Ruby Brown, creator of Made-to-Measure Perfumes
After a career in modeling, Ruby Brown had the bright idea of launching a business creating made-to-measure perfumes. Today, the SME that bears its founder’s name offers a range of scented candles, perfume creation workshops and a range of services to professionals. Encounter with a young woman who is passionate about her craft.
Today you create perfumes. What brought you here?
I started modeling when I was 15. That took me to Paris, where I lived for several years. My Parisian women friends taught me the importance of perfume. Some of them went back home to put more on, the way we do here if we’ve forgotten our cell phone! In summer I often went to Grasse, the true centre of perfume in France. Then I took a number of workshops with famous master perfumers around the world. When I retired from modeling at 25, I wanted to go into business. When I came back to Montréal in 2008, I saw that Québec was behind the times in the field of perfumes, and I got the idea of creating made-to-measure perfumes.
Tell us about your made-to-measure perfume workshops.
First there’s a little bit of theory to initiate you to the olfactory world. Then you create your own fragrance by choosing your raw materials from a perfume organ that contains over eighty essences of all sorts. Of course, someone is with you all the way. After two hours, you leave with your vial of perfume. The formulae are stored so you can reorder your perfume.
Who are your workshops for and where are they held?
Our workshops are for men as well as women. Actually, whether a perfume is more for women than for men is often just a question of marketing, because it depends on individual personalities. Our organ presents a very broad range of raw materials, from classical essences like jasmine or rose to less common notes such as leather, tobacco, grass or even maple syrup. The workshops are held every first Saturday of the month in the magnificent Ritz-Carlton Montréal, and we also organize sessions for special events like Valentine’s Day or Mothers’ Day. We recently launched a special offer for bachelorettes!
You also make scented candles. What makes them special?
Before we brought out our own range of scented candles, we had made a lot of them for different projects. One day, we wanted to create our own line. All our candles are made in Canada. They are luxury candles that burn to give you 60 hours of pleasure. They are made from soy wax, which burns only half as fast as other waxes and is environmentally friendly (no black smoke). They also contain a 14% concentration of perfume, twice as much as is in most major brands of scented candles. In only 20 minutes, your room will be filled with a delicious odor. It’s an exceptional product.
You provide services for businesses. What are they?
We’ll go right to a business’ offices to give an all-inclusive workshop. The price is very competitive because the group rate is $99 a person for a minimum of 15 participants. We also offer a perfume bar for conferences. Like a cocktail bar, it presents a variety of fragrances. Each person selects what she wants and chooses a vial. The perfume can be personalized to the business.
Tell us about an olfactory memory that sweeps you away.
I have a lot of them, but the strongest is definitely the scent of leather. I adore leather, and its odor takes me back to the leatherwork shops in Paris. I lived for quite a while in an area where there were a lot of them. We offer a scented candle, Perfecto, with this scent. The smell of oranges also brings back a lot of memories for me. It takes me back to my childhood, when my mother forced us to eat Florida oranges to get enough vitamins. We had to swallow tonnes of them!
What are your medium-term plans for your business?
We’ve only been developing the Ruby Brown brand for six months and the response is extraordinary! And the adventure is only beginning. Our goal is to manufacture our products in a scientific yet personal and eco-friendly manner. I’m lucky enough to have a magnificent team around me, and I aspire to be the Canadian Jo Malone!
Text: Diane Stehle