On the occasion of the “International Day of Women and Girls in Science and Technology” we would like to introduce one of our female Junior Perfumers.
Originally from France and holding a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a Master’s degree in Science and Perfumery, Elisa Tzedakis finally completed her perfumery apprenticeship at Bell in Leipzig. Read how she pursued her goal of a career in fragrances with passion and discipline for many years.
At a Glance
Bachelor of Chemistry / Master of Science and Perfumery
How did you become a perfumer?
Elisa Tzedakis:I was always very curious about smells – first of all, those that surrounded me in nature, especially during travelling, or those coming out from the kitchen, especially from my mother’s cooking. One day, my aunt took me on a trip to the “Château de Chamerolles” in Chilleurs-aux-Bois in France, which hosts a museum of scent and perfume. There I was absolutely fascinated by the original wooden fragrance organ and learned that perfumer is an actual profession. I felt it was absolutely magical to learn a profession whose purpose it is to create fragrances that arouse emotions. I must have been about 10 years old by that time.
Is the idea of being a perfumer more romantic in retrospect than it is in reality?
ET: My vision of working as a perfumer is, of course, no longer as romantic as it was at the age of 10. Nevertheless, today I can say that I love being a perfumer more than I could have ever imagined. I would like to quote Gaston Berger (French philosopher and futurist) at this point:
“Leaving childhood means turning dreams into reality, it means finding a way between what we are and what we would like to be.”
French philosopher and futurist
This quote is the reason why I preserve some of the beauty of my dream every day by remembering how blessed I am to be able to follow my passion. And actually, even if I lost a bit the romantic aspect, everytime I start a new creation, I feel the magic of turning an idea into a scent.
How did your professional career develop up to now?
ET: After gaining a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, I continued with Science and Perfumery to earn my Master’s degree and completed its practical part at an international fragrance and flavour company in France. There I was able to gain my first practical experience in the field of perfumery. Afterwards, I worked on natural raw materials and as perfumer assistant and evaluator, before spending another five years as fine fragrance development manager.
In 2017, I moved to Germany, because I got the opportunity to do the internal perfumer training at Bell. The program lasts 3 years and includes lots of smelling tests to get to know the numerous raw materials, a lot of practice on accords formulations and classical perfume schemes and, of course, all relative knowledge such as botanical. Today, I still keep on smelling the raw materials I’ve already accomplished to learn every day to keep the memory alive and to deepen what I’ve learned. Furthermore, you never stop learning in this job. Raw materials, restrictions and technical progress are changeable and this has to be refreshed regularly.
How important is olfactory sensitivity?
ET: I would say that the most important thing in my profession is the brain. The nose is of course an indispensable tool, but during the creation process a perfumer uses his memory, knowledge and imagination to create a unique composition. A large portion of passion as well as discipline, patience and creativity are essential too.
What do you enjoy most within your work?
ET: I feel the greatest joy when I can trigger an emotion with my creations. I am always excited when I hold the finished perfume oil in my hands at the end of a long development process. Because even though the process is often very similar, the result is always different and often even surprises me.
What advice would you give to young people who want to learn this profession?
ET: Start smelling everything that catches your nose, train your memory and awaken the creativity within you.
February 11, we celebrate “International Day of Women and Girls in Science”. Let’s recognise the crucial role that women and girls play in science and technology. We are happy to have strong ambitious women like Elisa in our company.
Take your chance and head for a career in the fragrances industry: