9.257km separates Paris from Shanghai. It’s a long journey between the West and the East. I can feel both excitement and apprehension deep inside me. Contrary emotions between the joy of going on an adventure, of experiencing something unique in my life; and the worry of being away from the people that matter to me, of building new landmarks in an unknown place.
Yet I have made a conscious choice to live it.
I do it for several reasons.
The first one? I’m up for the challenge. I want to rediscover that feeling I experienced when I left for Argentina two years ago.
Right now, everyone has their eyes on perfumery in China. For Firmenich, and our industry in general, this is a significant opportunity as well as a huge challenge. Firmenich placed great confidence in me to carry out this experience. It is an unimaginable honor for a perfumer with a young experience like me. What impresses me above all is the way I look at my experience, and how I manage in this unknown terrain… Behind, it is the effort, precision, the requirement and determination that is expected around the corners. It might be scary, but yet when it was offered to me, I didn’t hesitate for a second.
The second reason is the curiosity to discover. Deep down, I’ve always felt like I wanted to find out what I didn’t know. Different cultures, people and cuisines attract me. Chinese culture is one of the richest and oldest cultures. In fact, I realize that from a young age, I’ve always been fascinated: There is this finesse in Asian art, this harmony of colors that I really appreciate.
In 2012, when I went to Beijing, I had the chance to experience tea tasting according to traditional Chinese art. I remember that moment that was totally out of time, it was like a sacred rite of olden times, both very rigorous and spiritual. What marked me above all was the precise gesture: the service of the tea poured into several containers, the water temperature, the infusion time, the quality of the leaves, the ideal time to start the tasting. Everything is done in a meticulous, exact and fair manner. There is a form of simplicity and fluidity in this complexity. I find it fascinating. This is what inspires me and what I aspire to do when making my perfume formulas.
I saw this experience as a godsend. I want to discover China, culture, local people and to forge my own perspective over time. Going far away, for a long time is never easy. You have to step out of your comfort zone, but nothing is written in advance. What I only know is that the flourishing on arrival is well worth the fears we saw at the beginning.