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bihter

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every time they told me “how dare you", I saw that I had succeeded in everything

10.2021 I #16

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N: Welcome Bihter.

B: Thank you. So do you. You brought us cure, brought us serenity.

N: Thank you for opening the doors of your workshop to us. Where and how would you like to start?

B:  I have been with fragrances as long as I can remember myself. Fragrance design, the science of smell, is not a profession for me; it’s a lifestyle. I have been in fragrances since I was six years old and even before. I was born in Bulgaria. My mother's grandmother, Ayşe Nine -she passed away at the age of one hundred and eight- is my hero, my role model.

She loved to make ointments and creams. She was also interested in scents. She’d make a fire, put the cauldron on it; she used to throw orange peels into the water while washing the sheets and pillows. She would put the lavender sachets; “Cabbar, you wake up,” she would say. Since the late 1800s, they have been using the knowledge that the citrus (citrus) energizes and the lavender makes you sleep, which we will learn much later. She understood the language of plants, rode horses and used weapons. She was a very strong woman. She was in love with nature, she was a land woman…

We came to Turkey when I was 6 years old. I was smelling everything. They even thought that I had a problem. When my mom took me to her doctor friends, it turned out that my sense of smell was sensitive. My parents wanted me to study medicine, but I studied psychology. While I was studying, my interest in scents continued. I also worked as a manager in plazas for many years. But nothing fully satisfied me. I was constantly doing research on scents. I was going as far as Topkapi archives. How has the scent been used throughout history? How did Byzantium use the scent? It was like digging a well with a needle… When you examine Europe, you encounter only perfume related to scents. Perfume is a successful area of cosmetics, but it was not what I wanted. I was interested in the chemistry part of the job. My research continued for many years. While my research was continuing, I almost bottomed out for a moment. Just at a time when I was about to give up everything, with the encouragement of my friends, I started preparing fragrances for them. Then I decided to establish my own brand and I did.

Later, I started to give lectures at university, to represent my country on international platforms, and to work with many famous names in the world and Turkey. Since there was no school on this subject in our country and no one could get a diploma, no one considered it as a profession. So I decided to establish my own school to wear my own crown. I faced too many obstacles. Especially from my relatives… Who will you tell? You have a guaranteed job, don't risk it! What you say can’t happen! How dare you establish a school! It requires a lot of capital… etc. I think it's just their own fears, their own anxieties… They're trying to curb you because of their own fears. How dare you, when there are so many great ones as brand! I've heard this so much... Every time they told me “how dare you", I saw that I had succeeded in everything”. I decided to start from somewhere and founded an academy. My husband was my greatest helper. He has been very supportive to me. He walked with me.

First, we had to make fragrance expertise a profession. For this, we had to set the standard first. But since this business was not before us, it did not have a standard. We applied to the Vocational Qualifications Authority and set up a workshop. What is a fragrance specialist? What paths should young people go through who want to do this profession? I decided to present what I had accumulated in the well that I dug with a needle to people who fell in love with this profession, and thus my journey began.

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