagram and Youtube and not much feels like real “niche” today. Some of the indie perfume feels more heavily promoted than designers. And designers crank out endless releases trying to compete with what the niche market has taken away from them. So what we have now is simply too much competition and too much perfume. I just wish everyone would slow down, take some time, sip some lemonade, chill in a hammock, and take it a little more easy. It’s not a race…..just slow down and make some magic.