Saturday 21 August 2021

Cathay Pacific. Parfums de Voyage.

I started writing this journal post about 3 years ago, now that I am finally getting around to finishing it, it is astonishing how much the world has changed. As I was looking through photos from this time of my life to add to this post, I was reminded how much travel featured in my life pre Covid. I started working on this campaign for Cathay Pacific in July 2017 and in the 18  months surrounding this trip, I traveled to 18 countries. How far away that seems, the ability to just get on a plane and go somewhere, anywhere. So, let's go back just over 4 years, when the world was a different place.  

Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities. I adore the hustle and bustle, the mix of old and new and the meeting of east and west. I love to wander the streets and discover bars and shops, particularly beauty shops. My bathroom is filled with interesting elixirs, potions and masks purchased when I have been there for Cosmoprof. It's like the NYC of Asia, and I was astonished to discover that Hong Kong has several beaches. My friend look at me like I had lost all reason and stated "Well, we are in South East Asia you know.' Excellent point Friend. 


You can imagine my excitement when I was approached by an advertising agency, McCann, to create a fragrance for Cathay Pacific. The scent-scape of Hong Kong is so unique, you have the salty harbour, spice shops, tea houses, flower markets and the green fresh air scent of the Peak. Creating this fragrance was going to be fun!

I was flown to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific and had the pleasure of experiencing their Business Class. I love the pointy end of the aircraft, (I was a Flight Attendant for four years in my twenties) and I was really impressed by the cabin and the staff.

I was accompanied by a film crew led by Director Edward Copestick and Director of Photography Boris, as well as Colin from the agency. They were to film me in locations that I had suggested would be good for scent, such as the flower market, the spice shops of Wan Chai, and The Peak, as well as the Cathay Pacific lounge.

We landed in the morning and went straight to The Pier for filming. Luckily, the lounge had amazing shower  facilities so I could refresh myself after the flight. The lounge itself is really impressive. They have a noodle bar, a tea house, a food hall with a pizza oven and the Champagne is Moet. I judge an airline not just on their business class cabin and lounge, but on the Champagne they serve on board and in the lounge and if I am offered it onboard prior to departure. I am happy to say Cathay Pacific passed the test. The welcome aboard drink even had a rose in it. Double points as I am a tragic rose addict.

The next 2 days passed in a haze of sniffing everything imaginable with cameras pointed at me, whilst trying to look interesting. Our Fixer had organised lunch in a really traditional restaurant so I got to indulge in my other love as well, food. The last day was capped with a trip on a Junk around the harbour. Sunset in Hong Kong on the harbour is a sight to behold


This flower was mesmerising. I wish I knew the name of it.

I began the day with straight hair, HK humidity is not my friend.

The unforgettable peak.

The Temple.

You can see the amazing videos created by Edward and the team here

 The Making of Parfums de Voyage

On  my return home, I put together the list of scents I had experienced and how I would build them into a perfume. It was approved by the agency and Cathay Pacific, and then I set to work with my perfume house to create the fragrance. Roland, who is the owner of the perfume house, loves a challenge, (and a chat) so we spent a bit of time talking about our impressions of Hong Kong and how that would translate into scent. Roland and I worked with the perfumer to come up with a few different mods including the notes in the brief in different percentages, I loved all of them but it is my job to select the most suitable ones and recommend to the client. We made a couple of small changes to the fragrance and we had a fragrance that we were all very happy with.

At the same time, I was also working with the design department on the packaging and the bottle. I work with a manufacturer in China when producing large quantities of packaging. It can be a little challenging at first, but once we have overcome the initial hurdles, they produce an excellent product at a good price point. The bottle and the packaging samples were approved so once the fragrance is finalised, we add the allergens to the packaging and all other legal requirements such as physical address etc. As the product was intended to be a free gift, we were not under legal obligation to include the ingredients list, but I treat any product produced by The Powder Room as as retail product and adhere to global regulations to produce the best product possible.

Sample  bottle and box

At times there is a push back when it comes to the ingredients listing on packaging for perfumes from clients, especially promotional fragrances, legally we are required to list any of the 26 allergens contained in the fragrance, along with alcohol, any preservatives etc. Most people don't understand there is a difference between the fragrance description and ingredients listing. Even if you make a fragrance from pure essential oils, you are not legally obligated to list what those oils are, as the formula is protected IP, but you do have to list the allergens present in those essential oils.

 Once the design is all approved, we have samples of the bottle and the box made for approval from the client.  Once samples and the fragrance is approved, we then progress to production. This is the most challenging part, as I was working with about 8 different suppliers, across different timelines and currencies. Its all about scheduling and deadlines at this point, and this part of NPD is responsible for any grey hairs I have. Working with agencies, you have to pretty agile, a change in direction when you are into production is not uncommon. 

The finished product looked amazing, we produced 10,000 units that were to be given to guests on the flight coming to Australia from Hong Kong. I also created a separate range of scents that highlighted the various notes used that were given to VIPS and influencers based on their travel data. 

I love seeing the feedback on social media for the products I create, and people were loving their fragrance. 

Image Credit tinmanfromaus
Image Credit Katerina A

Image Credit Caroline Maree

If you have a business and would like The Powder Room to create a fragrance for you, please contact us on  We do everything from ideation to finished and compliant product ready for sale.