The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) and the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) are the two organizations involved with developing standards for fragrance materials. IFRA examines the research conducted by RIFM, and informed by that data, sets standards for the use of fragrance materials. One of the first things our deep dive revealed: these standards could go further. Armed with determination to do better, we developed our own set of standards that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the industry. A set of standards we would expect to have as customers, that we felt good about.
We took the framework for our new standards to the fragrance houses. Overall, the perfumers and fragrance chemists were very supportive but skeptical about the possibilities of actually developing fragrances that performed to our and our customers’ expectations within this framework. We weren’t discouraged—we’ve heard this before. First, it was about the limits of fragrancing soy wax; then, it was about our crusade against phthalates. But backing down from a challenge isn’t really in our DNA.
With determination aplenty, a hefty helping of sheer stubbornness, and our on-staff chemical engineer, we dug in. If we were going to do this thing, we were going to do it right.
Here’s where the training montage plays. We overhauled our testing process and facilities; we hired new people with the skills, education, and experience we needed; we developed a new tool for evaluating fragrance oils.
We knew this journey wasn’t going to be easy. This new set of CandleScience standards presented many challenges and required closer working relationships with perfumers and chemists. It also required us to really know our stuff!
It was tough going at first. We tested around 600 fragrance revisions in total. But slowly, steadily...we discovered fragrances we loved that met our new criteria. We encountered less skepticism about our safety standards as the fragrance houses began to see for themselves the quality and beauty of the fragrances we’ve been able to create.
There’s another piece of fragrance revisions we haven’t touched on here yet. These new scents we develop also have to perform and smell amazing! This is one of the most difficult parts of the entire process; some of the ingredients being removed are the ingredients that allow these fragrances to perform so well. With some of our scents, like “classics” and flagship fragrances, the revised version must be exact. (Or, as close to the original as possible.) With others, we took the opportunity to update the character as well.
Tastes change over time, and like fashion, fragrance preferences modernize. A Little Black Dress was a wardrobe staple 50 years ago and it’s a wardrobe staple today; but the cut, the fabrics, and the draping evolve.
Revisions are also a chance for us to put into practice everything we’ve learned about fragrance and how it performs in soy wax. After all, the cold throw is what sells a candle, and the hot throw is what turns a new customer into a repeat customer. The result? Scents that are strong, modern, and clean.