Here is What I’m Doing

Well, hello, everyone. I hope you’re all taking care of yourselves right now. If you’ve been out protesting, good on you! I hope you’re safe and wearing a mask.

Perfume and fragrance has not felt terribly important this past week. However, I noticed on social media, several people began circulating lists of Black-owned beauty and fragrance brands. I took a look at the perfume brands in particular. The only two brands that I had heard of before were Chris Collins and Maya Njie. I realized that I haven’t sampled or made a purchase from any Black-owned perfume brands. Not a single one!

I fall back on my designer scents, my favorites from Dior, Chanel, Burberry and YSL. They are comforting to me because they’re familiar. The thing I hadn’t realized is that these designer scents in particular exist in a very carefully cultivated bubble of whiteness. The vast majority of people involved with these fragrances are white, from the brand executives, to the perfumers, to the models chosen to front the ad campaigns. And I had never given it a second thought before! That’s how pervasive and insidious white privilege is.

Now, I am making a commitment to purchase from Black-owned fragrance brands. Each month for the rest of 2020, I am committed to exploring new Black-owned perfume brands. As you can see from the photo above, I am starting with a discovery set from Motif Olfactif for June.

I want to approach this in a mindful way. I will make purchases. I certainly will not behave like an entitled influencer and beg for free samples and bottles! I want to financially support Black-owned brands and bring some awareness by posting about them. I also want to take it a few at a time, rather than ordering all at once. I want to spend time with each sample, each fragrance, and really give each brand its proper due. Like I said above, I am kicking this off with Motif Olfactif right now.

This is only the beginning! It feels like we’re on the precipice of real global change. Let’s make sure that it’s lasting change and not just a fleeting moment.


The photo above was taken by me. Nothing in this post was gifted.

David @hoodscentz on instagram put together his own list of Black-owned fragrance houses, which is the list I’ve been paying attention to.

Fashionista posted this list of 250+ Black-owned and founded beauty and wellness brands.

@esteelaundry on instagram compiled their own list of Black-owned beauty brands.


2 thoughts on “Here is What I’m Doing

  1. I really love how you’re using your platform to take action. I don’t know much about the fragrance world, but it’s not surprising that it’s also a white European dominated industry. The only brand you mentioned that I’m familiar with is Chris Collins. I actually have a sample of Tokyo Blue, and I made a point to try it this week! I got a bunch of samples recently and I just hadn’t gotten around to sampling everything yet, but this was a great push. Thank you for highlighting Black-owned perfume brands.

    1. Mainstream fragrance really is consolidated in Europe, likely because it’s so tied to the fashion industry. I learned a lot about the industry from reading Chandler Burr’s book “The Perfect Scent.”

      I want to order some Chris Collins samples later this summer!

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