Kicking things off in style
Last night Greg Ellis Creative had our first official job and what an amazing and interesting start to business it was!
One of the things I love about my job is that I get to meet people, learn stuff and do things that I normally wouldn't have the chance to ever do if I was in a "regular" career. And last night I got to work with Francesco van Eerd, one of only 3 professional perfumers working in NZ.
Francesco and I go a long way back. In a previous life he was a school teacher and I was helping teach improvisation to his students at Viard College. When Francesco left Viard we lost contact but earlier this year, some 15 odd years later, our paths crossed again. And this time Francesco was a fully-fledged professional perfumer. He had left behind his job in education a couple of years earlier to follow his passion for perfumes and set up Fragrifert, his own business. What began in 2 car parks in the underground market now has ended up in a shop at the top of Wellington's Cable Car and a business that sees Francesco fulfilling overseas orders from as far away as Russia.
One of the things I love about Fragrifert is the sense of theatre that Francesco employs to help sell his products. Everything from the setting of a Victorian perfumery that he uses (originally assembled painstakingly over several hours in an underground car park, and now in his store) to the story behind Gustave Fragrifert has an element of drama and the theatrical.
It was fantastic to work with Francesco in an event the used both the entertainment and event ideas sides of the business. I helped give some shape to a presentation that Francesco was getting ready to an audience comprised of clients of an investment company. They were there for an entertaining and informative evening. So I looked at Francesco's story and his knowledge with fresh eyes and made some suggestions of bits to add along the way. I also helped with the delivery of the event, presenting, acting and singing my way through the stories of perfumery, Francesco and Gustave.
The collaborative process of putting it together was amazing. Francesco is a performer in his own right and had lots of great ideas and a good backbone to the presentation. Along the way I learnt all sorts of amazing stuff too:
Ambergris - one of the fundamental building blocks of perfumes is whale-vomit
Oak Moss - an ingredient of more than 80% of perfumes grows all around NZ
Anosmia is "smell blindness", and its possible to be anosmic to only certain smells
It was a really satisfying way to begin Greg Ellis Creative and a fantastic person to start with. Just to prove how collaborative we are at Greg Ellis Creative for our very first job our client was not only a fellow collaborator but also a fellow performer!
You really should go and experience a bit of the Fragrifert theatricality - just ride the Cable Car to the top, hop off and tell Francesco I said "hi".