The scent of a sale
Scent evokes memory like no other human sense. From the tonic of masculine pheromones– to the whiff of approaching rain, scent moves us, with its mysterious, chemical signals.
While we humans have long sipped and slurped our way to sensory elation through food and wine, the pleasure of scent is regularly forgotten. Scent is not just social, but cultural. Our appreciation impacted by our regional and local culture, the climate we enjoy, and our exposure to certain trees and landscapes in childhood. In the Middle East, the scent of the rose is loved and worn by men. While in Asia, delicate citrus and jasmine are prized for their uplifting aromas.
Today as the world globalises, the fine fragrance industry has gone “niche”. Labels like Ciretrudon, Serge Lutens and Etat Libre d’Orange are bringing the most unusual unisex scents to our bodies. Newly bottled fragrances evoke the smell of burning cigarettes, the hint of new leather and even bodily emanations like blood!
Over in the mainstream, scent designers like Marc Jacobs (Rain), Tom Ford (Neroli) and Dyptique (Tarocco) also have created unisex fragrances with broad appeal.
So, last year, when both British designer Tom Dixon and Italian furniture label Kartell presented scent inspired products at Maison d’Objet, it was, quite frankly, nothing to be sniffed at.
Tom Dixon recreated the smell of London’s red bricks, while Kartell released an exotic range of colourful glass scent diffusers. This heralded the dawn of a more sophisticated homewares trend, and products a cut above the hiss of Ambipur’s Air-Wick.
Scent, after all, could be viewed as the long neglected sense in marketing circles. Outside of food chains, coffee stores and international airports, scent has, until now, been neglected.
Enter Ainslie Walker – a bona fide Scent Designer with qualifications as Aromatherapist, Naturopath and perfumer. Ainslie creates bespoke fragrances for individual homes, brands, developments, airlines, hotels and product showrooms. To do this she matches heavenly ingredients to brand. At home she has an arsenal of 500 vials of individual scents.
Scent she says communicates lifestyle, mood and atmosphere. It triggers powerful memories and takes you on a journey.
Her client list today includes; Contemporary Hotels; Mud Australia; artist Tamara Dean, the Sapphire resort and Art Bar at MCA. In each job, she creates bespoke fragrances, to fit the context they support. When selling a house – mold, drains and dogs – are just some of the pernicious smells you might want to mask, so we asked Ainslie how she would approach scenting a home, in preparation for an Open House.
Ainslie Walker’s Tips for scenting your home
To sell your home in the 1980’s, baking bread and percolating coffee was de rigeur. But according circa 2015, prepping a house sale is a little more erudite.
“Today scent is all about authenticity. I would say the most fail proof idea for an open house would be a beautiful smelling candle and to buy some beautiful fresh flowers,” Walker says.
“A lot of research shows the impact of scent in the workplace and in public buildings and points to how scent impacts on concentration and productivity. But biggest factor that’s been researched is how scent impacts the amount of time an individual will spend in a building,” Walker explains.
“If someone is looking at five houses on a Saturday –you really want to keep them there. Because you always notice more about a place the longer you stay in it,” Walker says.
“Also these days, everyone is highly aware of product placement, so you could go to the trouble of putting a beautiful Molton Brown or Dyptique candle in the rooms, because it communicates – “these people have that lifestyle,” Walker says.
Her other great tip, is to be sparing with scent. “With a candle you might burn it for half an hour, then blow it out and get rid of it,” Walker says.
Scent can also warm you up, or cool you down accordingly. For large clinical buildings, like an architecturally designed warehouse, Walker recommends using warmer scents and oils that can glow and really warm up a space. But for smaller spaces fresher, citrus-based scents, will instantly make people feel light and refreshed.
“Scent is also very personal. Some scents are on the cusp, meaning people may, or may not like them. Then there are the real crowd pleasers, those that show up in every Duty Free fragrance. Vanilla is always very popular but by contrast if you put a smoky scent through something like a candle, there’s bound to be people who may not like it,” Walker says.
“My Mud Australia 01 candle, housed in a Limoge porcelain vessel, is a real crowd pleaser. It is tuber rose based – one of the best selling fragrances in the world – and for this one I have taken out the really heady notes and mixed it with some things to make it a bit more palatable…so everyone finds it appealing,” she says.
Learn more about scent on Ainslie Walker’s Blog