Part I The big or not so big idea…
The story behind Roadscents is simple. I wanted to make my car smell as nice as my home. I couldn’t and it didn’t. I have a dog, two large adult- children…..see below……
and the most terrible ‘car littering’ habit, which includes leaving apple cores, sweaty yoga kit, running shoes and ahem, the odd chocolate bar wrapper and unfinished take away cuppa on the floor of the car). After years of pointless purchasing and fruitless searching for the right product, I realised that the only option was to do it myself.
The logic was pretty straightforward: we spend billions fragrancing ourselves and our homes (the fragrance industry is predicted to be worth around $51 billion by the early 2020’s*). Why then were cars, in which we travelled 316.7 billion miles in 2015* and where we spend on average 4 out of 365 days a year just looking for a parking space*, only ever scented with stinky, noxious, badly designed rubbish? (Respect here to The Tree – a global phenomenon - if not to my tastes).
Past experience told me that I could temporarily perfume ‘the motor’ with designer fragrance, which lasted for approximately 24 hours (an unsustainably pricey option). I also tried essential oils, potpourri, joss sticks (unlit and very occasionally, lit), bars of scented soap, drawer liners, even fabric softener sheets.
By then I was out of options and on a mission.
*Global Industry Analyst Inc
*Department for Transport National Travel Survey 2015
*British Parking Association
Part II The Chanel/Grasse connection….
It wasn’t until I was in Grasse in 2013, writing about the Chanel Jasmine harvest for Departures Magazine, that the roadscents project began to take shape. (Yes, Chanel really do grow some of their own jasmine and May roses for Chanel No 5).
A great friend of mine the perfumer Lyn Harris, introduced me to Julien Maubert, the grandson of the original founder of Robertet, the family owned fragrance and flavours house and a major source of natural ingredients for the luxury fragrance industry. After I’d interviewed Julien, who is the Director of Raw Materials, about the concept of ‘seed to scent’, we began talking about our respected new projects - his in Madagascar and mine in less glamorous North London. Julien immediately and enthusiastically ‘got it’. He introduced me to Robertet UK MD Stefanie Topps and her team and off we went. Or rather we didn’t. Making the perfume was the easy, fun bit.
Part III The Challenge
I’ve got a good nose and I’ve always been mad about perfume so I had plenty of ideas (good and bad!). It took me a few years to get the product together in amongst various day jobs, an illness and two children leaving home (well almost).
But here I am after six years with Roadscents, which I made for me and for you if you drive a car (and if you don’t hang it in your wardrobe, your hallway or put it in your handbag or your sock drawer – it’s great for that too).
I’ve launched the first two – Roserage and Godsmell, others will follow soon. There are six in total. I’d love your feedback. Please email me especially if you'd like a say in more Roadscents fragrances.