perfume & nostalgia; the story of my life through scents

Lily of the valley reminds me of my Mom. Vanilla will always, always remind me of my friend Eliza. The Body Shop scents all pretty generally remind me of the country house where we spent summers when I was a kid, or my sister. Yes, The Body Shop's Dewberry fragrance is like my teenaged sister in a bottle. Do they still make that? The other smell that snaps me back to idolatry of my older sister is green apple scented Vidal Sassoon hairspray--classy of me, I know.

Smells are the world, to me. I am only now realizing, as an adult who's career is very scent focused, how very much fragrances have been central to me. To most people, I think, but for me they can verge on obsession.

At 5, a little girl in my kindergarten class gave me a bottle of perfume for my birthday, with a big plastic unicorn head for a top. At 13, my friend Nathalie and I used to stand in the aisle of the local pharmacy, unabashedly huffing Calgon's Hawaian Ginger body spray and gushing about it like only 13 year old girls can. I wanted a bottle of it so much that when I finally got one, I rationed it for fear it would run out.Also at 13, my cousin gave me strawberry perfume oil after I babysat. I'll never forget that smell, because one of the first boys I ever liked claimed that because of that magical perfume, I even tasted like strawberries when he kissed me.

And then, at 16, true love. Yeah, yeah, there was a boy. But the important part of the story is that he bought me Davidoff Cool Waters. And I thought it was the most elegant thing I had ever smelled.As I got a little older, in a certain way, the intensity of my experience with fragrances faded. Maybe because I stopped letting them take over, maybe I had less imagination. But then...then the real first chapter of my fragrance story began, when we started Dot & Lil.

The first time I looked at a supplier website, with it's alphabetical listings of available cosmetic fragrance oils and essential oils, I knew I was in trouble. Because I wanted to try them all. Four years later and I can assure you, I'm still working my way through the options available out there, and I have quite the scent collection to prove it! It's like a candy store, for me, and I frequently have to hold myself back from sniffing too many, smelling too much, trying them all. Having a fragrance order on it's way to me is the sweetest anticipation. Just ask my Dad--he's seen me rip into the boxes as soon as I get into the car!

I've been known to shove a bottle of fragrance oil under my boyfriend's nose as he walks through the door, demanding "Do you get a slight green undertone to this? No? What about a touch of honey?" The fact that this is actually part of my job, that all this smelling and sniffing and blending is work? It makes me giggle, it's so good.

I look forward to a lifetime of scents and smells, not only perfumes and soaps and Dot & Lil, but cooking, and flowers, and the smells of the people I love. And now, because of Dot & lil, I get to share it all!

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