Meet Sarah Baker, Founder of Sarah Baker Perfumes, a London-based fragrance house. Learn how her fragrances were initially inspired by fabrics but as the line grew, inspiration to create fragrances like a play, each with it's own distinct character. Discover fun facts, like Sarah used to be a synchronized swimmer and find out how the Institute for Art and Olfaction (which we adore) started her olfactive journey, even across the pond!
Q: What is your title?
Founder? CEO? Alexis Carrington? Lol I still have impostor syndrome.
Q: You are American born but a long resident of London. Can you tell us more about that?
I was born in San Francisco and grew up in Buffalo then went to art school in San Francisco where I met my now husband who convinced me to do my MA in London. Moved to London in 2001.
Q: Do you remember the first perfume/cologne you wore? How old were you?
Gosh, I was a late bloomer. Beyond the pure essential oils I was into as a hippie kid- I eventually got into Body Shop White Musk at age 15.
Q: How long have you been interested in scent and perfume? How did you start learning about it?
Since 2014 when I connected with old friend Saskia Wilson-Brown from the Institute for Art and Olfaction (IAO). They have an amazing educational program, mostly taught by Ashley Eden Kessler (who made Greek Keys and Leopard).
Side note: Sarah was a finalist in the Independent category for the Art and Olfaction awards with Alante, perfumed by Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays! Yay!
Q: You work with perfumer’s from around the world and we love that! How did you build these relationships and how are they special to you?
The perfume world is very international and I love that too. The first perfumer I met was Ashley Eden Kessler at the IAO, and then about 2 years later I met Sarah McCartney at 4160Tuesdays when I went there for a workshop. I met Andreas Wilhelm at the IAO’s International Scent Summit. Miguel Matos was supposed to be a journalist; turns out he is a fantastic perfumer and I am honored to say that I am the first brand to launch him. Since I live in London, I can more easily get to Italy to visit the trade fairs like Pitti Fragranze and Exsence, where I meet perfumers. Now I know a lot of perfumers.
Q: How has your style evolved since you first began creating fragrances?
My first 2 fragrances were Leopard and Greek Keys and they were inspired by my favourite fabric motifs. Lace and Tartan quickly followed. I thought I wanted to create perfumes forever that had motifs as an inspiration. Since then I realised that I would like the words and stories be more open to interpretation and allow the viewer/smeller to use their imagination. Jungle Jezebel is a song; Rules of Attraction is a book; Atlante is a made-up word that evokes “Atlantic or Atlantis” and Charade is a film. So the inspiration is very broad and ever changing.
Q: We see that you are an artist as well, can you tell us more about that…what medium you work with and how does that influence your style with perfumery?
I work in many mediums, particularly photography, film, and performance. I am none of the above however, and may fall under the specific genre of conceptual artist. Recently I use storytelling and create heightened narratives such as Soap Operas, plays, telenovelas, and Romance Novels. The perfume narratives somehow fit into these genres. I love how each perfume become like a distinct character in some kind of smelly drama. And I also love creating the narrative around the fragrance.
Q: What do you want someone who wears your fragrance to know about you and your brand?
That each of the fragrances are very high quality materials. We use high concentrations of oils. We use a lot of natural materials that are very high quality and our synthetics are carefully added because that makes the perfumes have more nuances that would otherwise be impossible to achieve. We do what we want and what we like- not what we think will sell.
Q: Of all of your fragrances, is there one that stands out as your favorite? If so, why? If not, why?
Atlante because it is an ever changing iridescent fragrance that is sometimes invisible and sometimes screaming. Jungle Jezebel because I learned something about perfume during the transition from hate to love.
Q: What are you most proud of with your brand or your fragrance compositions?
I love that they are all very different from each other. They are like a cast of characters in a contemporary Soap drama.
Q. Tell us something that most people don’t know about you?
Three things: I am a mother, I used to be a synchronised swimmer, I am a coffee fiend.
Q: If you could describe Sarah Baker Perfumes in 3 words, what would they be?
Artistic, consistent, everlasting.
Q: What’s next for you and Sarah Baker Perfumes?
More fragrances! More perfumers! And a perfume composition that I myself made.
Greek Keys was featured in the July 2019 Collection for Women, Fixed in Place, and Lace was featured in the September 2019 Collection for Women, Comforts of Home. We are thrilled to have Sarah and her wonderful fragrances in the Olfactif family!
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