Famous German writer Patrick Süskind writes in his bestselling novel Perfume the following:
“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”
The main character of the novel, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is gifted with an extraordinary talent, he has the ability to scent the odors that ordinary people can’t feel. Jean-Baptiste is an imaginary character but on one of the most beautiful streets of New York, in the vintage gallery, there is a man who has the Baptiste like senses. He is real and his Name is Chad Murawczyk. Chad is the founder of the world known perfume brand MiN NEW YORK.
Exquisite perfume bottles are perfectly put side by side on the wooden shelves, the etiquettes of the fragrances tell the stories about their natural ingredients and are patiently waiting for the customers, who are going to fall in love with them. Those fragrances will soon become part of their natural smell.
In 1999, Chad establishes an Atelier and offers the highest possible quality product and state of the art service to his customers. He instantly gets the adequate results and MiN NY becomes the primary choice for the perfume lovers. The mission of the brand notes that, “A well-lived life is nothing more than the collection of well lived moments. Time is our only true asset and how we spend it should be the most important decision of every new moment” and that’s very true. Chad undoubtedly appreciates the scarcity and uniqueness of time and transcends it through his exceptional odors.
Chad, how do you create scents? What is the inspiration behind the perfume creation?
Fragrances to me are moods and feelings. For who I am as a person, I have a specific set of values that I want to establish. I have a keen understanding and appreciation for “the best” but I cannot stand arrogance in any way. Its unnecessary and a sign of insecurity. But there is something magical about working with these materials and I imagine having a conversation with fellow individuals around the world through the work. My goal is for someone to be able to sit quietly in their home and connect with me through this shared sense of smell. It is a conversation of like minded individuals if you will.
As a perfumer you have to convey concepts and the moods with fragrance compositions that require fine sense of smell and an exquisite skill to produce olfactory compositions. How did you develop those skills and which are the most important traits that perfumer should have in order to create heavenly scents as one of MiNs?
I am a designer not a perfumer. How I work is by establishing a mood and a theme for the fragrance that I want. No different than a director of a movie or an architect, I establish the set and the order of events and the ultimate destination. I have learned quite a lot by focusing on the conscious act of smelling. While I always had a good sense of smell and my parents taught me quite a lot about cooking and food in general, I didn’t embrace the singular focus of smell until after college. At that point every single bottle or dish or environment I found myself in, I would take the time to consciously register as much as I could and then decouple each element. The world is full of blends and constructions. Learning what is building on what I think is a key to understanding how to make new constructions.
How did you develop your brand into a successful business? Can you remember the most crucial breakthroughs from the timeline of MiN New York?
It has taken many years to get to this point and each day I view as a blank sheet of paper. On that paper I establish a set of initiatives both short and long term and I continuously revisit these lists. My work days start quite early as I have global market partners and I work well into the evening. I don’t really view any of this as “work” per se. It is more my life and pouring energy into manifesting into reality what exists many times only in my mind. Some of the crucial breakthroughs I have found come only after one has done the work to get to the opportunity for a breakthrough. Successful people generally have a high pain threshold and a simple refusal to accept failure. While there are certainly more details and crucial business aspects that dictate the ultimate success or failure of a venture, nothing positive happens without simply “doing the work”. Some crucial breakthroughs first and foremost was agreeing to take this career path in the first place. I am not some wealthy trust fund baby, I started from nothing in my parents basement many years ago. I am just like anybody else but singularly focused on manifesting what exists in my mind and sharing it with those who appreciate the work.
What is the history of the store? When and how was it established?
After a number of years evaluating spaces, I found the right place for MiN and opened in 2008. It was the peak of the recession in New York City and everyone I knew said it was a mistake. I guess they were wrong. I fell in love with Crosby Street in Soho. It is the most romantic street with an incredible history. How could I not want to open my shop where Andy Warhol and Basquait would hang out? How could I not want David Bowie as a neighbor? It is just so cool because it is so authentically New York City.
Quoting the mission of your brand, “Life is nothing else than the combination of well lived moments” Which were those kind of moments for you?
Ah there are so many when I take the time to reflect. Although I have had an appreciation for wine for many years, it was not until I spent a week in Montalcino sipping and thinking and looking out onto the vineyards did I truly have an appreciation for what was in the bottle. Another moment was simply floating on the surface of the Red Sea staring at the sun rising into the sky with sea salt drying on my face. The times when I would listen to my parents talking in the kitchen preparing a family dinner. All of these moments are just that, moments. Learning to savor them, look for them, and, hopefully, learning how to create authentic moments in life I think is a key to a well lived life. While part of life is being open to allowing things to happen, I do feel that there are countless opportunities to create these moments and plant seeds for these memories proactively. It works, try it.
All humans have their natural scents, how do they react with the fragrances? Should the smell of a perfume transcend the natural scent or should it just be used as a potion?
While certain body chemistry, diet and age come into play and need to be understood and respected, I feel that perfume is about transcending time and space. It is a bit about adventure and escapism. Humans love to dream and perfume can help unlock hidden rooms in ones mind.
Designs of the perfume bottles are very exquisite and eye-catching. Who stands behind the product design?
Thank you so much! Design runs through my veins and I set a painfully high standard for my own definition and expectation for the MiN bottle. I wanted to create something that was iconic, no different than the Chanel No 5 bottle. It was a simple question I asked myself - is it possible to create a new legend in packaging? How can it be classic and new at the same time? Was there any way to innovate? Looking back on the entire process, it is astounding how much time I spent on the tiny little details and how challenging it was to bring those ideas from concept through production. But I am satis ed and the bottle is an accurate reflection of me.
According to you, which are those three words that define MiN New York perfumes? Innovative, Timeless, Modern.
Perfume creation is generally based on the smell, which is one of the five senses, how do the rest of the senses contribute in fragrance formation?
Without question sight. People talk about synesthesia and there is a correlation. I think of colors quite often when working on a scent concept. I also explored the concept of touch with PLUSH from Scent Stories Volume 2 which I think worked out quite well.
MiN New York scents tell their stories, which one is the most precious of all to you and why?
Well, it used to be DAHAB as that was a time of breakthrough in my own life while spending time under the desert stars. But at this moment in time AD LUMEN resonates quite strongly in me. Life is a balance between darkness and light. I certainly know the allure of darkness and I love all things black, but there is something quite beautiful about pursuing lightness. Life is so short and even in the darkest of times all it takes is a glimmer of light....
Amarta’s readers would probably like to know, if Georgian market is in your nearest plans?
Yes absolutely! Georgia is a very interesting country with a rich history and culture and when MiN enters a new market, I feel, in a way, that we are building relationships with the people of the country. Perfume brings people closer and opens up the mind and builds bridges to understanding rather than walls. MiN New York will be in Georgia starting April, 2017.