My mom is a fan of perfume and I remember moments from my childhood when I followed her to perfume shops in malls and airports to try scents.
The options available to him were largely Western brands that released seasonal scents such as spring, summer, and winter. Of course, the big names were DIOR, Chanel, Gucci, and so on. When you think of perfume brands, it’s likely that your mind makes them appear as well.
This dominance in the world of perfumery was something that Haziq and Samir also noticed. Local brands also did not try to compete with the larger ones, preferring to reformulate and repackage the same scents to sell them cheaper.
The duo realized that, entering perfumery, they wanted to make a name for themselves. They wanted to create a line of timeless perfumes that weren’t within the seasonal categorizations.
But what exactly could they create? For the answer, they took advantage of their love for dessert.
Incorporation of experts
You can make a simple perfume from scratch at home, but Haziq and Samir had bigger ambitions Pastry perfumes. They were trying to make perfumes that smelled like popular pastry and needed the right facilities and people.
Fortunately, Samir owns a third-generation company of Jamal Kazura Aromatics, an 88-year-old perfume house in Singapore. It was built in Malaya, when Singapore and Malaysia were still so, and currently has a solid network spanning all of Asia and the Middle East.
Partnering with the perfume house was what helped the pastry perfumes reach the floor. But after securing the facilities, they still lacked someone with experience in creating pastry.
That’s how he came in Chef Fazley Yaakob, who had completed her higher pastry studies at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Those who are familiar with the entertainment scene in Malaysia may also know him as a musician and actor and as the winner of the first season of MasterChef Celebrity Malaysia.
Gourmand perfumes are not new to the world of perfumery, but it is a very niche concept that had not yet entered this corner of the world.
After a discussion, the trio decided it was time to change. Before officially establishing Pastry Perfumes, they launched their first fragrance, Strawberry Vanilla Cupcake, to test market demand and sold out in 3 weeks.
Following this indication of interest, they made the brand official and launched 2 more perfumes: Berry Brûlée and Lemon Meringue. Today, these are the 3 main perfumes on offer.
More than putting ingredients together
I’m used to floral, fruity or smoky perfumes, but I can’t easily wrap my head around how to create an aroma that mimics a pastry in a 30ml bottle.
Haziq and Samir broke their R&D process for me. First, they determine what pastry aroma they want to create based on customer feedback or what their team has identified is exciting according to market trends.
Then comes the brainstorming to identify the notes of the perfume. These notes are different layers of perfume that make up the final fragrance.
They can be divided into 3 different elements: head notes, heart notes and base notes. Each item indicates what odors can be perceived with respect to the time after the application of a perfume.
With the notes identified, they must decide the proportion of each ingredient to form the perfume oil.
Haziq and Samir shared, “The challenge here is that we’re trying to create a fine fragrance, without people literally smelling like a real pastry.”
“For example, we can’t just take the literal ingredients of a berry brûlée to make the perfume: vanilla + berry + sugar. We have to think of many complex and even subtle notes that will enhance a certain scent while softening others.
Needless to say, rigorous testing is done to achieve such a precise balance. After making several variations of a pastry aroma, they go through a removal process.
The team’s perfumery experts determine which ones maintain the quality of a fine fragrance, Chef Fazley evaluates the notes based on their pastry experience, and finally, comments from existing and potential customers ensure they release a truly desired perfume.
“The scoring metrics we examine involve the smell closest to the pastry and what makes the smell better to our customers, meaning they would like to take them,” the duo shared.
Not testers, but “tasters”
Most Pastry Perfumes customers are women in their early 20s and late 30s, and the brand has seen a 25% month-on-month sales growth rate. In 3 months, the company that started got a 6-figure revenue.
But getting to this point was not an easy process. Perfume is usually bought after tasting odors in the store, but the pandemic made it impossible. How should Pastisseria customers be convinced, especially because it was a new brand with an unknown product concept?
Haziq and Samir first underlined the images of their products. For example, a list of perfumes instead would have pictures of the ingredients used, as well as the pastry it represents. This way, potential customers could imagine the fragrance more easily.
The turning point that increased its sales, however, was the launch of its Taster set. With it, guests can enjoy the 3 perfumes in 2.5 ml bottles adapted to travel.
“This is how most of our new customers usually make their first purchase and eventually re-purchase their favorite perfume in a 30ml size,” Haziq and Samir shared.
Thanks to their direct consumer model, they have received more than positive feedback. Some clients have asked them if they could turn fragrances into lotions, lip balms and even body washes.
Although the brand is only one year old, Haziq and Samir are already looking forward to expanding their product range into the fragrance-based personal care space, as customers have requested.
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Featured Image Credit: Pastry Perfumes