Welcome to Soul Chat - be Inspired by Empowered Women Thriving with Heart & Soul.
Meet Virginia Di Somma from The Olfactory Ltd.
- The Olfactory is both a part of our brain and the name for your artisan business. Tell us what The Olfactory, both brain and business, is all about.
We thought long and hard about a name for the brand and liked the idea that The Olfactory was a fun play on words. We wanted the name to reflect intelligent quirkiness, yet give a sense that the brand could have been around forever passing down through the family for generations, if you like.
The olfactory bulb, situated at the base of our brain, does the smelling for us, not our noses as most people imagine. As we breathe air in, our nose enables scents to travel up the nostrils where the olfactory bulb, deciphers it. It’s quite remarkable that we instinctively know what’s safe and good for us and what is not, just by smelling it.
One of the things I enjoy most about the bespoke consultation process with clients, is that when they choose the ingredients for their scent, there is clear resonance with some and absolute disdain with others. And this is absolutely unique to every individual. The body knows what it needs.
- You have a strong company ethos based on using only natural ingredients that are not harmful to people or the environment; respecting nature & encouraging people to become conscious consumers. Why is this important to you personally and why is it important for our humanity and earth?
Thankfully many of us are becoming more conscious of how we consume in our society, particularly in the West. It’s good to think about why we want to buy the things we do. A throwaway fashion mentality, buying cheap this year, and tossing it for another next season, is not what serves us best.
It only serves to encourage the idea that instant gratification is where it’s at, when other choices exist that have us not only feeling better about the purchases we’re making but more appreciative as we consume, wear and use them.
Waiting and sacrificing for things you desire, will almost certainly increase the item’s value in your mind. Sadly, too many people don’t understand this but I encourage others to do as I am and personally and deliberately change the way they consume and notice the benefits as a result.
- Virginia you co-create, and are in business with your daughter in law, Aroha. What is your experience of working with family?
Aroha and I co-designed the bespoke consultation process in the early days of setting up The Olfactory and Aroha made all the scents for the family and friends group we trialled before our website went live and the brand was launched.
She has since had two children and moved to our family land up north, and this shift in lifestyle has meant I am now the mainstay of the business.
Whenever family works together in business the normal challenges faced are the same. If there is love, trust and respect you work them out, and if circumstances change, you adapt. While I miss many aspects of working with Aroha, I equally enjoy the freedom of making all the decisions and steering the brand in the direction I see for its future.
I’m sure there will be a time in the future, as the children grow older, that we will collaborate creatively together again and I do look forward to that.
- The perfumes you create are more than simply scents to smell nice. They are potent, magic gifts from nature which can enhance how we feel. How is this so?
I describe the ingredients we use, pure essential oils and Ambergris, as alive. If you put them under a microscope, you would see active molecules moving on the slide. And that’s how I experience them. They’re volatile and energising. They have the power to shift and elevate moods and heal our soul when it needs that.
I am constantly amazed at how wonderfully and powerfully nature provides us with literally EVERYTHING we need. From the air we breathe, to the water we drink, to the fire we cook with, to every living thing we eat, whether plant, fish or animal … to the healing that plants offer … nature gifts us with everything we need. This is my understanding of GOD.
- Crafting natural perfumes must be a very creative process; a sacred alchemy. Do you feel it is sacred work that aligns with nature and the universe?
Yes, I absolutely do feel that.
- Yin Yang questions –
Gold or silver? Definitely gold
A live-in massage therapist or a live-in chef? I enjoy cooking for others, so a massage therapist
Roses or daisies? Every time roses
Camping or Luxury Lodge? I enjoy both, depends who is paying!
Paintings or sculptures? Again, I enjoy both, but probably sculptures
- Virginia, you were an experienced business woman before birthing The Olfactory. What advice would you give women seeking to start their own conscious business?
Follow your heart’s desire. If you have a burning desire to do something, chances are you have a natural talent for it. That doesn’t mean you don’t have doubts about yourself, or that you will not encounter any issues or challenges. Often quite the opposite is true.
But everyone has a talent or gift, and when you discover what yours is, pursue it, and be willing to work through and overcome the challenging aspects until you realise the dream. Journal your journey so you can see how far you’ve come when things get difficult. And pat yourself on the back when you encounter obstacles and overcome them. Because it’s those moments where the gold lies.
- What is the greatest gift you receive from with work that you do?
Watching a client’s face light up as they smell a bespoke scent for the first time … and getting it right.
- “Perfume is like a parenthesis, a moment of freedom, peace, love and sensuality in between the disturbances of modern living” - Sonia Rykiel. Does this quote resonate with you?
Yes, and ‘perfume has the ability to transport us back in time or to a place we hold dear in our memories, often forgotten till the scent made it surface again.‘
- Do you have a daily self-care or spiritual practice?
I like the way Jordan Peterson describes it … I try to live life as though there’s a GOD.
To learn more about Virginia and The Olfactory head to -