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quarta-feira, 10 de fevereiro de 2016

Happy Mardi Gras from MojoMagique: An Interview with John Kennedy

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

Fragrantica's Executive Editor, Marlen Elliot Harrison, sat down to chat with John Kennedy, one of the two twin brothers responsible for developing the MojoMagiqueFragrances.
TWENTY (!) different Fragrantica commenters will receive a very special gift from MojoMagique, a 10ml roll-on in a fragrance of their choice, shipped anywhere in the world, free!

Marlen Elliot Harrison: Hi, John!
John Kennedy: Hello, Marlen!
Marlen Elliot Harrison: First of all, let me thank you for sharing theMojoMagique fragrance collection with Fragrantica. It is wonderful of you to give away TEN TWENTY travel-sized roll-ons (10ml) to our international readers!
John Kennedy: Glad to share, and thank you.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: I was really excited not only by the variety of compositions from MojoMagique Fragrances but the eye-catching artwork as well. I know Mojo started as a graphics studio designing t-shirts. What compelled you to launch fragrances?
John Kennedy: Well my twin brother, Doug, and I grew up in a home surround by talent, visual as well as musical. We started our design company primarily focusing on t-shirts. Money was good and we also enjoyed it and we both were fresh out of college. We always dabbled in many forms of art, and a natural progression was eventually fragrance. Using fragrance was "another way of expression", so to speak.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: So you guys view fragrance as another way of creating art. When did you get started with the process of fragrance development?
IFF Creatives
John Kennedy: Yes, we do. We started a friendship with a few of the IFF talents that work closely with the perfumers in development about 8 years ago. After the friendship become closer and we began picking their brain, we decided we'd like to try our hand at it. To be clear, we are not chemists or perfumers!! Lol. We are so fortunate to work with the best around though our close friendships in the industry. We know and spend time with some of the perfumers; they are the amazing, magical artists that do their work for us.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: I understand that Louisiana, where you call home, was your primary inspiration, the same inspiration that guides much of your graphic design. Did you have some specific ideas at the beginning of what you wanted to convey?
John Kennedy: Yes, we are surrounded by the beauty and rawness of this southern state. I love the classic "southernness" and all of our crazy culture whether the music, the food, or the wildlife, etc
Marlen Elliot Harrison: I want to hone in on that - crazy culture! I’ve never been to the bayou…can you tell me more? What makes it all so special?
John Kennedy: Oh wow. You really need to come down some time. The first thing you will notice is the smell, so fresh and alive. The aroma is green and mossy and there is a certain remembrance as a child that many here will relate to: When you're swimming the bayou and you get some of the bayou water up your nose, the smell and taste is unmistakable. Actually, it is a wonderful, odd smell that is hard to describe...but there is hint of it in one of our scents.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: Oh, cool! Which one?
John Kennedy: Voodoo Child has that hint.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: Ah, that is a scent I strongly reacted to in a very positive way, so warm and comforting.
John Kennedy: Yes, it was the same for me.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: It has a strong, prominent base of smooth, warm vanilla and leather with floral highlights.
John Kennedy: I just sprayed some on a blotter and there it is - that hint of bayou water.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: I found it immediately attractive and just wore it again last night; this time around I discovered even more about it that I hadn’t perceived the first time. What was the development of this like? Did you throw the perfumer into the bayou? Lol.
John Kennedy: LOL. No, but the IFF perfumer who came down here went for a swamp tour with my brother in law. he was so excited and loved it! Like all of the scents, it took time. I know people will say, "Yuck! I hate how he described that but it really is there, for me anyway. Fragrance is so very personal I guess.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: And he picked up on that special je ne sais quoi?
John Kennedy: I believe the two who have been down here numerous times get it now. The fragrance was developed by a team including Jean Christophe Le Greves and Helen Murphy. They worked together with Jean-Marc Chaillan.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: Ah yes, I remember reading an article about Helen’s visit and her enthusiastic excitement for collaboration. What was her role?
John Kennedy: Helen and Jean Christophe worked with Jean-Marc to develop it with us. Jean-Marc is a great guy, so wonderful to work with when it comes to making changes to the prototypes. Also, I might add that we don't use focus groups here at MojoMagique.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: No focus groups; I like that. Why did you avoid that?
John Kennedy: We (my brother and I) didn't want to be influenced by a group.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: You wanted to be true to your own memories and inspirations.
John Kennedy: I think with focus groups you end up with a fragrance that appeals to the middle of the bell curve. In my opinion, you get a scent that is average and appeals to many on some levels I suppose, but loses it's originality and signature.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: I think all 5 of the current fragrances are quite special in their own way. We already mentioned Voodoo Child, a warm floriental with hints of vanilla and leather. Magique was your first scent?
John Kennedy: Yes, Magique was first.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: Was it difficult to settle on an aroma for “the first scent”?
John Kennedy: God, yes. We had a number of prototypes. They were all fantastic but we wanted something that was memorable to us and familiar. At the time, we only intended to do one good scent and didn't know we'd eventually have a range...we evolved to that
Marlen Elliot Harrison: Considering the essence of bayou in Voodoo Child, how did you go about developing Magique (my favorite of the 5)? There’s just something so incredibly pleasing and uplifting there. It's a happy scent!
John Kennedy: It, too, has a "something there I love, makes me feel good, I want to be in that moment" kind of thing happening; you know it when it hits you. Magique is super wearable and I love spaying the interior of my car with it, especially if the day is a bit crappy. After JC and Helen came down, we talked endlessly about what we liked in scent and what we were trying to tell. It was and still is quite difficult to describe what you would like the perfumer to paint for you with smell, but we did, and they worked their magique. Again, Jean-Marc was was a pleasure to work with during the process. He did Magique, too.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: How did your artwork, store/gallery and community play a part?
John Kennedy: It all goes hand in hand with how we work. Doug has an accomplished background as a children's book illustrator. So his original art was quite perfect for telling the story.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: So it’s Doug’s graphics that adorn the boxes and that I see peeking through the 10ml bottles on the backsides of the labels?
John Kennedy: Yes, all of it. We are so proud of how the artwork presents the fragrances hiding inside the package. It tells the story.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: So first came Magique, and then Voodoo child andBelle followed? Belle is what one might imagine Scarlett O’Hara smelled like. A heady, intoxicating floral!
John Kennedy: So Scarlett! No wall flower there!
Marlen Elliot Harrison: But there is something more to Belle, John. Something a little spice and earthy.
John Kennedy: Yes. It's spicy with some jasmine and patchouli to temper the gardenia.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: I love the idea of green patchouli dirtying up the white florals. This leads me to note that you don’t prescribe gender in your fragrance names, no “for men” or “for women”. What was your thinking behind that approach?
John Kennedy: Why should it be labeled for man or woman? I'm wearing the Pixie Rose today. I think you should wear what makes you happy, regardless. Happy people are attractive people right?
Marlen Elliot Harrison: I couldn’t have said it better myself! I wore Pixie Rose to a friend’s birthday dinner on Thursday. As we were exiting and hugging goodbye she noted that I smelled “divine”. Enough said. The two most recent fragrances to launch were Pixie Rose, a sparkling floral and the intriguing Seer. Let’s start with the Pixie first. Did you guys always know you wanted a rose fragrance?
John Kennedy: Yes, our late, great Mom grew hundreds of roses. We grew up with them everywhere - always a fresh bouquet in the kitchen. Always! Her favorite was Tropicana, very very close to the pixie rose. I swear she was watching over us when Pixie Rose came to fruition.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: What a lovely explanation!
John Kennedy: Well, it's the truth and I'm happy you appreciate it.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: And onto Seer. Tell me about this - such interesting artwork, name and composition. So why the fox and the name?
John Kennedy: We love all of it. The fox is the clairvoyant, the who can see where others can't...into the past, into the future, even in the here and now. I think it can be found in all cultures in one form or another. We have foxes here on the farm where most of the creative process takes place. they are always in the distance, seen usually right before nightfall or very early in the mornings, beautiful and all-knowing they seem to be. Protectors of the forrest maybe?
Marlen Elliot Harrison: Such a classic symbol. And the composition, how does it correlate?
John Kennedy: Well it's a very fresh, clear and piney smell to me. The basil is amazing in this one; it reminds me of... get this...have you ever shelled field peas?
Marlen Elliot Harrison: Indeed, I have! Ashy green, almost minty.
John Kennedy: Yes! Yes! Remember when you have enough in the bowl, and you proudly pull them up with your hands and smell them?
Marlen Elliot Harrison: Ahhhhhhhh, late summer. Seer to me is a genius exploration of greens like vetiver and basil at the opening but the middle and drydown are are so different. Seer is a total chameleon and the Mojo scent that offers the greatest development over time. I move through grassy vetiver to steaming blue tea and finally end with saffron and cinnamon. Amazing!
John Kennedy: I just smelled it here to make sure I'm not being stupid. But nope, it really has that smell and memory recall for me.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: And there is a very special note in seer, something not usually found in fragrances of this genre - osmanthus!
Marlen Elliot Harrison: So did Doug’s artwork come first, or the compositions, or...?
John Kennedy: Compositions then the artwork. When we are developing the art work we are constantly smelling the fragrance while painting or designing the package, imagining what it is to become visually while following the scent. It's quite perfect.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: I know you started out creating graphic t-shirts. Will you guys offer t-shirts with accompanying artwork of the fragrance packaging?
John Kennedy: Yes, we are in the process of doing that for spring. They'll be available soon, we hope. Do you think that's a good idea?
Marlen Elliot Harrison: Totally! So John, what is next for Mojo? Any plans for additional scents or will you give the current line up a chance to garner some fame?
John Kennedy: We love that we now have five scents. it feels like we're complete and rounded. however we will introduce more for sure. we're working on two right now. one is to die for!
Marlen Elliot Harrison: Any hints?
John Kennedy: Hmmmm. it will be on the darker side for us, yet very familiar and true to the deep deep dark south :-) Yummy and addictive. Stay tuned.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: Ahhhhhhh, I’m intrigued! John, this has been so much fun!
John Kennedy: Likewise. I actually had a great time.
Marlen Elliot Harrison: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. Moreover, thank you for sharing with our Fragrantica readers? We’d like them to comment on the interview - what would you like to know from them or what might they reflect on? You can choose the winners!
John Kennedy: Reach back into your early years and recall a favorite memory attached to a scent. That would be fun to know. I'd like that. Thanks again, Marlen. Have a good evening!
Marlen Elliot Harrison: You, too! And of course, I wish you and your family continued success. : )
Mojo Magique fragrances are currently available at as a part of the Avery Perfume Gallery and via Mojo's online shop: priced at $21 USD for a 10ml EDT roll-on and $125 USD for a 100ml EDT spray.
All images license-free or from Mojo's websites and John Kennedy.

TEN TWENTY different Fragrantica commenters will receive a very special gift from MojoMagique, a 10ml roll-on in a fragrance of their choice, shipped anywhere in the world, free!
Reflect on the interview or your own experiences with 

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