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  1. #1

    Default My journey from medicine to perfumery

    My journey to launching rookperfumes.co.uk has been quite convoluted to say the least. Having studied medicine at University College London and graduating as a doctor in 2010, I somewhat thought my life and career were all planned out.

    I worked as a doctor full time for a few years but gradually felt a void in my life. When I applied to medical school I was always advised that universities like "well rounded people." Well I had many passions, particularly music, which I had to push aside once in the world of medicine.

    In my final year of medical school I put together a demo CD of me performing a few musical theatre numbers and dropped it through the letterbox of one of the biggest theatrical agents in London. About two hours later I got an email from their office simply saying:
    "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?"
    "As a working doctor with a few West End credits under my belt."
    A few weeks later I was signed with that very agent and 8 years later I work as a registrar in medicine and have been lucky enough to perform in shows such as "Sunset Boulevard" with Glenn Close (https://www.eno.org/whats-on/sunset-boulevard/), Andrew Lloyd Webber's "School of Rock" (https://uk.schoolofrockthemusical.com/) and will soon be playing the role of Karim in "Broken Wings" at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket (http://www.trh.co.uk/whatson/broken-wings/).

    I suppose this journey is sort of a metaphor for the conflict of the artist and scientist with me. That, probably, is where perfume comes in. Smell affects me more than any other sense. When I see patients with Parkinson's Disease who often lose their sense of smell and therefore taste, I felt I could never empathise with how terrible that must be.

    When I create a perfume, there is a point in the process where it just seems "right" to me. This is a totally emotionally driven process and every spray transports me back to that "right" moment. This I suppose is what appeals to the artist in me.

    Then there is my studio space. Weighing scales, beakers, pipettes, oils and aroma chemicals. All very reminiscent of the time I spent in laboratories during those six years of medical school. This working environment feels familiar and comfortable.

    People often ask me whether I prefer being an actor or a doctor. I always reply in the same way. I couldn't do one without the other. Doing both means I never feel jaded about either career and they appeal to different aspects of my character.

    The reality though is that perfumery combines my passion for the measured, specificity of science with the raw emotion of art.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    Awesome story. I'm a doctor (psychiatrist). I wish I had other talents too. Maybe I just haven't found them yet. Good luck to you with your perfume business. Going to check out your website now.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    You are very talented. Good luck with your new/additional venture.
    <div class="bnsotd"><b>Currently wearing:</b> <a href="ID26141851.html"><img src="http://www.basenotes.net/photos/products/33/26141851-8661.jpg"> Laudano Nero by Tiziana Terenzi</a></div>

  4. #4
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    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    I just saw School of Rock in New York.

  5. #5

    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    It's interesting how we are from different walks of life and come to perfume: medicine, the clergy, educators...
    "Why the cologne?"
    "Geez, can't a guy smell good?"
    Film, "Low Down." 2014
    Currently wearing: Natori by Josie Natori

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    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    When I applied to medical school I was always advised that universities like "well rounded people." Well I had many passions, particularly music, which I had to push aside once in the world of medicine.
    Truth. Color affects me most, but my loves of aromas, music, and sensory experiences in general are purely driven by emotions and emotional associations. That's pretty much the definition of art. I've no talent of my own to create it.
    A bull in a china shop doesn't take damage. She delivers it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    What a great story! Good that you found something that fulfills you and gives you balance in your life.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
    Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve my or other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    A very inspirational story!
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  9. #9

    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    Fascinating indeed, thanks for sharing the story with us- from a personal and highly unprofessional viewpoint alone, could NOT and in fact NEVER imagine medicine and/or pharmacy completely separate from perfume, partly because there can be so many essential oils, notes, fragrance ingredients etc. shared by both

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    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    Good Luck in whatever venture you take!
    <div class="bnsotd"><b>Currently wearing:</b> <a href="ID26148387.html"><img src="http://www.basenotes.net/photos/products/33/26148387-7393.jpg"> Carven L'Eau Intense by Carven</a></div>

  11. #11

    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    Thank you for sharing. I enjoy knowing the stories behind the fragrance house. I, for one, would enjoy periodic insights on your path forward. What has surprised you as you have started rook perfumes? What aspects do you enjoy and which least?

    Thank you again for sharing!

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    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_Russell View Post
    Fascinating indeed, thanks for sharing the story with us- from a personal and highly unprofessional viewpoint alone, could NOT and in fact NEVER imagine medicine and/or pharmacy completely separate from perfume, partly because there can be so many essential oils, notes, fragrance ingredients etc. shared by both
    More TRUTH. I suppose especially because I never ever wore fragrance to work. Never, ever, anything that would compete with things I needed to smell--some good smells and some so horrible that I'd go around the OR to apply candy flavoring to people's surgical masks. I kept a fairly large variety of candy flavoring in my cart, and breathing down a child I'd ask them what flavor air they wanted--and put just the tiniest smudge on the mask and ask them to see if they could smell it. To a kid, they'd take several quick sniffs and then a deep breath.

    Good night, little angel.
    A bull in a china shop doesn't take damage. She delivers it.

  13. #13

    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    I guess what has surprised me so much is how many people enjoy the fragrances my nose create. What I like the least is that the snobbery that exists in perfumery is almost worse than in theatre. Those who know the least seem to speak the most and when someone doesn't like a scent you make its like you personally wronged them!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    Do you ship to the US?
    A bull in a china shop doesn't take damage. She delivers it.

  15. #15

    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    Unfortunately not. Shipping perfume by air is a hurdle I haven't jumped yet!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: My journey from medicine to perfumery

    Your story resonates. I work in a similar field. As fulfilling as it is there still exists a void within that seems very hard for me to fill. Have you always wanted to be a doctor? Just curious.

    And what do you do when you have a talent for something but no longer the passion for it?

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Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000