Prachi Saini is an olfactory artist. She runs perfume workshops for clients but especially enjoys creating new and different scents.
What’s your story?
I started my life as an architect/construction coordinator. I completed my business education and continued working in the corporate world until I had had enough.
Now, I am a passionate olfactory-artist and perfumer. I love creating smells that are unique, creative, interesting or even disgusting. Most of my work has been related to Singapore’s history or places. For example, the smell of a prison cell during the Japanese era or the smell of the Singapore stone.
To keep things going we needed money, which comes in by running our Perfume Workshops. This enables people to ‘make their signature scent.’
My latest pet project is to distill oils from the ‘native orchids of Singapore.’
What excites you most about your industry?
I can be seen as part of two separate industries, so I am detailing them in two sections:
1). Perfume Workshops: Meeting new people from all over the world. Understanding their likes and dislikes. I also like the challenge of being able to help customers make their perfect perfume every single time.
2). Olfactory Art: I love the fact that it is slowly being recognised. I get a thrill when people get shocked by disgusting smells and yet agree. I also love working with children and making them aware of the world around them.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in India. I have lived in the UK and the USA, but I eventually found my way back to HK and I am now in SG.
I love the US for it’s sensibility, but my heart will always be in Asia. As erratic as Asia can be, there is beauty in it’s diversity.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
It used to be Hong Kong, but when I came to Singapore, I realised that there is no easier place than Singapore. My reasons for choosing Singapore over others are;
1). Ease of starting: It took me less than a day to set up. I didn’t need to hire anyone or to pay my taxes (IRAS guided me on phone).
2). Immense Government support: The number of tax breaks, Govt grants which are given to a new business are unbelievable. And not just that, in my case STB got several overseas reporters to visit the perfumery, which gave us international visibility.
3). Open minded people: Many of my clients are locals and mostly citizens. They are kind, comfortable and accommodating.
4). Tourist: 6 million residents and 12 million tourists. This gave me a chance to explore a new market.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
1). Never stop
2). Age doesn’t matter
Who inspires you?
All successful ladies who are also good mothers. Indra Nooyi, Martha Stewart, J K Rowling and more.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Haben Girma: A deaf and blind lady born in Africa. If she can become a Harvard lawyer, despite the hindrances, we have no reason to stop.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I signed up for my MBA after my second daughter was born. I would have changed that and signed up before the kids were born.
How do you unwind?
Playing with my children who are now 8 and 10.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali: Bali is beautiful, artistic and appeals to all senses including the olfactory-sense, which to me or any other perfumer is very important.
Hoi An: Hoi An is another creative place and it takes you by surprise. One goes to Vietnam for cheap shopping and to see remnants of the Vietnam war. Hoi An is anything but that. The connection to Japanese culture is also completely unexpected.
Siem Reap: This country shows the world that poverty doesn’t mean unhappiness. What beautiful people live in such a destroyed country. Once it would have been beautiful and you can see what would have been possible.. I would strongly recommend going to the ‘War Museum.’ It’s a small setup by an NGO.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Because Asia is very different and most travellers do not know what to expect. It doesn’t matter how many books one has read about Asia, there are bound to be surprises.
This kind of collective effort was missing until recently and I would recommend anyone visiting Asia to read this book over any other.
Shameless plug for your business:
Create your signature scent with Je t’aime perfumery. Visit our website: www.Jetaime-Singapore.com
How can people connect with you?
Email ([email protected]) and phone (+65 91814871)
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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