CozyVibes magazine interview
The scents of our childhood – constantly coming back into our lives.
Just a few seconds are enough for you to have an emotional flashback to good memories, to remember, to relate and to love again. Zoe Strantzali, having studied herbal perfumery in depth, takes the sense of smell one step further, helping us reconnect with the essence of perfumes, or in other words, with the essence of mother nature, and through them to discover and enjoy our own inner beauty, leading to beautiful, fulfilling lives.
But how can just a few drops of perfume change our lives? Zoe, an inspired botanical perfumer, gives answers to our questions, guiding us through the paths of herbal perfumery and aromatherapy to the discovery of the unique fragrance of our own lives.
When and how did you start your magical journey into the world of herbal perfumery, and how did this journey develop into a business?
All my life, I remember being carried away with fragrances. The sense of smell has always been very important to me, but I never thought that I could turn this passion of mine into a profession. Several years ago, after a major life shift, I was magically led to it; there was no plan, no thought of it, I didn’t choose it consciously. I just did what I always loved.
Smell is the only sense that can bring us memories within seconds. What scents have you identified with your childhood and what scent have your most beautiful memories got?
I feel lucky to have spent my childhood next to nature. Nature preserves your memories intact. All the images you have emit a different odour each season of your life. The most characteristic scent of my childhood is the blossoming linden. It is the most familiar scent of my childhood, as these trees were abundant in the area where I grew up, and every spring they spread their fragrance everywhere. The smell of linden is my own personal healer. It has accompanied me since childhood, and it has also been the inspiration for the brand name Nymphaea, from the myth of Filira, the nymph of perfumes and beauty, whom Saturn transformed into a linden tree.
Would you like to share with us a part of your experience from the courses you took in France? Tell us a secret you learned in the country where perfumes were first born.
France was a great inspiration for me during the first years of my work with perfumes. I was happy to visit Eze, in Grass region of France, and to get acquainted with the biggest legends of this industry. Still, I stayed committed to my decision to create perfumes exclusively with natural materials. This experience was a big step in my career, and I learned a great deal about the sense of smell; I feel forever fascinated and inspired by this wonderful art of perfumery, every time like the first time.
How can we know which perfumes evoke positive emotions in us? Is it something we learn, or is it embedded in our DNA?
Actually, it is a mechanism inherent in our DNA, and it is an automatic mechanism of self-healing. Our sense of smell is directly connected to our nervous system, and in fact, part of our olfactory system is located in our brain. This itself can emphasize the importance of the sense of smell. Depending on our experiences and our memories, we can discover the scents that give us security and bring us closer to the core of our existence, to our authentic self. This is the essence of perfume: its power to awaken the essence of our existence.
Botanical perfumery has its origins in ancient civilizations. What was the significance of perfumes then and in what form were they used?
Indeed, if we want to approach the philosophy of natural perfumery, we must travel back in ancient times, when perfume was inextricably linked to spirituality and healing. It is important for the botanical perfumers to practice this art, not only as a profession, but guided internally with love and intuition, and connected with the qualities of each plant, to create the most appropriate aromatic combination that will delight, nourish and soothe the soul. This is the mission of every form of art.
Marilyn Monroe once said: «There are no women who do not like perfumes, there are only women who have not found their own». How important is it for us to find this one and only perfume, and how can it change our lives?
Finding the fragrance of our soul, symbolically speaking, is what most of us do what we do: to find our true, authentic selves, beyond the worn-out beliefs and stereotypes. As I often say, ‘once you discover the fragrance of your soul, only then can you create the fragrance of your life’. The truth is that only when we know who we are, do we begin to be aware of our full potential.
How can we discover the ideal fragrance for us? What is the procedure you follow to find out?
In botanical perfumery, as with any other form of alternative therapy, I create personalized fragrances to approach the uniqueness of each being, and not to meet the need that fashion imposes on us. This in itself is a different approach, which in combination with knowledge, art and alchemy, we are certain to reach the best, possible result.
Where do you get the inspiration to create a perfume?
Anything can become an inspiration. A sweet morning, a breeze that sweeps your hair as you walk, a flower that stands proudly in your garden, a song that speaks to your energy, kind strangers you see on the street, a festive feeling, a sexy look, a friendly conversation. Really anything…
The ingredients you use are all organic, healing essential oils and extracts, with no chemicals. Is nature so much stronger than the chemical industry? Why should I choose a botanical perfume?
The truth is that all the remedies of nature are powerful, because they carry the properties and all the vibration and information of each plant. Even when we use them in very small doses in homeopathy, they remain just as effective. The same, and perhaps even more, applies to the essential oils that have concentrated all the essence of the plant! One drop is often enough for an energy treatment. The reasons why it would be beneficial for me to prefer a botanical perfume are:
– to gush the euphoria of nature.
– because the more you connect with nature, the more you’re in harmony with your own inner nature, whether consciously or subconsciously
– because perfumes trigger memories and emotions, everything is a vibration and I am free to choose the vibration I want
– because it reconnects me with the sense of smell – I learn to breathe deeply and consciously, in the unique way that nature inspires me
– because I choose authenticity and natural materials without treatments and chemical additives that are harmful to my health
– because it is a matter of quality and value.
Tell us about the seminars and the sessions you have in your office. How can we enter the world of perfumes?
It’s magical every time we have seminars. Perfumes have their own way of awakening memories and restoring self-healing mechanisms, giving joy, carefreeness and new visions in life. This in itself is the greatest initiation. To connect with the essence – the essence of the perfume, and the great tradition and heritage of our home country in the aromatic substances, and how the perfume has been used over the centuries.
If you could use only three words to describe perfumes, what would these words be?
Spirit, essence, healing.