To use a Scent Journer fragrance with all its whimsy and olfactory wonder —the verdant beauty of Clouds in Heaven or the soft and powdery calm of A Starlit Spell — is actually, doing yourself some mental good. After all, scents have an effect on your olfactory bulb where emotions like joy, serenity, or at worst, rage get triggered upon first spritz.
Here, Joyce Lian of the brand takes us through its inception, conception, and production, and most importantly, the transformative powers of Scent Journer’s products itself.
Hello Joyce, I usually like to start interviews off by asking them to pitch their brand or business in 10 words or less so if you could humour me.
Mindfully formulated perfumes that smell amazing and uplift your mood.
What I thought is interesting about Scent Journer is that beyond just storytelling with your fragrances, it’s one of the few brands that address what they really do which is to change our mood in a positive manner. What was the inspiration to start the brand?
I discovered the world of fragrances when I studied perfumery and cosmetic science at Singapore Polytechnic. There is something particularly mesmerising and rejuvenating about fragrances that instantly lifts my spirits whenever I am immersed in them.
After a career detour in 2020, I decided to explore further into the art of perfumery. Taking action on what I was passionate about, I joined a Venture building programme at NUS. During my research, I have spoken to over 300 individuals — it soon became clear that many felt no connection with fragrances — or worse had an adverse impact on them.
After extensive research, I discovered many perfumes on the market use denatured alcohol in methanol which can often contribute to headaches — so it is of utmost importance for us to ensure our creations are purely premium quality; providing a delightful and euphoric experience when you catch even just one whiff!
Scent Journer was created with the mission to provide luxurious fragrances that make people feel their best.
What was the first ever fragrance then and perhaps, do you have an interesting story behind it? Perhaps too, a memory you were trying to preserve or to share with the world.
The Blooming Jewel! Interestingly, this perfume was inspired when I had Yunnan’s fresh rose cake with my friends. I was amazed and mesmerised by how fragrant and sweetly rosy the rose jam fillings were. These rose cakes are seasonal in April and they signify the start of spring and new beginnings.
Roses are also known to symbolise beauty and love. Hence I wanted The Blooming Jewel to smell like fresh blooming roses under the sun that glows like jewels. I want users to feel like precious jewels that sparkle with beauty, showering themselves with the love and kindness they deserve.
The way I see the brand is that it’s almost like a “wardrobe” which is to say you can layer them as and how you like be it with fragrances from the brand itself or with others. What do you think?
Yes, we do encourage layering which allows users to create their own personal signature scent. It adds a more unique dimension to existing fragrances. For example, layering The Blooming Jewel on top of the Dancing Blue Bees adds a fresh floral touch to the warm, relaxing and cosy scent.
There is no hard rule, layer and wear what you love and how you like it. Hence we do not gender label our fragrances, so users get the full freedom to choose their signature scent.
With the sustainability angle, I have to mention too that it’s been discussed that the most sustainable thing to do would be to not launch things itself. With Scent Journer, how do you think the brand is making an impact in a Singapore and global (assuming the ingredients are flown in from overseas and direct to you) context?
We aim to use sustainable ingredients as much as possible.
Our newly launched perfume, A Starlit Spell, is made with 72.49% biodegradable ingredients while smelling beautifully elegant. We also use natural molecules that are 100% carbon renewables such as beta-pinene, limonene, and orange terp Citronova, hence reducing the carbon footprint.
Of the natural ingredients sourced, 89% are responsibly and ethically sourced. This fragrance also uses upcycled ingredients such as 100% upcycled eugenol.
I understand too that the brand often describes itself as one that “empowers women to feel at best” but some smell quite unisex. Why are you communicating it only to women?
Our current message is ‘women’ because women make up 70% of our customers but we believe that we have great fragrance offerings to men too as the fragrance is created to be gender-neutral.
I have to ask too; did you look towards any Singaporean or global brands to form the blueprint of Scent Journer? Are there any brands you’re hoping to become or do you see Scent Journer in a league of itself?
We are uniquely Scent Journer. Everything from the brand name to the logo was carefully designed from scratch with love and passion.
Our logo is a yellow-vented bulbul breed bird that is commonly found in Singapore, it symbolises the freedom to explore the best ingredients around the world.
Fun fact about the bird, it can only be seen if we slow down and take a mindful approach to try to find them, as they are very shy in nature. It is also the approach we have to our fragrances. Furthermore, it was also my pet bird, a companion in all my precious memories.
These are some global brands such as Penhaligon’s, Guerlain, Diptyque, Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Frederic Malle, that we really look up to in terms of the quality and creativity of their fragrances. Our goal is to be a global brand known for creative fragrances that make people feel good.
What is next for the brand then? Do you see it expanding into home fragrances or perhaps, even an option to customise fragrances?
We do see ourselves expanding into home fragrances, we are currently in the R&D stage. We are determined to never rush out a product — instead striving for innovation that surpasses anything currently available on the market! We do currently offer customisation for B2B clients.
Out of curiosity then, can you put a song to the brand?
It will be Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers. It is a lighthearted piece that brings you through a journey of flowers, where various emotions are experienced and different moods are expressed throughout the piece.
The music is filled with elegance and curiosity. It is also uplifting, heartwarming, and relaxing. This song gives listeners the courage to traverse through life’s highs and lows yet end on a positive note.
Just like how I’d like the collection of Scent Journer perfumes to bring users through the different emotions flowers can create. Users can count on Scent Journer Perfumes to feel uplifted no matter what highs and lows come their way!