July 18, 2013
Heather Kaufman of Jolie Laide Perfumes
I was born in San Francisco and grew up in Mill Valley, 15 minutes north. My father was a native San Franciscan going back for several generations and my mother immigrated from Nova Scotia when she was 18. Mill Valley was a bucolic place to grow up. I was surrounded by trees, mountains, and marshes. A creek ran past our backyard, filled with fish and birds and the scent of wild fennel drifted in from the banks. A large wisteria tree commanded our patio, while nearby, a fragrant acacia tree drove my father mad with allergies. As a child, I had an innate curiosity about scents. Taking an interest in plants and flowers, I learned their names from my mother. Later, I found I could pick out subtle fragrances in wine, food and in nature and identify them. Eventually, my interests lead me to essential oils, and about 7 years ago, to Mandy Aftel, whom I’ve studied with to become a natural perfumer.
Heather and her Mom
I've created Jolie Laide Perfume, a botanical perfume line that embraces the intricacies of nature. A French phrase meaning unconventional beauty, my perfume combines natural scents that are both luscious and odd, coming together in a way that allows each individual to explore their complexities within.
Breathless Movie poster, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg
Each name is taken from a title from the French New Wave, an inventive genre of film that broke conventional barriers and sought to form a new narrative.
What it means to be an American perfumer: American perfumers come to perfume with a beginner’s mind. We don’t seem to be as constrained by the traditions of perfumery as European perfumers might be. There’s a freedom and freshness to our approach. While we pull from traditional perfumery, I find we’re more daring and open with our ideas about it. We’re a younger culture and we take risks both in perfume-making and business. For many of us there’s an emphasis on returning to nature. The entrepreneurial spirit here allows people to pursue these ideas and has allowed for a wide marketplace for artisan perfumers that seem to be burgeoning now. It feels like anything can happen.
Alexander Calder and one of his wire sculpture
My favorite American artist: My favorite artist is sculptor, Alexander Calder. He was a rare breed—a person who could touch the lives of young and old, rich or poor, the everyman. He was quirky, whimsical, and passionate; a prankster, inventor and artist. There is balance and an expression of nature in his work. He loved life and making art. He continued to create up until the time of his death. I’m inspired by his work and his zest for life.
–Heather Kaufman, Founder and Natural Perfumer for Jolie Laide Perfumes
Thanks to Heather we have a draw for your choice of her 100 percent botanical fragrances: 50 ml of Masculin Feminin , Jules et Jim, Baises Vole or A Bout de Souffle. I believe these scents will be new to most of our readers, so please click on the links to learn nore about each of them; they are handmade in small batches and are created with rare raw materials. This is a US only draw.
To be eligible please leave a comment about what you found interesting about Heather's profile and your choice of fragrance. Draw closes July 22, 2013.
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