Have you heard the big news? Issue four of ODOU Magazine is out on store shelves now, and my name is in it…
I hinted several months ago that a piece I wrote will be featured in the publication’s long-awaited fourth instalment, and thanks to editor/print designer/accountant/web designer/content creator/publisher/social network pusher Liam Moore from ODOU Magazine all fragrance affectionados can finally enjoy the article, titled “Lo and Behold”.
ODOU is Liam’s brainchild and baby, a labour of love if there ever was one. Articles published here have gone on to win coveted Jasmine Awards and inspire readers everywhere. The best part? Liam’s also an all-around really good guy.
Below are Liam’s thoughts about his inspiration to start the magazine, his advice for crafting better fragrance-related pieces, and his dreams for the future of ODOU.
For those unfamiliar with ODOU Magazine, how would you describe the publication? What makes it unique, and what are you most proud of?
“ODOU is a magazine about smells and perfumes written for a coffee table read or a long train journey. There isn’t really a magazine like it. It has a mix of casual articles, scientific essays and fragrance musings. ODOU isn’t about top tips or the latest “must-have,” because this already exists and there’s more to talk about. I think I’m most proud about starting something I didn’t think I could; I’m a digital/web designer, so jumping into print was a scary undertaking.”
And look how beautifully it turned out! How did the idea for a fragrance-oriented magazine come to be? What process did it take to get it off the ground?
“Really, I just wanted to read a magazine about smells and perfumes and when I noticed there wasn’t one, I thought it’d be a good time to try it for myself. I have contacts and friends in London who are into perfume in a real geeky way and they said I should just go for it. I think the advantage I have is that I have all this digital experience and print, although it’s different, isn’t a complete world away – it’s still design. So I wear lots of different hats when I’m working on the magazine: editor, print designer, accountant, web designer, content creator, publisher, social network pusher! It was/is a lot of baby steps and not trying to get too in over my head.“
Those are a lot of different hats, indeed. So what is your everyday role at ODOU?
“Mostly it’s organizing and emailing – quite unglamourous, but it’s the work that gets things moving. I don’t know if there is quite an average day. In the run up to issue four, I spent a lot of time designing and trialing an updated visual style from what went on in previous issues – previous issues show my lack of print skills. But as each issue progresses it’s been honed in more and more. I spent A LOT of this year organizing a crowdfunding campaign, failing, and trying again. It depends on what the task at hand is!”
Did you see yourself doing this project five years ago? If not, what is Liam about outside of ODOU?
“I didn’t see myself doing this at all. Five years ago I was fresh out of university and in a way, it was a different world. I just wanted to get a web design job and take it from there. I did toy with the idea of learning perfumery, but I’ve since paused on that. Outside of ODOU it’s all fairly standard; hanging out with friends and getting out of London whenever I can!”
What has the response to the project been like from consumers and industry professionals, and did it surprise you?
“I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved myself, and I’m doubly proud for the writers winning Jasmine Awards. Whilst I think praise should come internally, it’s nice to know it’s recognised externally; it’s encouraging, you know? A lot of friends and family have been impressed I’m doing most of this on my own, and they’re encouraging and supportive in their own way. I think it surprised me when shops have expressed interest in stocking issue four because it feels like it’s becoming a ‘real’ publication.“
Fill in the blanks: a horror story about ODOU is…
“Criticism. I got some pretty tough feedback when I was crowdfunding issue four. I took comments from one of the backers personally and felt really bad about what I had been working on. It was the best thing to happen in a way. It pushed me further to improve the overall quality.”
Speaking of improvement, what is the ultimate vision for ODOU Magazine, and how will it get there?
“I’d love to craft exciting, original, even quirky themed issues. I’ve longed to do a leather issue. Articles reflecting leather fragrances, tanneries, leather clothing… And do a run of 10 or 20 leather bound, hardback copies of that issue with just the ODOU logo embossed on the front. Nothing else. Black and white photography. It’d be a real collector’s piece.”
Put one on hold for me, please! Issue four has just released – is this really the “best issue yet”?
“I’m prone to saying this! I think it comes from being a designer. You can’t rest and think you’re the best at what you do. Not that I think in those terms either, but it’s a way to encourage myself really as I’ve never been the overly confident type. It keeps me moving forward, continually trying to improve and learn more.“
Personally, what is your perfume wardrobe like?
“Oh, it’s a fairly mixed lot. I don’t really go for floral fragrances, but everything else I can be all over. There’s a bit of everything in there from designer/high street to niche fragrances. I’m a bit of a Guerlain fan, as well as Etat Libre d’Orange. I have a growing samples box that I cull on occasion.”
Fill in the blanks: good writing about perfume is…
“Sincere. Everyone has an opinion and more often than not, this tends to be forgotten. It doesn’t matter if I say Perfume X is good, what matters is the enjoyment one can get out of perfume and discovering all the interesting aspects to it. If this can be conveyed through writing, then it can only be a good thing.”
Share with us a strong fragrance memory of yours.
“I get very sentimental over smells and memories – like most people, I’m sure. As we’re coming into autumn here in London, that smell in the air, the change of seasons, it takes me right back to when I was growing up in Northern Ireland. I’ll always be a country boy at heart and the smell of brisk, fresh, clean, cold air reminds me of the country. I have a very vivid memory of an autumn’s evening when I was 17, and I swear, when the air smells right, I’m taken right back to that moment standing under the trees.”
If you need me, I’ll be in Northern Ireland… What would you say about the current state of the fragrance world? Is it too saturated, or just right?
“This is a bit subjective. I’m in the camp that believes there aren’t too many films, books, songs… So why should perfume be any different? I’m confused when this statement is thrown about and I wonder what the person saying it really means. Variety is the spice of life, they say, so go with it!”
And finally, what was the last fragrance you wore, and where?
“Dior Homme Intense. I wore it last night to a gin bar. I probably should have worn Juniper Sling from Penhaligon’s.”
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