Today we’d like to introduce you to Jil Croquet.
Hi Jil, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I am what you call a « Nose » in the industry, a.k.a. a Perfume Creator. I was born and raised in beautiful Paris, France and came to America in 2018. After studying at the Institute for Art and Olfaction in L.A., I started to formulate my own blends. Initially, I created perfumes and colognes because I was a bit frustrated with commercial fragrances I found in stores. They were all smelling the same – a light, boring, very sweet floral notes – and not long lasting. So my goals were to develop long-lasting, unique scents. After all, when you are the designer, the good thing is you can design whatever you want! I am also found of artisan products made in small batches with quality in mind. I really think this is the best job in the world, being at sync with your art/product. Think about an instrument maker, a baker, an upholsterer, a plumassier, etc. wouldn’t you love having such a piece instead of one made from a production line? To me, crafters carry a courage, honesty and trust the mass market lack of.
With the support of my friends and family, I decided to launch my brand early 2021, Scent Strip Perfume. As I am living in Pacific Beach, my very first Point of Sale was the PB Farmer’s Market, and I am still there as of today. I am delighted to be able to offer handmade artisan perfumes and colognes locally made in small batch to my community. After only three months, I am also in shops in Oceanside, Carlsbad and New York City!
This project is an amazing adventure for me. I am so glad that people love my work, share their impressions and talk to their friends about my brand. I feel incredibly lucky to be in a community where people are curious, eager to try unique scents and ready to support local small businesses.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It hasn’t been a smooth road, and still not one, but I guess it is never the case for an entrepreneur; a bumpy road is part of the adventure, right! When you do everything yourself at a very small scale, everything is hard; this is also the reason why you learn so much. Some of my biggest issues were to find eco-conscious packaging because it is not the norm in the industry. I truly think the perfume industry could do better on that topic. Some other sectors are really improving their practices, even if, of course, you can and should always do better, but the perfume industry looks a bit slow there.
When I ship and pack products, no plastic or cello-wrapping is used, for instance, I use cardboard boxes and paper sleeve instead. To me, this should be a good practice everywhere, especially for big brands; they should be leading the way because it is not hard to switch; it is more costly, yes, but not hard. Also, suppliers have a big part to play in this. I have screw neck bottles, and these are harder to find! The standard in the industry is crimp. So when you finish your bottle, you throw it away, hopefully in the recycling trash, but you still throw it. With a screw neck, you can actually reuse it. In the future, I plan to develop refill pouches too for a complete experience. I know I am a very small brand, but if I can at my scale do some good, I will; I also sincerely hope bigger brands with bigger impact will choose this path too.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
My favorite part of the job is to develop new fragrances. In each blend, a perfumer is mixing between 50 and 150 different raw materials in various concentration and quantity. An additional drop of this material or that one will completely change the scent profile of the perfume; this is the reason why it takes so long to develop a new fragrance – between four months and one year.
I was so obsessed to find the perfect scent I wanted for Dreamcatcher (one of my height fragrances) that I needed 58 trials to reach out the result I wanted; the perfect balance between fir balsam, fig, lavender, iris and cedarwood. The saddest part is, as a perfumer, you can’t really wear any perfumes, at least when working, as you need the most neutral environment as possible. But it makes me so happy when others wear one of my creations and love it; it really worth it all. I also absolutely love talking to my customers and have their opinions and feedbacks on my fragrances and what they would like to smell next. Fragrances are so personal, and also, the sense of smell is the only one directly linked to the center of emotions and memory in the brain, so people always have a story to share about a scent.
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Lesson 1. Be super flexible and keep learning; bumps on the road will happen; it is actually a good sign to have issues; it means that I am in business, growing, with projects and in a position to seize opportunities!
Lesson 2. Listen to my customers. OMG, this is so important! Doing markets and events is amazing for me; I got to learn what people like, want, are looking for and be present for them. I recently developed a new scent based on customers’ feedbacks and it’s a success. I can’t be grateful enough to my community for providing me input, advice, tips; I couldn’t have done it without them! Learning from my customers is the best thing; I am glad they are willing to share.
- Full size bottles $79
- Discovery Set $42
- Website: www.scentstrip-perfume.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/scent.s.trip.perfume/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scent.s.trip/