Perfume has always been deeply personal and transportive. (Just purview writings on fragrances to get a whiff of such – a Chanel N°5 can go from being described as “a sparkling drink on summer’s day”, to smelling like “rolling around on crisp white sheets in a silk nightgown.”) It is this ability to give us magic, even in the most mundane of moments, that has made it particularly pandemic-proof.
And even as the pandemic plods on, the desirability of bespoke fragrances lingers. After all, we wear fragrances for the delight in wearing it for ourselves, not just to attract others, contrary to what age-old wisdom suggests – so it would only make sense to create a scent that is uniquely our own. Enter Maison21G Paris. A perfumery house that offers the experience of creating customised blends of scents according to your personal preferences, it has since expanded rapidly over the past year, with plans for global expansion.
“It’s the same as going to the restaurant… You can’t impose on every guest to take beef. What if I don’t like beef?” says French founder Johanna Monange, who made Maison21G’s debut with a boutique in Duxton Hill, Singapore, in 2019. “We first discover what you like or don’t like, how to pair our scents with other scents, and for what occasion it is perfect for.” This comes unlike traditional perfume marketing, where brands will convince you to buy a perfume with lots of advertising, she says. “Instead of pushing things onto people, I prefer to understand who you are and guide you to create your own perfume. We’re just here to teach you and transmit our knowledge as scent designers.”
What attracted you to the world of perfumes?
It was purely by chance. Usually, you come from a family of perfumers in France, transmitted from father to son. For me, I studied international business and I was deeply passionate about discovering new cultures, which led me to go to China in the last year of my masters to study at the University of International Business and Economy (UIBE) in Beijing. After graduation, I found a job under a company called Mane, one of the last prestigious French perfume houses, and trained at their Grasse perfumery school for two years. I learnt about raw materials, how to recognise a palette of 2000 molecules and essences to create iconic accords in South of France, in Grasse. I was surrounded by people who were very passionate about perfumery, and I fell in love since. Since 22 years ago, when I entered the perfumery world, I never exited. When you touch this world, it’s impossible to step away from it, it is so addictive.
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