Yosh Han, The Magic of Custom Scents
"Magic is the only way I can that of to explain ... There's an emotional shift that happens when find you something that really resonates," Han said recently in a telephone interview.
Through her San Francisco-based company bearing her name, Yosh, Han creates scents personalized for the people who come to see her. Han said custom fragrances are so specifically designed for an individual client that they will always smell best on the person they are created for.
"It really is a custom experience for that individual," Han said.
The artisan perfumer picked by someone seeking a custom fragrance will determine the process in which it is created. Some perfumers begin their process by asking clients a series of questions about their likes and dislikes as well as their background.
Han, who has been blending fragrances for 17 years and has had her company for 7, said her process of creating custom scent is different from the average perfumer.
With most of her clients in what she describes as a "transitional period" in their life, Han likes to use intuition to create a scent specific to where her clients are in that moment, rather than to "where they've been."
Those who come seeking a custom fragrance begin the process by smelling up to 100 different ingredients or scents. While clients have the option to look at the labels on the bottle to know what they are smelling, Han recommends smelling blindly because she feels seeing a label can skew the process. Many times people end up liking scents they wouldn't expect to.
"Smelling things from a blank slate is the most important factor," Han said.
Han said when someone likes a fragrance or a scent, their whole body shows it.
"That really gives a really clear picture of who you are," she said.
During the process of editing and finalizing the fragrance, clients will sometimes answer questions such as what kind of fabric or food they like, what hobbies or sports are their favorite, or whether they prefer Macs or PCs in order to help the creative process.
When looking for an artisan perfumer to create a custom scent, Han said it's important for the person desiring the fragrance to choose a perfumer that fits his or her own needs and style. Artisan perfumers range from avant-garde or "edgy" perfumers, to organic perfumers, to French perfumers, to new age perfumers who use birth dates and star charts to help create custom fragrances.
"It depends on your passion, what you want your end result to be," she said.
Before meeting with an artisan perfumer, have an idea about what time of day - daytime or evening - the scent will be worn.
But Han said the most important thing is to come to a meeting with a perfumer with "an open mind and open heart." She said when clients come in with a fixed idea in their head, it takes them longer to create a scent.
Most people spend about 1 1/2 to five hours working with an artisan perfumer to create their customized scent, depending on the perfumer. Working with a perfumer in France can take several months because of the depth of time involved.
Custom fragrances have wide range in cost, from scents developed at mall-based stores such as The Body Shop at a cost of less than $50 to the 40,000 euro cost of a French perfumer. The average boutique charges $500 to $5,000, Han said.
For more information on Han, visit eaudeyosh.com.
This post was contributed via Seed.com, AOL's new platform for freelance writers.