Today I have a few words from Olivia Larson, who creates all natural, plant based perfumes in small batches for her line La Fleur by Livvy. Olivia started La Fleur by Livvy in 2013 and like an increasing number of perfumers is self taught. She resides in Colorado but spent her formative years in India. I’m really happy that she agreed to answer a few questions as I have a growing interest not only in American Indie perfumers but also in natural fragrances, a whole other area of perfumery just waiting for my nose to explore. This range is one of the first natural lines I’ve encountered from the United States.
Olivia’s website offers a lovely tale of her scented childhood memories.
“Memories of my childhood in India: of Indian women in the market place with fragrant jasmine garlands in their hair. The scent of attars, tuber roses, rose waters, and sandalwood incense sticks wafting through the air as they burn. The various flowers that bloomed at night, the smell of earth after it rained on a hot summer day. The smell of fresh mint leaves being crushed into juice at a vendor’s stall. The frangipani (plumeria) flowers which grew outside by my grandmother’s bedroom window. “
I have to say that I wish my childhood memories were this fragrant. It sounds like the most beautiful perfume right there. Next up on the blog will be a Quick Sniff post on La Fleur by Livvy perfumes but first I thought I’d email a few questions to Olivia and thankfully she took the time to answer them. So read on to discover more about her perfumes, inspiration and creations. You can take a look at her website where you can find details of her perfume range.
What lured you into the world of perfume?
“I adore floral aromatics and I’m drawn to them in particular. The power of scent is magical and captivating. Certain smells are tied to my memory and transport me to my cherished times.”
Why natural perfumes?
“I am intrigued by the scents and holistic benefits of botanicals and essential oils and believe that there is a market for natural perfumes. I wanted to create a plant based line using what nature has to offer.”
For readers that aren’t aware of natural perfumes, could you explain what this means and how is the experience similar / different to wearing perfumes with synthetics?
“First of all I love how natural perfumes evolve on your skin making it truly a soft and intimate experience, working with your own body chemistry. They last a shorter time before fading gradually and do not last as long compared to synthetic perfumes which contain chemical extenders. Synthetic ingredients are less expensive compared to natural ingredients but the power of essential oils and smelling the real thing is what I love most.”
What sort of feeling did you want to create with your perfumes?
“The feeling that I want to create is a feeling of happiness and confidence. Of lost memories found, of journeys to be experienced. I love that many people get all nostalgic and share stories of how a particular perfume of mine reminds them of someone special to them or of a time in their lives they can remember that they once forgot. Scent is tied to memory so it’s an important aspect.”
Where do you look for inspiration?
“My inspiration comes from various art forms such as cooking, wines, painting, literature, travel, fashion, from the world around me, and from nature.”
What are your preferred smells in nature?
“Hmmm.. It’s difficult to narrow down but I would have to say that I do enjoy the smell of the damp earth after it rains, fresh sea breeze, walking through a forest of pine and evergreens and always stopping to smell the flowers.”
Would you say you have a style or a signature in your work? If so, how would you describe it.
“I would say it is a blend of East meets West scents.”
When you create a perfume, is an idea already formed and you work to create this, or does something else happen?
“Yes, it starts with an idea or something special that draws my attention, then it intrigues me and I dig more until I decide that I want to play with that idea or concept and it consumes me and I become obsessed and passionate about creating a perfume.”
How would you describe a typical customer of La Fleur by Livvy?
“A typical La Fleur customer is someone who experiences the magic and power of scent.”
Which perfume from your collection do you like the most and why?
“Fleur de’ Mystere; because I am not a fan of patchouli as it smells by itself too pungent for me, so I wanted to challenge myself and work with patchouli and create something that I would then appreciate its powerfulness so created Fleur de’ Mystere which also has sandalwood, geranium, rose amongst other things. This is my favorite so far.”
What do you see in the future for La Fleur by Livvy?
“Big things of course! Being a perfectionist I constantly strive hard so I am always looking at making my craft better and have many ideas that I want to work on. I also foresee La Fleur by Livvy being able to give back more to those less fortunate in life. I am eager to travel and source more ingredients from farmers directly and from other parts of the world. I am also interested in wild crafting.”
OK readers I’ll be honest here and say that I really didn’t know what wild crafting is so I asked Olivia for some clarification. “Wild crafting is when you collect materials i.e. juniper berries and make a tincture or use them in a fragrance.”
Can you tell us about any new perfumes you are working on?
“Yes, I do have a collection of perfumes that I am currently working on which I plan on launching sometime this year.”
Thank you to Olivia for answering these questions. And next up you can read more about Olivia’s perfumes in the La Fleur by Livvy range.
Note : Images : Featured and Olivia in dress from La Fleur by Livvy : Photo of Olivia in T-shirt from Fragrantica