November 29th, 2011
09:13 AM ET

The perfume company that began with an unorthodox motto: 'I hate perfume'

By Christopher Brosius, Special to CNN

Editor's Note: Christopher Brosius is a former NYC cab driver turned award-winning perfumer, entrepreneur and founder of CB I hate Perfume.  CNN featured Brosius in the November 20 episode of "The Next List."

A lot of people ask me why I call my company “I Hate Perfume." Isn’t that strange when I make perfume? Part of the answer is simple: There is a lot of perfume in the world I find perfectly revolting. It makes me sick.

But in 2004, when I started over again, I decided to name my new company after the manifesto that I’d originally written for myself in 1992 when I first began making perfume independently. It seemed the right thing to do.

My manifesto was a simple list of everything I disliked about what perfume is and another of everything I thought perfume could and should be. That list began with the simple statement “I hate perfume." It was my way of mapping a trip into the unknown and keeping myself on course. So for me, that name is the beginning of a journey, the exploration of an invisible country. The people who really get my perfume understand that. They’re traveling with me, so to speak.

And a lot of people find the name provocative. That’s good. I meant it to be so. I wanted people to really think about what they imagine perfume to be and to perhaps imagine it being something very different from what they’ve been lead to expect. The people who “get” my perfume are curious - they love to explore and take chances.

But I’ve always been somewhat shocked at people who get very defensive or even downright hostile when they read “I Hate Perfume" as the name of my perfume company. And there are plenty of these people who refuse to listen or simply can’t. Well, I can’t be bothered with them. Bloomingdale’s is on the other side of the river.

I still reread my “manifesto" now and then. And I’m always very surprised at how well it’s held up. What was true for me two decades ago is still true for me today. There is still so much of that invisible country yet to be explored. And there is sadly still plenty of perfume out there that I hate.

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