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On scents, COVID-19, and being across the globe

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In this week’s Common Scents podcast, TAMAR connects with Dan Prasad, who is based in Australia and works in the home fragrance industry. In this candid conversation, we tackle the crazy time difference (14 hours), our scented histories, covid and scent, and more.

TAMAR:
Hey everybody, I’m so excited. I met Dan Prasad on LinkedIn of all places. I think we did, right?

Dan Prasad:
Yeah, that’s right. On LinkedIn.

TAMAR:
Yeah, yeah. And he’s actually, we are doing this at weird hours for me, and normal hours for him, but I would consider it a weird hour for me too at 6:20 in the morning Australian time. [Dan Prasad: Yes.] So kudos to you for showing up and doing this. You’re in your car on the side of the road, podcasting. So that’s, that’s really some serious, serious discipline, I will say.

Dan Prasad:
Dedicated to the cause. When there’s something cool to talk about sometimes you gotta stop and have a chat about it.

TAMAR:
Yeah. So let’s talk about that. So I will say that Dan and I met, like I said, on LinkedIn, under the fact that we both are fragrance aficionados. It is not my standard podcast’s type of “rise above adversity.” But, you know, this is the Common Scents podcast. And since being scent, the actual smell scent, s-c-e-n-t, everybody’s like, “what does that mean?” And I have to explain that. Every so often there happens to be times that I have conversations with fragrance people, so then is here and Dan is going to share that. I guess I’ll have you introduce yourself. First of all, I know I mentioned that you’re in Australia. Talk a little bit about where you are physically, what it looks like, what it looks like outside for you, maybe even.

Dan Prasad:
Okay. I’m in the state of Queensland, which is on the northeastern side of Australia on the coastline, and Brisbane is not exactly on the beach. It’s like an hour from the beach, but yeah, southeast Queensland. Queensland is like a massive state. You can fly out for two and a half, three hours and still be the same same state. That’s how big Queensland is. It’s a beautiful crisp morning. Again, for us, “crisp” is like, you know, 10 degrees Celsius as you walk around in t-shirts in New York probably when it’s 10 degrees Celsius.

TAMAR:
Now I have to Google that. What is that, 10 degrees Celsius is how many degrees Fahrenheit?

Dan Prasad:
I’m not sure. I’m not good at those conversions.

TAMAR:
Yeah, yeah. I’m going to do it right now. There’s some cool way that I read on Reddit a few weeks ago, but it didn’t sit with me, so I don’t remember it. So I, I’m going to C to F. It is fifty degrees Fahrenheit. So that’s actually about what it is right now, fifty three. [Dan Prasad: Oh, okay.] It’s about fifty three right now. It’s pouring rain. It’s been a fun day.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah. There you go. It’s been raining a little bit here as well so it’s interesting. So this time of year is a similar kind of thing as everyone else. So that’s good.

TAMAR:
Yeah, interesting. What season is it there? I don’t even know.

Dan Prasad:
We’re, last season of autumn, which you guys call fall. [TAMAR: Right.] Yeah, winter starts next month.

TAMAR:
That’s crazy. So how cold does it get for you in winter?

Dan Prasad:
Oh, nothing. In the nights, the coldest it’ll get is maybe three or four degrees in this part of Australia. Other parts of Australia gets really, really much colder in the evenings, 3 or 4 degrees Celsius in the daytime. The coldest it is going to be like maybe 16, 17 degrees Celsius, that’s as cold as it is gets.

TAMAR:
Oh wow. We’ve gotten zero degrees. Global warming affects things. I don’t think we’ve had that for a while. [Dan Prasad: Okay.] I grew up in Florida. Now, I have to do more conversions. It’s hot. 10 degrees Celsius is probably the coldest it gets and you’re wearing sweat pants and all this crazy stuff and just that’s just the nature of the beast.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah. Yeah. It’s interesting. Because when they’re in the environment, and then go onto another environment. Initially, it’s super hard to adjust. But then the body regulates itself and there you go.

TAMAR:
Yeah. It’s funny because now I go back to Florida and I get sick because it’s not my natural habitat anymore. I was born in New York, so going from New York to Florida, living in Florida for 17 years and then going back to New York and then traveling to Florida. It’s like a jolt to my my physical, whatever, my nervous system. I don’t know what it is. It’s a jolt to something because I always get sick.

Dan Prasad:
Hmm, interesting. [TAMAR: Yeah, yeah.] So, fragrance, eh? Because we’re gonna be on a weather podcast.

TAMAR:
We could. I’m getting there. We talked about how we knew each other and how we met in the context of fragrance. Explain I guess your background on that.

Dan Prasad:
I’ve been in the home fragrance industry for like, I started in the late 1990s, in the wholesale, retail, because I had my own retail store and also worked for importers in home fragrance. When I say home fragrance, I talk about incense mainly, then there are candles, oil burn, fragrant oils, melts, all that sort of things. Basically people’s love for. It’s such a huge industry that it sort of a little bit overlooked sometimes, but it’s a multibillion dollar industry, the home fragrance industry and people just want their environments to smell nice. Obviously in the last few years with what’s happening in the world, so many people at home are locked down, all sorts of things, this industry has actually been thriving

TAMAR:
Yeah, it’s really amazing. And it’s funny because you say that and I’m looking at the five candles that I have, which I never light at the same time because they’re all different. But I’m just staring at my five candles, which I basically unboxed within the last six weeks. [Dan Prasad: Oh yeah.] I have four children and I’ve been a little nervous to light candles around them. And in a way, I’ve been also sort of traumatized by the college fires that have happened, that have been spurred since people, burning incense. So I’ve been particularly cognizant of that. And I’ve kind of avoided it, even though I love that. And I prefer that the candles and the incense to the aromatherapy, everybody says, aromatherapy, for example, is the big thing. And when we first talked and you were telling me about home fragrance, I’m like, I like to believe that you have it on your person versus having it in your bedroom, because I think about it in the aromatherapy context and it’s my misspeaking. There are candles and there are essential oils that are kind of there and you don’t even know that they’re there and you might smell something, it’s not powerful anyway. And then there’s like incense and the candle and they’re like, holy crap. That actually smells amazing.

Dan Prasad:
So, yeah, so so many varying degrees of A. quality and B. presentation, all sorts of things that all come along with it. And it’s interesting what you say you feel about it’s stronger when wearing it on your person like a fine fragrance or perfume, and but especially with the whole incense history and culture. When people burn incense, either in traditional form of granules or resins or the snare or stick form, or the incense current form or whatever, that fragrant smoke is something that becomes on your person because a lot of people, in some cultures, women, when they’re doing their hair, they let the fragrance smoke go all through their hair and almost invariably have fragrance themselves so when they’re out and about, you can smell that on them.

TAMAR:
But do they remember that it’s there? So my philosophy is very different than the way people see it. And it’s really it’s also very hard to sell this philosophy because people don’t think about it. The idea is: you put on perfume in the morning, cologne in the morning, whatever it is, you put it on and then you forget that it’s there. People might smell you throughout the day like the incense being in your hair. But what do you get out of it after the fact? It’s like you’re doing it for other people. But my philosophy is that you put it on in the morning, you actually have an intention, you revisit that intention throughout the day by sniffing your wrists. If you don’t sniff your wrists every two seconds, you’re going to get anosmic, you’re not going to be able to smell. Anosmic for those who are listening is meaning losing that sense of smell. You’ll become numb to it for a while, but then you can come back to it in a few, ten, fifteen minutes and it’s back there again. So if you do that enough times, not too much, but enough times that, you know, with that aligned intention because of scent and memory being so well, well, intertwines like that would potentially change your life. You could do that. And the thing is you don’t have to limit yourself to, to perfume. I like the idea of carrying it with you throughout the day. But like, let’s say in the morning, you can’t leave your candle unattended. So I don’t know if it’s the candle’s the right thing, but when you put on some sort of, I don’t know, wax melt or something and you put on in the morning, you do the same thing, and then you come home from work and you feel the same way. It’s just a matter of revisiting the scent with the right vibes, really at the end of the day.

Dan Prasad:
Yes, yes, yeah. Most definitely.

TAMAR:
Yeah. It’s hard, though. It’s really hard because people don’t see the perfume. I’ve been mentioning this to people. “I’ve never thought of putting perfume and mental health together.” Well, I mean, there’s the aromatherapy industry. It’s huge.

Dan Prasad:
It totally makes sense. It is exactly like what you say. From the retail side of things like I was telling you, direct customers in my shop, I could see just how much people love certain fragrances or whatever it might have been, whatever the product was. They had to have it every few days or every week. It’s like “I gotta have this. I don’t feel right without this, burning this, or whatever. In that form of fragrances, it had the same importance for their own feeling good in their own well-being. They had to have that product every time. They ran out, they had to run back and get it.

TAMAR:
Yeah. I was just going to ask you, what brought you this whole world? How did you get into it?

Dan Prasad:
Uh, just naturally really. With my background in, I sort of stumbled, well, really, when I came to home fragrance, I kind of stumbled into it because my background is, I’m part, my father was Indian from Fiji, rest in peace, Dad, he’s gone about ten years now. And my mom is Dutch. So we have a very mixed culture in terms of growing up and cultural backgrounds and all that sort of thing. The Indian side of things is, there’s a lot of incense involved in spirituality in the prayers and stuff. So that was always sort of around from the 90s onward that I actually started paying more attention to that sort of thing. And then I started, because I have a natural love for certain fragrances and then I just got in the industry in terms of first selling it at markets, a shop, and then going to the wholesale side, waiting for someone, it just kind of went from there. And then you just get educated about all the products within the home fragrance market. It sort of naturally progressed, really.

TAMAR:
Yeah, well, it’s nice that you have that culture. I’ve been having conversations with people and they’re like, “elsewhere in the world, fragrance is a very big part of people’s identities, like you were saying, the Indian culture. When I first announced my site launch, I had somebody, a brand new perfumer guy, I don’t know if he was a perfumer or just a perfume entrepreneur. And he’s like “I’m opening a store in Oman can you give me some advice?” I’m like, I don’t know. “I’m just as new as you you have forty fragrances and I have two,” He really had, he started at 40, 40 different scents. I said “you should sell online, you should do this. Maybe you can ship to me and I’ll help you get it in the US market.” But it’s so hard, it’s so extraordinarily difficult to start this, especially in the U.S. market.

Dan Prasad:
This is a billion different options. And like I say, it’s usually 99 percent of it is all marketed the same way. And when you try to do something outside the box like you’re doing, people are going to just like “hang on, what’s this about?” and then really try to just kind of get them to open their minds up from a different point of view, which is an awesome thing to do. Because for you it was such a critical thing. That’s why I started chatting to you in the first place, reading your story, about how, literally, the importance of fragrance pulled you out of what you were going through. That’s powerful stuff. That shows you how powerful this can be.

TAMAR:
Yeah. And people have said it to me. Two people have actually said come up to me because I’ve shared my story openly and they’ve said the same thing. “Cologne brought me out of depression, perfume brought me out of depression.” I want to potentially interview these types of people to really get their stories. There’s my anecdotal story and there are other people having the same story. I am also potentially seeking funding, ideally, if I can study the scents, the effects of scent on depression, and if aligned with a mindset, could that change everything? Of course, there are external factors. I need to do like a very big study. We would be talking about thousands of participants in order to do it right. I’ve reached globally, on a global scale, to professors and researchers to potentially help me validate this hypothesis. And everybody is like, well, “covid is not letting us do anything.” And I’m getting a lot of pushback, so I’m applying, I’m thinking of applying for to a grant at the National Institute of Health, which is one of the United States governmental entities. I’m not really sure about those folks. I know there’s just quite a few departments and some departments underneath there. I don’t know. But there is there is there are grants there. I want to speak to somebody and kind of get some advice on it, because it’s more integrative. It’s more alternative medicine. I think there is an alternative medicine play here. I really think that there is. And I don’t know if it’s attributed, though, to any specific scent, like walking in a room and smelling some lavender and frankincense or whatever else you would be smelling, mint, or whatever it is. I think it’s more about, it could be completely new. Nothing you’ve ever tried before. And could it still help if you align it with the specific perspective? That’s where I come from.

TAMAR:
Yeah. Yeah.

Dan Prasad:
The particular fragrance that helped you initially. Did you have a history with that fragrance or was it just—

TAMAR:
So that’s a great question. So I’ve had this conversation a couple of times. But what’s interesting is, so I went through my postpartum depression and started in 2009. I actually won that perfume in 2012 in a mommy blog contest. And I was probably still postpartum depressed because I was entering all these giveaways as my way to kill time. But I didn’t really have the awareness of it. I put it on and I liked it and I put it in the corner in a cabinet, and I revisited it maybe once or twice in the interim. And then put it on again when I was at my dark day in the summer of 2018 and this is like six years later. And whatever it was, it wasn’t about that. I didn’t have like that history. And it’s interesting because a few months later when I was talking to these two people about my story and she was like, you know, maybe the idea is that it was tied to the whole amygdala and the fact that scent and that it might have triggered something based on an earlier memory, and I’m thinking, well, first of all, it doesn’t smell like anything. Second of all, the only times I’ve tried it out during the worst, depressed times in my life, maybe it was about mindset. And then I realized it’s probably true because after that, after I really got excited about scents in general, I went to the perfume stores here and I started trying on a bunch of perfumes, literally from my wrist to my shoulder. I would put on like four or five as much as could fit. I didn’t want to use the spray, the fragrance strips because I wanted them. I wanted to smell myself, it was about me. And every single one I tried I liked and I got more excited about it. So it actually made me more excited to experience scents in a different way. And it had to be variety of scents. But I think that this was an impetus, so with that being said, and I have my two scents, I’d love to get like, you know, 20, 30, 40. I think you could do this alignment, put the perfume on and whatever else. You could probably do this alignment with different perfumes, or yeah, you could establish this as your signature scent and just visit it, and hopefully there is still something there. I still think that can validate this hypothesis. I’d really like to think that I can—as long as you like it in the beginning, you can’t just hate in the beginning if you hate the scent and can’t do it.

Dan Prasad:
No, obviously not. It’s not gonna make that positive change within, so.

TAMAR:
But, that’s actually an interesting thing. It’s one of my LinkedIn posts. I scheduled this one. There’s a shampoo that they were selling at Costco. I think there are Costcos in Australia. [Dan Prasad: Yeah, there is.] OK. This specific shampoo was actually not a good shampoo, I don’t know how it got there, and I saw complaints online about it. That’s how bad it was. I don’t know what Costco buyer would have bought this because it smelled so bad. And I bought it and it wasn’t going to return it because I’m not that kind of person. And so I ended up trying it, trying it, trying it. And I would hold my nose basically to put it on, you know it’s covid. I’m not going out. People are not smelling my hair. It’s fine. I don’t care. So anyway, maybe about a week ago, it hit me that I could tolerate it. It used to be intolerable and now I’m just like “I can tolerate it”. So I think over time you could adjust to smells even if you hate them. But like that was probably like five or six months, no it was probably less, maybe three or four. But the bottom line is that’s not something I would recommend to the average human being that you have to get used to something you don’t like. So just wait for that one.

Dan Prasad:
I think it’s interesting what you said that it wasn’t really a fragrance that you had an issue with, it still was something you liked, but it still had that powerful result for you, so thats interesting. Obviously, maybe chemistry-wise, something clicked someway.

TAMAR:
Yeah, I don’t know what it was. I honestly don’t know. One of the things I say when you’re depressed. You don’t care what you look like. You definitely don’t care what you smell like. And maybe I was just at such an emotionally low level that anything, you could have given me a chocolate chip cookie and I would have been an advocate for chocolate. I mean, I don’t know about that. No, I don’t think so. But I do think that in terms of that, it was something that did awaken me. And it wasn’t an overnight thing either. It was a slower process of just feeling reinvigorated to experience the five senses as a whole.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah, okay. Mmm. So how did that perpetuate onto the other senses? Was it more—

TAMAR:
It just made me appreciate things more.

Dan Prasad:
Ah okay.

TAMAR:
It’s not like I have any type of like synesthesia where you can see colors and stuff like that and all of a sudden listen to music [and see their colors]. I would just say that I think as humans we have five senses, and if we don’t think about [them and] we take [them for granted.] If you ask any person and I think you’ve probably read it, I’m sure you’re familiar with the research, that if you ask and I think the Pew Internet did a survey that people would rather give up their sense of smell than anything else. But there was also another survey that said that teenagers are more willing to give up their sense of smell than to give up the Internet. And you don’t realize that. I was reading a Bill Bryson book. He’s a fantastic author if you don’t know who he is, and the book, it’s called Body: A Guide for Occupants. I’m sorry. It’s called Body a Guide for Occupants. And it’s a great book. He talks about how like taste is literally 80 to 90 percent smell. You don’t realize [Dan Prasad: Exactly.] how much, how well integrated that is.

Dan Prasad:
Yep. Yeah. You lose your smell and yeah, all of the sudden, food ain’t gonna be the same.

TAMAR:
So I did lose my smell during covid and I did have that experience for a while.

Dan Prasad:
How was that for you?

TAMAR:
It wasn’t the most ideal. I kept eating to think that maybe the next bite will taste… good. I was facilitating a lot of restaurant deliveries to my neighborhood. I actually paid a lot of money for this brisket joint to deliver to my neighborhood because we were all in quarantine at that time. And I was just, I was like, “this food sucks!” I didn’t realize it was me. It was me. I’ve been there before and I’ve enjoyed it, but I’m like, “what is this? Did it not travel well?” And then I’m like, “wait a minute. I think I have covid.” That was March 13, 2020. So March 15th, 2020. I went and I confirmed that I had a positive diagnosis. Wow. Yeah. Those were some crazy times.

Dan Prasad:
How long before you felt all right again? How far did it go in terms of symptoms?

TAMAR:
So I it’s interesting because I used to document every perfume that I’d wear every single day and I stopped. It was probably at least a month that I stopped. As I put it back, just speaking to the smell for a moment. I don’t even know if I have it 100 percent back or I never really have the strongest nose to begin with because I feel like I’m going through my the perfumes that I wore, I have a bunch of samples, I literally have hundreds of samples, and I’m going through them again. And there’s some that I’m discarding now and I’m not sure if it’s because I just don’t experience the scents the same way I used to or if the fact is that I just realized the second time around I don’t like them. I will say that my children are pretty perceptive and my husband’s pretty perceptive. They didn’t get covid and they smell things that I don’t so I don’t know what it is. It could be me. It could it could very well be me. It probably is. So I’m not sure in terms of in terms of smell, I would say I feel like I’m more like maybe 80 percent of the way there. But you don’t really put that out there, because regardless, I’m still appreciating the fact that I have it. [Dan Prasad: Yeah, of course.] Yeah. In terms of the other, I tested negative on April 1st of last year, so I started donating plasma right away, but the smell thing came and went. There were times when I smelled things and the smell would be very profound. And there were other times where it just felt very subtle. I don’t really have that on and off that much anymore. I did have like a few more symptoms for a while. Thankfully I’m not a long hauler that some other people are still struggling to breathe and walk in and overcome.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah.

Dan Prasad:
But it’s hard.

It’s so crazy how it reacts differently to really different people [TAMAR: Yeah] and especially now with so many different strains, like who knows now.

TAMAR:
Yeah. Yeah. Did you have any experience in your in your neighborhood or anything like that?

Dan Prasad:
Oh we’ve been super blessed in this country. It is like hardly happening, really. There’s a few peakings here and there, in certain areas, but we are walk in the park compared to most other places in the world, so we’re pretty fortunate.

TAMAR:
Yeah. Did you vaccinate? Did you have to? What’s the vaccination schedule?.

Dan Prasad:
They’ve only just started rolling it out.

TAMAR:
Wow. It wasn’t a priority.

Dan Prasad:
The majority of the population haven’t had it yet.

TAMAR:
OK, yeah. So New York is a little bit accelerated on that front. I actually did get my vaccine this year, April 1st. They rolled it out to thirty and up two or three days prior. So we rushed to get it done and I felt like I had covid. The first time for real. That was it. It was a very it was, it wasn’t a good recovery. Yeah.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah. I’ve got a few friends that are health care workers and when they had it, they felt the same. They felt like total crap for a few days and then they’re okay.

TAMAR:
Yeah. It’s very variable. Because I had covid, the Johnson and Johnson shot was not easy for me, but my husband, again, he didn’t have covid. He doesn’t have antibodies. He might have antibodies now, but he didn’t have any then. He was totally fine. And I’m sitting there with, I don’t know what a fever is, 38.9, I think. I think?

Dan Prasad:
Wow.

TAMAR:
It was one hundred and two fever. And I actually converted that one. That’s how I know it by heart. I converted that one in advance because I was talking to my other friends in Europe and it was I couldn’t, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t get up and it was hard. But thankfully, and not going back to the scent thing, I didn’t lose it that time around. It was just feeling like I actually got the virus for the first time for real.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah, yeah, wow. Really interesting how it works. How’s New York at the moment? Is it locked down, or not really?

No, no, we’re opening up, which is crazy. Restaurants are at 75 percent right now. Curfews are being lifted because forty six percent, I would say, of new York is has it has been vaccinated at least one dose, twenty three of whom have both doses. I only was a one and done because of the Johnson and Johnson. We’ve been getting emails from the governor here for the last year and it used to be like you’d see these numbers surging of those people who test, were at eight percent of people who tested positive and now we’re down to less than two percent so I think it’s giving him the confidence to open things up. But that being said, it doesn’t mean that people have to go out and about and doing things. I still realize I have to be super careful.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah. It was interesting what you were saying about the sense of smell thing and how a lot of people disregard that one the most but there’s another person I’m connected with on LinkedIn and she’s got a perfume boutique in, I think she’s in Manhattan or somewhere, and she’s actually helping people regain their sense of smell—

TAMAR:
Oh, yeah. Yeah, I read that. I think she was in a newspaper recently. She’s very expensive.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah.

TAMAR:
Good for her.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I saw some of the posts she did, a few people have really sort of, she’s helped a few people get their sense of smell back so that’s kind of interesting as well.

TAMAR:
Yeah. Yeah. That was really fascinating. They talk about how she sends them home with their own concoction and I’m just like [sigh] because I’m still new.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah she’s over the moon in terms of those things happening.

TAMAR:
I have to ask you, how did you, I know because I’ve shared my story but it’s not like I’m going overboard with hashtags. LinkedIn is a very hard place to share this stuff in general and I guess you’re surrounding yourself with the fragrance people on LinkedIn, but how did you come across my story and all that stuff? Because I know we did meet there and we’d been conversing there.

Dan Prasad:
It just popped up. It just popped up on the feed.

TAMAR:
Oh, wow. So the algorithm seems to be very, very… I guess I have to post more about, I don’t know, because I post more about mental health more than fragrance in general. But I guess posting about, it’s interesting. It’s interesting how they consider it.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah. Most of my connections on LinkedIn are uh, I don’t even know if it’s the majority but a lot of them are fragrance related people so I don’t know. It just popped up one day and it’s super interesting so I started reading and reacting to your, you know how it is, you reacting to someone’s stuff and then every time there’s something new that comes that’s on your feed again, so.

TAMAR:
Yeah, and I’m grateful for that, I will say, because it’s so hard to share this stuff and just a thumbs up makes a world of difference.

Dan Prasad:
No doubt because sometimes I say to you of what you’ve put on, no one’s says—

TAMAR:
No one says anything. It’s because it’s so raw.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s right.

TAMAR:
I feel for folks and people are saying, some people message me like, “are you OK? Why are you sharing this on LinkedIn?” I’m like, “because humans use LinkedIn.” I don’t know how to answer that, honestly, because they think about it as such a professional network that you shouldn’t ever integrate your private life there. But nowadays I feel like covid has kind of forced that, thrust us into that. We really need to—

Dan Prasad:
Think about it. LinkedIn has changed its whole platform to being much more of a social thing more than just a business thing now, it’s all integrated, intertwined now.

TAMAR:
Yeah, it certainly is. But that doesn’t mean the expectation is really. The alignment in terms of what people want to use LinkedIn for. I just did a podcast with my friend Tris a few weeks ago. And he’s like, why are you sharing this stuff on LinkedIn? That was the point of our conversation. He wanted me to explain that we’re marrying the fact that t’s not just about the professional self and the little the little sliver of yourself that you’re going to communicate, but it’s about really showing that we are people, and especially now when we’re at home and we’re on a Zoom call and your kid is in the background like mine right now, I can hear him. He’s upstairs and he’s I don’t know if you hear this, but he’s like stomping on the floor. It’s right above my head. This is the reality we’re dealing with. We should embrace it.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. There’s so much interesting stories when it comes to fragrance, not just mental health, but just how things have produced one thing and the nature of the whole, as a matter of fact, sorry, from the growers all the way to the farm of product and the journey these, all the stuff takes. This is why I’m connected to so many people within the industry from A to Z so I just find the whole thing fascinating.

TAMAR:
Yeah. I’m trying to figure out where like where to go. I guess I would want to take a step into your home. What is your home fragrance right now?

Dan Prasad:
I like the kind of woody, spicy fragrances. They’re my favorite. All those combinations, the leathers and the sandalwood and the agarwood and all that sort of thing. Both of them are my favorite combinations. It’s more than the florals and stuff that’s sort of musk and sandalwood is sort of based off of it. That’s my favorite combinations. [TAMAR: OK.] So you’ve always smelled that kind of thing coming out of my house.

TAMAR:
Yeah. Do you put on perfume or cologne or do you just limit to—.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah, I do, I do. I’m not someone who goes out actively looking for that kind of stuff much. Usually, a friend will recommend and say “try this” and give me half a bottle. Some of my friends, have got like, you walk into their place and they’ve got like 200 bottles of perfume lying around or cologne [laughs].

TAMAR:
Yeah, that’s me. That has unfortunately become me. If you ever said this to me three years ago that I’d be doing this, I would be like, you’re out of your mind.

TAMAR:
I think you you were the one who recommended that I share some videos of my life and I have, I have a few. The thing that I’m embarrassed about is that they say don’t put your perfumes in a bathroom because the humidity might not be good for your perfumes. Mine have seemed to last. And I have I have them in drawers and I have them in my bathroom. So I’ve been embarrassed to actually post these stories, the LinkedIn videos of my experience, because God forbid, somebody in the fragrance industry is actually going to post about her bathroom collection.

Dan Prasad:
Oh, I don’t think it matters, to be honest. However your media, you choose to get your story across, I think that video’s a powerful tool. That’s why most people use it. [TAMAR: Yeah.] It catches the attention pretty quick.

TAMAR:
It’s true. There’s just this purists out there that want fragrance to be this exclusive beauty product, but then again, that’s not who I want to be. I’m trying to be a product about: you wear it for yourself. You don’t wear it for anybody else. You don’t need to attract external approval. You need to feel good for yourself.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah, and ultimately that’s why you put, well, you would think that’s why someone would wear something in the first place is because they love it themselves first. Maybe they have a motive to get the attention from others with it, that might be there as well, but but ultimately, you gotta love it yourself, otherwise what the hell’s the point?

TAMAR:
Right. It’s annoying when you love something so much and then your significant other hates it. It’s funny because I will say that the fragrances I don’t like I give to my husband.

Dan Prasad:
Oh, OK.

TAMAR:
Because there is the body chemistry change. He’s really getting all my rejects and he seems to be OK with them. Yeah.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah, the body chemistry thing is interesting, how they’re even on yourself, how it can just change over time. Definitely. Smell the fragrance when you first put it on, and then, after a little bit of time, it can change, how it smells.

TAMAR:
Well, I think that always happens. I think top notes, middle notes and base notes are never, that’s, hopefully, unless you’re like a Juliette has a Gun one note fragrance show. What’s interesting is Juliette, she’s actually the brand that I’m having difficulty sniffing right now with the covid reaction. I’m not sure if that’s what it is, but, when you put it on, it could smell amazing on you, it can smell like crap on the person right next to you or just the opposite. But I don’t know if that’s a limit or whatever it is on how it’s being concocted. There’s layers to it. There’s whatever evaporates in the first 15 minutes and then within the first 15 minutes to two hours or so, or two to eight hours. It depends. And then the last two hours or so at the end.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah. What’s the general for people who’ve bought one of your two fragrances, what’s the general feedback you’ve been getting? Is there one that’s a lot more popular than the other, or is it pretty even?

TAMAR:
Right now it’s pretty even, but I get some interesting feedback. It depends because, the smoke in the vanilla is not an expected, it’s not what they’re expecting there. It’s different. And the pear and patchouli, people don’t even know what patchouli is. It’s supposed to be something you could never have had. It might have a memory to something, but it’s not something you can potentially base on a past memory. I was actually surprised. My mother hates one of them. I won’t say which one. She’s like “this one is not for me.” And then I’ve had other people who are like, “I love this more than anything, like a snowflake. And I’m just like, “Mom,” my mom is very plain Jane. So I think that’s part of the thing. I grew up never eating anything like really delicious, because my mother gave me the same plain, a little little bit of flavor, but everything was pretty bland, so my life was very bland. So it’s sort why I also I’m appreciating things more in life, food and everything else, since then, so yeah.

Dan Prasad:
Also the combinations of, the two combinations that you made, they’re pretty, they sound really cool together, regardless, even if you don’t have any idea of what the smell or the fragrance would be, but just the pear and patchouli and the smoke and vanilla, they actually sound really good together, so.

TAMAR:
Yeah. And I’m sure you would like them knowing that you have a nose for these things, I think you would love them. I wish I could ship them to Australia. I can’t ship them anywhere outside of the continental United States and Canada. And it’s super hard. I don’t know what struggles, if you have any struggles with that. But FedEx, you have to like take a training course and it’s super expensive and I already am doing everything right, so why do I need to take the course?

Dan Prasad:
Yeah. Fragrance can be, unless you’re one of those big players that ships stuff internationally and whatnot, these big corporations, companies, certain products, It’s the same with home fragrance. There’s some products in there that got a lot of restrictions on international shipping as well and I don’t understand why but there are.

TAMAR:
No, they think that it might blow up the plane or something because it has alcohol.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That kind of thing. That’s right.

TAMAR:
And I think to myself, it’s totally not that much alcohol. I think the requirement is like five liters or something like that, I’m shipping out like how many milliliters?

Dan Prasad:
Yeah. Yeah.

TAMAR:
It’s crazy.

Dan Prasad:
Yeah, interesting how it works.

TAMAR:
It’s been a fun conversation. I really enjoyed it. And I hope we conquered or tackled a lot of the fragrance convers—topics. If there’s anything that you want to add or how people can find you or learn about you and home fragrance, please share here while we have that chance.

Dan Prasad:
Oh, no worries, no worries. Nothing, not really. Just always interested to have interesting conversations with people. That’s the main thing I’m connecting with you and others about. Just chatting, get each other’s stories and how we see things. It’s always interesting to get other people’s perspectives and stories and relay it in relation to fragrance and what it means to them in their lives and how it’s affected them in their lives. I’m always intrigued by that sort of thing because it’s such a personal thing, the whole fragrance journey.

TAMAR:
Yeah. Yeah.

Dan Prasad:
That’s the beauty of it.

TAMAR:
Yeah, absolutely.

Dan Prasad:
Like anything really, it’s an art form in its own.

TAMAR:
It really is.

Dan Prasad:
It’s so personal, like any type of art form is, some people are not going to actually get it or connect with it at all and not understand why someone else is so into something. But that doesn’t matter because it’s a very personal thing. But someone out there might connect with it and on a certain level, talk about it and express about it, so that’s why we share it with someone, that’s why we share it ourselves.

TAMAR:
Right. Right. Yeah. Yeah, I’m hoping that I can sell this concept more in the United States. If you have any thoughts on that, please, by all means, because yeah, like I said, culturally, it’s just not something that the United States embraces on a regular level to make that more of a mental health level, even with mental health being such a rampant issue, it should be easy to do. But I am doing it on a shoestring budget. That’s partially the string is even more frayed than it was before. [Dan Prasad: Yeah.] I had to be creative.

Dan Prasad:
Most definitely. I think there’s ways but we’ll talk more about it. It’d be cool to have another conversation in a few months and see how things are going.

TAMAR:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely Dan. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for taking the time and in your early morning hours.

Dan Prasad:
Not a problem at all.

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TAMAR.