Meet Ryan Hunts, Founder and Perfumer of Beach Geeza !
One night, I was having a lively conversation with two British friends of mine about the idea of creating a fragrance house. One of them suggested ‘Call it: ‘Party on the Beach!’’ And I liked that concept, but it needed more personality, so I started rattling off different names: ‘Beach Guy’, ‘Beach Bloke’, ‘Beach Geeza’ and suddenly they both said, ‘that’s it! Beach Geeza! That’s you Man, you’ve got to call it that!’ And so, I did.
Q: Beach Geeza is a niche fragrance brand for warm weather and vacation fragrances. Can you tell us more why that is important to you?
It seemed a natural fit for me. I dream a lot of the beach; I grew up on the beach and some of the best times of my life were spent on a beach. And as a self-taught perfumer setting the goal of creating the ultimate beach scent was a tremendously valuable creative touchstone, I would get frustrated on the creative journey, but I never got lost in the weeds, I always knew my true north led to the beach.
Q: Before fragrances, you were a Director and Cinematographer for motion pictures. What was that career like? What was awesome? What could you live without? Do you miss it?
A career as a Director and Cinematographer was a dream come true that also showed me the value in the saying- ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ The most awesome things about it were the inspired craftsmanship that would go into a project, the ability to lead such talented people, the international travel and to see the reaction on people’s faces when they saw your work for the first time. But I don’t miss the sleepless nights coupled with early call times, the imposter syndrome, the politics of the business and the headache inducing stress that would occur when things weren’t working.
And the final product, good as it may have been and received was very disposable, here and gone, ‘what have you got next?’ was a common question. I saw this burn out a lot of my colleagues and I noticed anyone over 40 in the business was beginning to look a bit washed up. So, I made it my goal to create something that could last forever and transcend disposable media culture. I do miss dreaming of new ideas for films and working alongside such talented people, but I’m much happier now that it’s all behind me.
Q: So how did this Director/Cinematographer turn into a Perfumer?
It’s a long story with a few key rungs on the ladder as I climbed towards doing something significant with my life. Since I was a boy, I wanted to find the ultimate signature scent, I wanted to be respected and important like the men in my family, and I wanted to do it all my own way. They say we’re all following a star in our lives and when we first start out, the star, seems a very, very long ways away. And after a long time of following it, our star, will move to a completely new area of the sky and you then must make the big choice whether to follow it in its new direction or not.
I’ve discovered that if you switch to the new direction, you’ll find that the star is closer to you than it was in the previous direction. They say the star may switch directions on you many times in your life and by the end if you’ve followed your star through all its different directions your life, from a 10,000-foot view, will look like an actualized and majestic mandala. So, turning into a Perfumer is an example of my star moving. To add to this, one can tell their star is moving when they get super passionate about something they’ve never done before for no apparent reason. Pay attention, because however foolish it may look to others; this may be a message from your future self-telling you your star is about to move.
Q: When you were learning perfumery, did you teach yourself? Go to classes or have training?
I’m still learning; it seems to never stop. I don’t have any formal training and I’ve never taken any classes. I did find a couple of YouTube videos by a guy named Peter Carter (perfumer of Centauri Perfumes) and his channel was called ‘Fragrance View’. Peter did about two years of work and research on perfume creation and crammed it all into two 45-minute videos. While these videos didn’t make me a perfumer, they gave me enough technical information to get started. And just like an expressionist painter who’s trying to communicate his emotions with color, I did it with scent. Like any artform there isn’t the same tried and true method that works for everyone. I tend to be very experimental as a person, that’s why I’m a Perfumer, not a brain surgeon.
Q: How long did it take you to go from perfumer-in-training to the launch of your first fragrance, Coco Moon?
I started seriously researching perfume creation in the spring of 2017, I made the investment in lab gear and raw materials in July that same year and then the soft launch for Coco Moon happened in the Spring of 2018, almost exactly a year after I’d started.
Q: When Coco Moon came on the scene, it had a lot of buzz around it in the niche fragrance community. How did that happen? How did it make you feel?
It was very good timing. There weren’t too many indie niche brands launching on Instagram at the time. And the concept of the Beach Geeza brought a punk rock attitude to the fragrance community that was very well received because it was fresh and authentic. The fragrance community was interested in the concept of Beach Geeza before they’d even smelled anything.
Then one day in the Spring of 2018 a follower of mine made some comments on a post by MrCologne76, an influencer on Instagram, and he was intrigued. I spotted this, sent him a DM, he gave me his address, I sent him two samples of Coco Moon and Juniper Java. A week later, he made a post about my two fragrances that was beautiful, awe inspiring, humbling and surprising. It really kicked things off and the fragrance community began referring to me as a legit perfumer.
So, I scrambled to produce more, I sent out hundreds of free samples, it was a lot of work, but the investment paid off. It felt wonderful. It was the first time in my life that I didn’t feel an imposter syndrome, Coco Moon really brought joy to people’s lives, and it was something I’d created from scratch with hard work, dedication and passionate energy.
Q: After the success of Coco Moon, you developed more fragrances, including Ocean Water, which we are featuring in the August Collection. Can you tell us more about your creation process in general and how Ocean Water came to be?
I’d always had the intention of creating a fresh marine fragrance. And Ocean Water was by far the most challenging fragrance to create, yet it’s been the most technically rewarding. I learned more during the process of creating Ocean Water than anything else thus far.
Every one of my fragrances begins with a base accord that reminds me of my travels, somewhere I’ve been before. A strange alchemy happens during the process of sniffing through raw materials, mixing, blending, and wearing experiments on my skin that will strike me that I’m on to something good. Ocean Waters base reminded me of the smell of your skin after you’ve swam in the Pacific Ocean and been lounging on the beach all day. It had a sexiness to it.
However, this was just the beginning, in those early days every fragrance I attempted to make got built into a Frankenstein’s monster, I would way overdo it with complex accords and deep smelling naturals, and it would end up getting very muddled. But, bit by bit, I would strip things back, dilute certain materials, pull things out completely, hit a dead end, and start again from scratch always knowing that I was going to create a fresh aquatic marine fragrance that smelled like nothing else on the market. It took almost two years to complete the formulation, there were many subtle changes, and even after the launch of Ocean Water I was still tweaking batches. But what’s resulted is an aqueous, fresh, citrus, petrichor, sea salt, driftwood, ambergris and musk fragrance that many of my customers genuinely love because it takes them to the beach.
Q: What plans do you have for Beach Geeza for the rest of 2023 and 2024?
Right now, I’m very focused on growing and scaling the business. I plan on Beach Geeza being at more Farmers Markets, pop-ups, retail shows and store shelves than ever before. I’m also excited that my team is growing, I have two wonderful young Ladies who are helping me in all facets of the business and more people want to help and join the team all the time. My dream is to take Beach Geeza out on the road on tour hitting different cities, towns and beaches all over America bringing the fragrances directly to the people. I’ve bought a travel trailer and it’s going to happen.
Let’s learn more about you!
Q: Tell us something that most people don’t know about you?
My Father invented the Flowbee Vacuum Haircutting System (how cool is that!).
Q: As a new small business owner of a fragrance company, what challenges are you facing?
Two things are difficult: Scaling and international shipping. Since I use some very expensive raw materials in my fragrances it’s been tough to create larger batches, but I refuse to compromise and will figure it out. International shipping for perfume is also very difficult to deal with. Many people around the world want to try my perfumes but because of stringent laws around shipping flammable goods I just can’t do it right now and it’s very frustrating.
Q: In the same regard, what do you find to be rewarding?
I love seeing someone’s face light up when they smell one of my fragrances for the first time and it’s what they’ve been looking for. A few times people have cried tears of joy because one of my fragrances took them back to their childhood in a Ratatouille moment. It’s extraordinary. And, it’s just fun to tell someone that you’re a Perfumer who makes beach fragrances when they ask what you do, they never expect to hear that.
Q: Outside of Beach Geeza, what other creative outlets do you have?
I ride motorcycles with my friends, I train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and I’m a Dad to a 10 year old boy who needs me to be a good example in his life, so I try to stay out of trouble.
Q: Where do you consider your happy place?
The Beach, duh!
Q: What is your favorite word?
It’s a toss-up between “Autonomy” and “Explore”
Q: What is your least favorite word?
Q: What turns you on?
Mind blowing experiences.
Q: What turns you off?
Being a responsible adult, but we all must do it.
Q: What’s your favorite note?
Q: What’s your least favorite note?
Q: What are you smelling right now?
A fresh Vetiver accord I’m working on.
Q: If you could describe your brand in 3 words, what would they be?
Enjoy life friends.
Q: Is there anything else you want our readers (or us) to know?
I’m an Aquarius.
Follow Beach Geeza on Instagram!
Photo credits: Beach Geeza
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