July 2007 Issue
Sweet Smell of Success
Maybe it's too much to call it an indignity, that process of trying to find the perfect scent at a department store's perfume counter.
Still, does it have to be such a hassle? First, there's the experience of smelling soothing aromas to a backdrop of elevator music and rowdy kids. Then, in order to find the right perfume, you have to navigate a minefield of tester bottles with contents ranging from fragrant to foul.
Thankfully, there's a better way.
At Le Studio des Parfums in Tipp City and Cincinnati, visitors enter custom-perfume-creation studios to construct their own signature scents out of essences imported directly from France's oldest and most renowned perfumery, Galimard. During a two-hour workshop, guests use beakers, test tubes and their choice of 140 essences to create a personalized perfume - ultimately even choosing their own decorative bottle and name for the fragrance - while under the watchful eye of "blending artists." Yvonne Lemming and Ellen Linkmeyer, owners of the Tipp City shop, made several trips to train under master craftsmen at the 260-year-old Galimard factory in Grasse, France.
"We knew that if we were going to have this business, we needed to learn how to do it the right way and from the best people," says Lemming.
The women discovered their mutual love of fragrances when they met as 18-year-olds at the Miami Valley School of Nursing and became fast friends. But it was later, while visiting a Galimard-affiliated perfume shop during a trip to Indiana, that the duo decided to turn their passion into a profession.
"There are other places where you can mix a few scents together," says Lemming. "But Galimard is the only company in the world that lets people act like a real perfumer, layering all the different notes of a scent."
Joan Patel, owner of the Cincinnati shop, was inspired to teach Ohioans how to identify the traits of a harmonious eau de parfum after visiting the France factory in 2005.
Now, "we're booked nearly every weekend," says Patel, noting that she recently held a lively in-store party for a group of Procter & Gamble employees.
And both stores offer a sanctuary in which to make the perfume: Visitors are surrounded by hard-to-find Galimard products - with hardly a rowdy kid in sight. 104 W. Main St., Tipp City, 937/667-2500, www.studiogalimarddayton.com
; 3218 Madison Rd., Cincinnati, 513/321-7273, www.studiogalimardcinci.com