There are so many fascinating people in the fragrance and beauty community. From the creative minds that bring products to us to the critics who tell us what to buy, you can learn so much by asking a few questions. In this series I send a list of questions to individuals I look up to and share their answers with you.
This week I spoke with popular YouTuber and fragrance critic Sebastian Jara from Man Loves Cologne. Sebastian is known among his 6,000+ subscribers for his detailed fragrance reviews and helpful list-type videos; my favourites include Top 25 Fragrance Must Haves For Beginners, Seven Perfume/Fragrance Brands Easy To Decant, and the appropriately titled Invictus Killers – 10 Reasons Not To Buy Invictus By Paco Rabane.
Below are his thoughts about when to start blogging, his 400 bottles collection (!), and the worst fragrance he could think of.
1. How did you get started in reviewing fragrances for YouTube? Who, or what inspired you?
I have always been into fragrances as a small kid and into my teens and my 20s and 30s. But in my 40s I got really obsessed with them after I got out of my ‘freshies’ phase of fragrance wearing. I was looking for reviews of some fragrances and I found videos by Marc and Al. I watched a few of each and then thought ‘I could do this,’ and one thing lead to another and I started doing videos as well!
2. What has been the best thing that’s come out of blogging for you, and why?
Learning more and more about fragrances, the industry, niche and indie perfumes and how much better they are and connecting with some excellent perfume industry folks; also making friends with other folks who are passionate about perfumes and fragrances.
3. If you could start the process all over again, would you change anything? What is it, and why?
Yeah, I would have started doing this much much earlier and not waited until I was in my 40s, maybe started in my 30s! So start blogging/vlogging earlier and perhaps work in the perfumes/fragrance industry somehow!
4. Think back to any particular event in your blogging experience that stands out, negatively or positively. What was it, and what did you take from it?
Speaking of negative, there are a lot of negative people out there. I’m sharing with the world my experiences with fragrances and whatever it is, people take fragrances too literally, like it’s a family member or something. If I’m putting down a fragrance and a viewer or subscriber is a huge fan of the fragrance that I’m bashing they take it too personally and lose control with their comments and remarks. It’s quite odd but I have to act very professionally when it comes to bashing fragrances.
5. What is your blogging process? Does it start with the fragrance or something else?
I think of a topic and then I shoot the video. My videos tend to be either a review of a fragrance, a first impressions review of a fragrance and or lists of a variety of fragrances. Sometimes I have guest reviewers and sometimes I interview folks.
6. How do you manage the administrative side of your platform? Interacting with viewers, PR people, etc.?
I have not done much PR and the administrative side takes way too long, but somehow I catch up and do it even though it might take too long; I eventually catch up with everything.
7. What advice would you give to aspiring fragrance bloggers?
Research your topic as best as possible and make sure you are passionate about your topic. And be prepared to spend a lot of time of doing this as a hobby , there’s not much money in this unless your blog goes viral.
8. How do you keep yourself interested in cologne after blogging about it for a long time?
There’s always something new coming out so it’s always exciting anticipating a new fragrance, anticipating a new fragrance house and smelling, etc. So it’s always fun and exciting, the adventure of finding a new fragrance and the way it smells!
9. Any fragrance you’re currently obsessed with? What makes it stand out?
DIOR HOMME PARFUM and Floris Honey Oud are two of my favourite new fragrances that I’m really obsessed with. Love the way they smell and they are beautiful! I like them because they are intense and masculine with a soft edge to them. Very addicting scents.
10. A fragrance you hated in recent memory? What made it so horrible, and does it have any redeeming qualities?
Invictus by Paco Rabanne is one of the worst fragrances I have ever put my nose on. It’s a mishmash of messy notes that really doesn’t smell like anything worth talking about.
11. Do you think that after years of cultivating your opinions you would put them to use in making your own perfume? Why or why not?
I would probably do that, yes, but I don’t think I’m quite ready for it. Who knows? Give me a few more years and I think I might be ready and more confident in creating a perfume!
12. What does the future hold for Man Loves Cologne?
Growing my channel, adding many more subscribers and a following base, and just keep putting out unique content for my followers and subscribers.
13. Any up and coming bloggers to watch for?
I rarely read or watch other bloggers as I don’t have the time and because I don’t want to be influenced by their opinions on a fragrance.
14. In your collection video you said you have close to 275 bottles. Do you ever look at your collection and think ‘that’s enough’? Do you think that you will ever?
I’m always saying it’s enough but something else comes along and I end up getting it. I have enough expensive fragrances for now and it’s time to switch to budget and designer fragrance, but I’ll get bored of budget and designer fragrances soon and switch back to the more expensive and niche fragrances. But yeah, I’ve been telling myself it’s time to really slow down. I think my collection now is at around 400 give or take so it’s a lot, really a lot.