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August 02, 2023 4 min read

I am going to start a monthly blog that I will publish on the first Monday of each month (yes, I'm late!) called "Memory Monday" and will be posted on my website (The Scent Guru Group) and my social media sites: Linkedin, (Ruth Sutcliffe) Facebook (Ruth Masayo Sutcliffe) and Twitter (@RuthMasayo). 

Why Memory Monday?:  Many of our memories are triggered by scent.  Perhaps you have heard of the "Proustian Effect" which is a reference to the recovery of the lost past and stimulation of unconscious memories--often triggered by scent?  The term came to be through passages in the Marcel Proust novel, "Remembrance of Things Past"-- translated from French-- "A La Recherche du Temps Perdue" when Proust describes moments with his aunt while dipping a biscuit in tea. So if you have had moments when an aroma is carried in the breeze, captured by your nose that instantly triggered a memory...the Proustian Effect is exactly what you experienced.

Back Story of Featured Image:  The photo is from the 2005 Celine Dion fragrance "Belong" held at Cesar's Palace in Las Vegas.  "Belong" was the second major fragrance launch for the Canadian Superstar Celine Dion, and she is surrounded by me and some of the marketers who worked on the brand at Coty Beauty.  At that time, Celine was already performing at Cesar's Palace.  

Why Is This Photo So Important?:  When I was digging through archives the other day, I found this photo that automatically triggered memories of some of the meetings I had with Celine during the creative development period for her  perfumes licensed through my company, Coty Beauty. Part of my job as the in-house "nose" -- Sr. Director and Fragrance Designer was to give a brief 101 understanding of fragrance notes, classifications, talk about fragrance trends, and present examples of different fragrances in order to receive feedback to help determine my clients' sense of being and their olfactive preferences. Communicating with Celine was so easy. She was open, humorous and so gracious with her involvement on the projects.  Through our sessions, I got to know her pretty well - at least from a "taste" standpoint. I observed what particular aromas resonated with her emotionally and much of what she shared with us always went back to places and moments in her life.  For the discussions for the Belong fragrance, Celine talked about how much she loved the smell of Hinoki, a Japanese Cypress that is commonly connected with Buddhist temples. Being half Japanese, I automatically got hooked onto Hinoki as a centerpiece of a fragrance concept, and requested that all perfumers from several leading fragrance supply houses incorporate the aroma of Hinoki into their creations.  The process for development can be quite lengthy depending on the scope of competition and needs for optimizing the formula, but I recall that when I smelled Paris perfumer Christophe Raynaud's formula, I felt it was "the one":  Christophe formulated a fragrance that weaved the soft soothing zen-effect of cypress, skin musk and sherry baby orchid mingled with a light hint of spiciness. The fragrance was so well-blended that none of the "notes" projected over the others and wore beautifully and elegantly on the skin, as if they were moving to the rhythm and harmony of Celine's voice while singing a soothing ballad of love. 

What I Believe Was The Key to My Successful Career:  In retrospect, I believe many of my colleagues would say that I had an ability to work with a variety of people at all levels of the corporate hierarchy:  The R&D scientists, creatives, marketers, sales, purchasing agents, editors, retailers and of course, my clients.  I was sometimes an "over-communicator", but I had a good ear; an "active listener", and observer with the ability to analyze characteristics of people. Most importantly, I respected all of my clients for who they were as human beings and treated them with the utmost respect. I was the provider of wishes and dreams with an objective that the fragrance being developed fell into sync with the overall concept, color, bottle design and that the storytelling connected emotionally and culturally to consumers around the world.  I was the curator of a unique experience brought to the world through scent.  

About An Editor Who Took Away My Fear:  I was nervous at this press event to speak in front of beauty editors from around the world! It was only my second public launch event and the audience was very large.  It also included some of my company's key global executives so when I was up at that podium, I almost froze. I took a deep breath, looked out at the audience from the left of the room to right, and down to the beauty editors in the front row where my eyes locked with the bright blue eyes of Cheryl Kramer Kaye.  I can't recall the magazine she worked for at the time, but if you know Cheryl, you know of her signature long red curly hair, beautiful big blue eyes, porcelain skin and her radiant bright smile. Her smile gave me encouragement, and I smiled back and I felt immediately more confident.  Cheryl was my security blanket that day and from that day on, whenever I gave any press events, I always looked for Cheryl in the crowd, and smiled.  I am forever grateful to Cheryl.

In closing this blog, I think about Celine almost every day and pray that she heals from the disease that she is suffering from. We need her to feel better, sing again, and keep bringing love to our hearts through her beautiful voice and music. 

 

 

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