DEBORAH FULSANG sat down with the distractingly handsome Nick Youngquest,…
We love Canadian success stories—so meet Janey Ganson of My Daughter Fragrances, who turned her passion for perfume into a business.
Based in Alberta, Janey Ganson decided to found My Daughter Fragrances after the birth of her daughter, Anna. The line currently includes three distinct scents that are compounded in France and then blended, filtered, bottled and packaged in Canada, all without phthalates and parabens.
What is your favourite scent memory of childhood?
Growing up, my mom baked homemade bread, donuts and granola; there was always something yummy coming out of the kitchen. Also, our yard had a row of lilac trees long the driveway. There is no perfume or candle in the world that can replicate fresh lilacs the way I remember them—they just have to be experienced.
What was the first fragrance you bought yourself and why did you buy it?
Oh, I remember buying Love’s Baby Soft. Probably because I could actually afford to buy it with my own money, plus all the young girls were buying it. It was soft and sweet, and I probably thought I was really fancy! In high school I bought YSL Paris and rationed every spritz because I thought it was so special.
What maternal (or paternal) figure influenced your attitude towards perfume?
My mom wore one perfume that my dad bought her every Christmas, and that was Chanel No. 5. She also had the powder-puff box that I thought was so glamorous. I remember sneaking that body powder and putting it on after a bath and then jumping into bed so the sheets would also smell. I also remember the smell of the classic Oil Of Olay face cream back when the bottle was petal-pink and the smell was almost like creamy roses.
My grandma Violet always had Noxema face cream in her bathroom and the smell and the texture (liked whipped butter) of that now-vintage cream is one I wish I could experience again.
What made you decide to start My Daughter Fragrances?
Besides being a little nuts—as per my family—I had the urge to do my own brand for literally 10 years. When my daughter Anna was born, my consciousness about myself and my life was elevated—I changed. [When you become a parent] not only do you realize life is passing you by, but your life also becomes part of your child’s story. I wanted her to grow up watching me do what I dreamed about. With that, she will also see the life of an entrepreneur and all that that involves.
What is the significance of the name—“My Daughter Fragrances?”
The two words “my” and “daughter” are strong, loving and universally understood. Plus, she [Anna] was the catalyst to finally making the leap.
What does your favourite fragrance say about your personality?
I have many favourites so this question is impossible. The fragrance I have owned the longest and always replace is Robert Piquet Fracas. It’s been around since the 1940s, and is one that should never be re-created—it would be like trying to re-do the colour red. It’s classic and modern at the same time with a splash of sexy.
What makes you notice a fragrance?
How it makes me feel, which is the fascinating and polarizing thing about fragrance.
How many fragrances you own?
Right now I have about 35 full-size bottles and three big Ziploc bags of samples and travel-size perfumes. Once I started my own company, I started to do some creative shopping where I go and look at what’s out on the market. Then I try to do the exact opposite, or try to fill a void in what I would like but can’t find.
How many fragrances do you regularly wear?
I do rotate through the MDF perfumes regularly—Joyful, Always Loved and Bloom23—but of course I love to try new things or return to some classics. The three I am currently wearing are Annick Goutal Songes, 1000 Flowers Reglisse Noir and Balmain Vent Vert.
What do you smell like?
When I’m working in our perfume barn where we make the fragrances, there are days when I smell like all three perfumes and walk out smelling like a fairy factory!
How do you scent your home?
Candles, candles and more candles—I love them. I also spray my bed sheets on laundry day with MDF Always Loved.
Who is the best smelling person you’ve ever met, and what did they smell like?
For me the best smell is Anna’s hair after she washes it, or my husband’s neck after he shaves—that clean, soapy, masculine smell.
If you could bottle the scent of a favourite place/city/memory/moment what would it be?
The day I visited the rose fields in Grasse was amazing. It had rained the night before so everything was dewy, crisp, and damp, yet fresh. The rows full of Centifolia roses combined with the Mediterranean air is something I can never forget.
What scents/smells are overrated?
I am over people wanting to smell like a cookie or cupcake.
How do you feel about signature scents? Is it freeing or limiting?
I like the idea of having a fragrance wardrobe that I can go to, but as far as wearing one fragrance for the rest of my life? Nope, it’s not going to happen.
What piece of fragrance advice or wisdom do you want to pass on to the next generation?
I once heard that perfume is the key to our memories, and I couldn’t agree more. Advice? Explore fragrance, learn about it—and not just the marketing. It’s one of the most beautiful forms of art and expression.
How important is fragrance to your life, to your sense of style?
I now have literally made fragrance my life by starting the My Daughter Fragrances brand. When I’m not dreaming up an idea for a perfume, I truly enjoy exploring other brands in the beauty industry and experiencing as much as I can. The perfumes we create are a direct reflection of my personal style and taste, because I don’t have focus groups breathing down my neck telling me what is trending. I rely on family and friends with fabulous taste and who are honest with me. In the end it’s very scary and freeing to put something personal out into the world. I hope it will become part of people’s stories and memories.
My Daughter Fragrances Joyful, Always Loved or Bloom 23, $85 (75 ml), www.mydaughterfragrances.com
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