Jan Moran is the author of two volumes on fragrance, Fabulous Fragrances I and II, and the creator of her own fragrance, appropriately called Fabulous. Along with Michael Edwards, the author of Fragrances of the World, she is poised to launch a new online database, Fabulous Fragrances of the World, (see yesterday) designed to provide comprehensive fragrance information to retailers and journalists.
Please tell us how and when you first became interested in fragrance, and what were a few of your early favorites?
My grandmother and mother sparked my earliest interest in fragrance. We shared many favorites: Shalimar, Chanel No. 5, Vol du Nuit, Miss Dior, Nuit de Noël.
Your first book, Fabulous Fragrances I, appeared in 1994 and was followed by Fabulous Fragrances II in 2000. I understand that you were originally not able to find a publisher, so you founded your own publishing house. What convinced you that the book would be a success, and do you think you will ever publish a third volume?
Having spoken with many consumers before writing my book, I came to understand their questions and concerns, and enjoyed helping them find just the right fragrances. When I wrote my first book, I held firm to the belief that others would share my enthusiasm for perfume, and I am privileged that they do. As for a third book? Absolutely, but it might have a different format from Fabulous Fragrances I & II.
Your own fragrance, Fabulous, was released in 1997. Was the process of creating Fabulous easier or harder than you thought it would be, and do you think it changed the way you perceived the fragrance industry, or perhaps even altered the way you evaluated other fragrances?
Perfume creation is a fascinating journey. Though my background is in both business and the arts, I thrive most in the creative realm. Creating a perfume heightened my understanding of and appreciation for perfumers and fragrance entrepreneurs.
Anyone who has ever shopped at a perfume counter knows what a bewildering experience it can be, and how rarely salespeople are able to offer helpful advice. Why do you think it is so hard for retailers to recommend the right perfume to a customer, and how will Fabulous Fragrances of the World help?
Today, retailers simply have many more fragrances. To put it in perspective, in the decade of 1960 to 1970, 77 fragrances for women and men were introduced, according to The Fragrance Foundation. In 1994, the year my first book debuted, 90 new fragrances came to market. And in 2004? Based on our data in Fabulous Fragrances of the World.Info, 467 new fragrances were launched. We now have more than 4,600 fragrances in our database. Salespeople can’t possibly keep all of this information in their heads, however knowledgeable and well-read they might be. Besides our books, the new program that Michael Edwards and I created offers instant advice, reviews, and powerful search-and-sort features that are easy and fun to use. With this tool at their fingertips, any salesperson can be an instant expert. Quite simply, it’s designed to enhance the shopping experience, giving shoppers more information in an easy-to-use format.
Can you name five fragrances that you think every perfume fan should try at least once? And if you could bring back one discontinued fragrance, what would you choose?
Only five? I can’t possibly keep to a list that short! My advice: Perfume is like literature; begin with the classics. Then, sample the niche brands as well as the mega-brands. As to discontinued scents, the three contemporary fragrances I receive the most requests for—and would like to see revived for that reason—are: Anne Klein II, Deneuve, and Cher’s Uninhibited. Though, like Luca Turin, I’d love to revisit the original Dior perfumes. Still, times change, and we must change with them. Why cry over the past when there are so many lovely fragrances to enjoy…and that didn’t exist a few decades ago? Imagine how our ancestors would have loved the selection available today!
Fabulous Fragrances of the World will debut in New York on September 27, at the Health & Beauty America Expo. For those of you lucky enough to be in San Francisco during the upcoming Fragrance Week, Jan Moran will be holding a discussion and book signing at the Nordstrom near Union Square on October 18 from 12-3.