The Art of Scent: Interview with Kat & Vic founders of Lohn
Scent can evoke emotions, memories, awaken our other senses, and play a crucial role in our mood, sense of relaxation and wellbeing.
As Part 1 of our Everyday Pleasure Series, we've teamed up with Kat & Vic, founders of Lohn (and creators of some of our best-selling candles), to offer you a Natural Perfume Workshop. You'll learn all about the Art of Scent: aromatherapy, natural perfumery and the art and science of blending fragrances and plant-based oils and have the opportunity to create your own custom roll-on blend.
In anticipation of the event, we asked them a few questions about pleasure, scent, and what inspired them to start the journey of Lohn.
What does pleasure mean to you?
Vic: Doing things that make you happy. Recently I couldn’t think of the last time I did something just for me like an ‘after-school activity’ (apart from cooking and yoga, which are more of a necessity). I signed up for a 10-week ceramics course and have been loving every minute of it, it’s totally for my own enjoyment. I think pleasure is something that you do just for yourself, either alone or with others and it’s best-experienced guilt-free! So remember that when you take time for yourself, you deserve every moment of it.
Kat: Pleasure means being in my utmost state of relaxation. Whether that’s laying in Shavasana after a hot yoga class, enjoying a (smooth) flight to a place I’ve never been, or cozying up by the fireplace with family, it’s all about the experiences and quality time with people around me, and much less about “things”.
What are your favourite ways to bring simple pleasures to your everyday life?
Vic: Making a cup of coffee or tea in the morning (so simple but a little pleasure), massaging my skin with body oil after a shower, lighting candles before settling into the corner of my couch to read and wearing a silk sleeping mask to bed.
Kat: Cooking a brand new recipe. Gastronomy is a lot like perfumery; there are so many different variables, and it’s important to be adventurous and creative. My mother is a very talented chef and she would always test out new recipes as we were growing up, and I think that’s what inspired me to fall in love with cooking. The funny thing is I am a terrible baker, and as much as I crave dessert every single day, I literally need to follow every recipe line by line while baking sweets. My friends can attest to this.
What is the significance of scent in relaxation?
Vic: I’ve been doing the Calm app’s breathing exercises before bed and I’ve got a bunch of lavender on my nightstand. It’s so nice to inhale the lavender while meditating to relieve stress and tension. Finding a scent that will make you feel relaxed or remind you of something relaxing can make your moments of mindfulness a little more special.
Kat: The 9-5 schedule doesn’t exist when you own a business. My mind is constantly brainstorming and thinking about how we can build our brand, so finding ways to incorporate scents into my routine – whether that’s a candle or a simple spritz of perfume – has become crucial. I often take a bath before bed with a few drops of my very own clary sage bath oil, and I also use a super random assortment of essential oil-based sprays on my bedding when I need my mind to stop racing. We also formulated the ultimate relaxation essential oil blend for Chi Junky’s iconic Shavasana massages. This changed the yoga experience for me, knowing that there was a little reward at the end of class.
What drew you into perfumery/aromatherapy?
Vic: My love of skincare and fragrance turned into a full-blown obsession during my first job as a product manager for a large personal care manufacturer. I was positioned in the office but the first second I stepped into the lab I made every excuse to go in there to try and smell everything. I loved to meet with suppliers to discover their latest innovations.
Kat: While I was studying chemical engineering, I felt like a complete outsider because I wasn’t interested in moving to Calgary to pursue a career in the oil and gas industry. I was always very inspired by female engineers who started cosmetic companies, such as Tata Harper and Jenny Frankel of Nudestix. It wasn’t hard for me to realize that chemical engineering and cosmetics/fragrance would be the perfect marriage for my career path. After working at a free internship at a cosmetic distributor post-undergraduate degree, I applied to a graduate program at Guerlain's perfumery school in France called the European Fragrance and Cosmetic Master. In my first year, I had to memorize over 100 different fragrance notes and perfumes. I was so grateful to have finally found my passion.
Favourite scent memories & earliest scent memory?
Vic: Lily of the valley, my grandma had a small patch of them in her backyard and I loved smelling them, my lovely mom always picks me a bunch when she finds them on her walks. I think my first fragrance was Gap’s Dream eau de toilette, it was what all my friends were wearing.
Kat: This is embarrassing. But, the Barbie perfume! I was obsessed with Barbies until an inappropriate age. But really, wasn’t it just the best? I should probably recreate it one day. Other nostalgic scents for me are the dewy air during the first days of Spring, and the smell of vacation.
Favourite scent combos?
Vic: I love anything with citrus notes (like bergamot & petitgrain), it adds such a nice sweetness. My favorite notes to combine citrus with are florals (like gardenia & ylang ylang) and spicy woods (like frankincense and patchouli). It’s a dream to live in L.A. with a lemon tree in my backyard. My favourite scents we've developed are Oro and Jaro.
Kat: A lot of people don’t agree with ylang ylang, or florals in general, but it can honestly work wonders in an essential oil blend. I have a favourite massage oil blend that has lavender, ylang ylang, geranium, bergamot, and chamomile and it’s one of the most soothing scents ever. Galbanum is also one of my favourite single fragrance notes. It’s a gum resin, and it grows in the northern mountain ranges of Iran. I find it blends well with frankincense, jasmine, lavender, and sandalwood. My favourite LOHN scents are Jura and Zima.