“The production of medicines and perfumes are related industries” – Style – Kommersant

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The art of perfumery today can be learned not only in France, but also in Russia. We talked with the founders of perfume schools, about how they got into the profession, whether the working conditions have changed recently and whether there is still a demand in our country for such an ephemeral specialty as a perfumer.

Anna Agurina, perfumer, creator of the Perfume Project (Moscow).

— I am an organic chemist by education, and after graduating from university I worked at a Russian pharmaceutical company, and after that at PUIG, where I accidentally got into the magical world of perfumery and wanted to learn how to make perfumes on my own. In 2012, I studied at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery, where I now work part-time as a teacher.

— There are few worthy perfumery schools in Russia. It may seem like boasting, but the most professional perfume courses in Russian are made by us at the Perfume Project, under the auspices of the Grasse Institute: the first three training modules are held in Moscow, and the fourth in Grasse. This training allows you to understand the principles of technical perfumery, and this knowledge is enough to start working on your own. However, otherwise it is a matter of practice, that is, the amount of time spent by the student on tasks and composing chords. The best perfumery schools in the world are internships that are created within the perfume companies themselves (IFF, Firmenich, Robertet), but you can get there only if you already work in this company and they see potential in you.

– The essence of learning perfumery is memorizing aromatic substances, and then working out the principles of mixing them in practice. To study well and become a perfumer, you need to have three qualities: analytical skills (the ability to analyze the formula and understand how to improve it), will (the sense of smell can be developed, but this requires a lot of practice with essential oils and synthetic molecules), creative thinking (without it ideas will not appear, and without an idea, as you know, there is nothing).

– Studying on one module for 5 days on courses from the Grasse Institute in Moscow costs 1500 euros. This amount includes 35 teaching hours and all materials and substances necessary for work in the classroom.

– Finding a job after training is real, but difficult. This is due to the fact that there are no perfume industries in Russia. All perfumes that are produced in Russia are actually produced in France or Turkey, and in Russia they are only diluted with alcohol. Therefore, most of our graduates create their own brands.

Among our graduates are Maria Golovina (Holynose), Maria Molchanova (Mayne), Ekaterina Zinchenko (Puresense), Yulia Vinogradova (Metaphysica Parfums), Yaroslav Simonov (Fakoshima), Polina Kazakova (Vdohni).

– In the near future, I would like to make a collection of talisman spirits dedicated to one literary work. And the school plans to develop the direction of perfume marketing. As it turned out, there is no such expertise in Russia, but there is a demand for quality education.

Elina Arsenyeva, founder of the School of Perfumers (St. Petersburg)

— It all started with the fact that I wanted to find meaning in collecting fragrances. Therefore, I first opened a museum, then I found a wonderful use for it – to give future perfumers the opportunity to develop on the basis of the works of classical masters. In general, I am interested in working on creating an industry where anyone can go to a perfumer easily, like a beauty salon or a dentist.

— In preparing perfumers for work in the industry, foreign schools have no equal, there are no similar ones in Russia. These are the Givaudan, ISIPCA, GIP (Grasse Institute of Perfumery) schools. I was surprised to learn that foreign schools do not pay much attention to the study of the classics. According to my colleagues who happened to study at the Grasse Institute: “Why? It is gone forever, and no one will ever need this legacy.” I can understand them, they argue from the standpoint of preparing craftsmen for factories, for the stream. It’s the right thing, but I wanted to fill another niche. And in this niche, half of the customers want “perfume as before.” I also did not see that foreign schools taught the specifics of souvenir fragrances or taught how to conduct perfume shows. In this regard, our programs give them a head start.

– There are three major blocks in our training program: studying the classics on exhibits from the Perfume Museum, practicing creating fragrances in different directions, working with clients and launching our own project. Training costs 360,000 rubles for 75 lessons (9 months, more than 230 astronomical hours). This amount includes overhead, raw materials, teaching materials, museum exhibits, my time, intellectual labor and talent. In our work we use professional perfumery ingredients, mostly imported. In Russia, most of them are not produced or do not grow, if we are talking about natural raw materials. So far there have been no difficulties, but I will not undertake to judge the future. However, suddenly the Kaluga Combine will be revived? The one that supplied raw materials to Soviet perfumers. No matter how life turns, I think that there are no bad components – there are crooked hands.

– After my school, you don’t need to look for a job! Training is designed for those who open their own business, and not find a job. These are the students I select for interviews. Among the most famous graduates of the school are Oksana Chernyshova, President of the Guild of Perfumers (St. Petersburg), Irina Vaganova, Perfumery Fashion House, Nikolai Eremin (Nimere Parfums), Yan Frolov, Valery Mikhalitsyn, Elizaveta Tomilova (Veta Perfume), Irina Levada ( Levada Perfume), Tamara Trotsko (TamaRa).

Veronika Brukhovetskaya, perfumer, aromapsychologist, author of the book Aromas of Emotions, founder of the Aromaobrazschool School of Perfumery Art and Aromapsychology (Moscow)

– I came into the profession through work as a classical psychologist, then I began to connect aromas to practice, and for the first three years I worked exclusively with natural ingredients. Then corporate customers appeared and, as in any business, it was necessary to provide solutions with an adequate cost, and with natural raw materials it is impossible to do this on a scale. I studied perfumery in Florence with Lorenzo Villoresi, took private lessons in perfumery in Grasse, and then decided to create my own perfume atelier.

– Now there are many schools in different countries, and in America, and in England, and in France – each of them has its own approach. I’m all for trying everything and developing my own style. In my opinion, a true master never stops learning, there is always room to move. One of my favorite teachers is Roger Dove, who is now chairman of The Fragrance Foundation, a perfume club in London, of which we are members.

— I train perfumers and aromapsychologists, I teach not only professional skills, but also how to build your own business. The training program is divided into several stages, at the first stage we get acquainted with the theory, then we move on to practice, I devote a lot of time in my programs to developing practical skills, each student has the opportunity to come to our perfume studio and work on “live” projects. Now we are developing a new market, we have opened in the United Arab Emirates, one of my graduates Anna Zharova, a very talented professional, is now working in Moscow. Coming to us for training, there are several options for developing a professional path: learn for yourself, learn and open your own business, learn and stay to work in our team, provided that we fundamentally match in values. Training costs from 350,000 rubles, it consists of mastering skills and for each course, a set of necessary materials is attached, you do not need to look for anything else and buy anything. Our graduates are already opening their own business projects, and I am very proud that each of them can work absolutely calmly at the world level.

Natalia Svetlaya, EcoParfum School of Perfumers (St. Petersburg)

— I am a chemist-biotechnologist by education, I worked in pharmaceutical industries, and in 2009 I decided to become a perfumer. The production of medicines and perfumes are closely related industries, the technology in perfumery is much simpler than in pharmaceuticals.

— Our training program is close to the program of the school of perfumers in Grasse. The difference is that we do not teach how to design perfumes, but immediately create perfumes. Compared to an art school, we do not teach how to create paints, but immediately teach how to paint pictures. We study organic chemistry exactly to the extent that is really necessary. Unlike ISIPCA, we do not train chemists for the synthesis of aromatic substances, we do not study the technology for the production of fragrances for cosmetics and fragrances. At our school, the only direction is perfumery.

— We train private perfumers who, immediately after graduation, open their own business: establish a perfumery studio, conduct creative workshops, create personal perfumes to order, or produce and sell perfumes under a personal brand. The training program consists of three parts: the development of olfactory memory, the creation of perfumes of different families, the study of the basics of aromatherapy and aromapsychology. The training ends with recommendations on how to start a private practice. The cost is from 85,000 to 165,000 rubles, depending on the format of training. The graduate receives a certificate of completion. Not a single university issues a state-recognised diploma in our country. There is no such direction of preparation and this is a common world practice, perfumers have always passed on knowledge and experience from master to student.

— The most famous graduates of the school are Anna Borisova (ANNA BORISOVA Parfum), Nikita Kharlashin (VDOT), Natalia Vitkovskaya (Incarna parfums), Denis Leonov (DLLD Author’s Perfume Atelier), Anatoly Korzanov (DAntolParfums), Margarita Startseva (Agape Perfume Atelier).

Natalia Semenova, founder and head of the Higher School of Image and Style and trend-bureau BonoModo, fashion analyst, stylist-image maker (Yekaterinburg)

Our school has been in existence since 2011. We are preparing everyone who wants to learn perfumery, regardless of age and experience. Usually our students are people who want to start a new path in their lives or expand their horizons. Graduates of the course can work in various fields related to perfumery and fragrances. For example, as aroma stylists in shops and boutiques, helping customers choose fragrances, or in perfume companies, creating new fragrances and perfume compositions. Another possible career path for graduates is to create their own perfume line or brand. The final result depends on the level of training, the efforts of the graduate, as well as on the labor market.

– The curriculum at the school includes theoretical and practical classes. We study the history of perfumery, the classification of fragrances, the main brands, the structure of fragrance, the laws of composition of perfume compositions. We also have a large practice block where students create their own fragrances and learn how to select fragrances for clients.

The cost of training is 30,000 rubles, this amount includes all the materials that will be needed for training and performing practical tasks.

In our work, we use various essential oils, fragrances, perfume components and other ingredients that are used in the production of perfumes.

Interviewed by Irina Kirienko

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