Interview: Miya from Miya Shinma Parfums

     It is my pleasure to share with you this interview with French perfumer Miya Shinma from Miya Shinma Parfums. Miya presented her collection of fine fragrances at this year’s Esxence exhibition in Milan, garnering international attention for her inspired perfumes. The story of Miya Shinma Parfums began in Florence, where she was inspired to make perfumes in 1997 at the Cinquième Sens school. Today she draws inspiration from her homeland, Japan.

     Below are her thoughts about how poetry inspires creation, her favourite notes to work with, and why she doesn’t wear her own perfumes.

Photo courtesy of Miya

Photo courtesy of Miya


 

1. Your brand had a strong presence in the Esxence 2015 Art Perfumery event. What had the experience been like?

In fact, I was very anxious for Esxence because it was my first show, but I was very happy to have been there. It was a great pleasure to have good reactions, and I was especially very happy to talk with a lot of people through my fragrances.

2. You first discovered perfume in France. What was the incident, and what made you love the craft?

I read an article in a magazine about a French perfumer when I was in Japan, and discovered the world of perfume as a world of art. He said that the creation of perfumes is like the composition of music. I felt very close to the world of perfume because I have studied music from when I was 3 years old, and I later studied the composition of music. When I finished reading this article, I decided to be a perfumer one day. 

3. Your fragrances are meant to bridge the Japanese and French cultures. How do you achieve this?

As I have lived in Paris for more than 15 years, I can see Japan and the Japanese culture with distance, and different sensations. I would like to express my emotions as a Japanese in this situation. My fragrances are made in France because of their higher technologies of production. Thanks to these two cultures I can make my perfumes. 

Photo courtesy of Miya

Photo courtesy of Miya

4. What is your creation process like? Does it start with a set of notes, an idea, or something else?

First thing I do is write a poem. When I finish a poem, after a lot of evaluation, I can find the real image of the fragrance. Then I know which family or which notes are needed for it.

5. What is it like managing the business aspect of a perfume brand?

Doing with respect and love for the perfume and for the people who are interested in my perfumes, I think this is the only way to continue my creation and to manage a perfume business.

6. What advice would you give to aspiring perfumers?

Please enjoy your life, as my father said to me.


7. The bottles of your fragrances are customized with Hanshi paper and elegant calligraphy. Where did the idea for this type of packaging come from?

The idea came me very naturally. From my childhood I learned calligraphy and I believe that each Japanese alphabet has an image; I wanted to bring to light each word.

Photo courtesy of Miya

Photo courtesy of Miya

8. Where do you specifically draw inspiration for fragrances?

When I am very moved, I mean anytime, anywhere.


9. Please tell me about your favourite fragrance from the Miya Shinma range, and how it came to be.

It is very difficult to answer for that. All of them are my treasures as my family.


10. Is there a scent that you have trouble capturing? A memory that eludes you thus far?

I don’t have this kind of problem, but I learn about the olfactory everyday. Before I started to study perfume, I went to see a doctor to have an examination for my nose. My doctor said to me, the most important thing, it is your efforts.


11. Do you have a favourite note to work with? What qualities does it have that make it so special?

Woodsy notes. They remind me of my homeland, and awaken my emotional memory. Woodsy materials express a lot of things: sensitivity, sensuality, balance and strength with many nuances.


12. Do you wear your own fragrances? If so, which ones? If not, why?

I don’t wear perfumes. But for analyzing I wear my fragrances during the creation.


13. What would you like everyone to know about you, your company, and your fragrances?

If my perfumes make you have an imaginary trip, or make you feel my philosophy of “Obeying art, Obeying nature”, I will be very happy.


 14. What does the future hold for Miya Shinma Parfums?

I will continue to travel to discover the beauty of nature, and also for discovering new, beautiful materials, like Kabutii from Okinawa.


Photo courtesy of Miya

Photo courtesy of Miya

 

     I would like to thank Miya for taking the time to share her ideas with me. You can find her at her website.

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