I talked with Victor about the past, present, future of his brand, new releases, and asked him if he were to wake up as an animal – what would he be.
It all started as a hobby. Victor is “one of us”, a perfume lover, present and active in a few Facebook groups and on various social media platforms. It is already known that one stay at a hotel with fine toiletries pushed him down the rabbit hole and into the world of niche perfumes. All the way. He started a brand, juggled a regular job and this “hobby” at first, but slowly and inevitably perfumes took over. He still does pretty much of everything by himself (I hope he does find time to clean his aquarium regularly), and he still finds time to chit-chat with perfume lovers or post funny photos of his cat on FB.
Animal faces with human features illustrated with great detail, cooperation with many famous indie perfumers, a brand bursting with creativity – all that is so Zoologist-like. I’ve seen users’ comments ranging from “completely unwearable” to “love, love, the utmost quality in terms of materials, construction, and performance”. Yet, Zoologist undeniably offers a choice of great fragrances made by great perfumers, and a variety of perfumes in the collection: I’m certain that among all the fragrances available you can find at least one piece of work of a carefully chosen, talented indie perfumer that you’ll absolutely fall in love with.
In an interview for Fragrantica published a while ago, Sergei Borisov said that when he looked at the names of perfumers, his first association was that Victor Wong is for indie perfumers what Frederic Malle is for master perfumers. I couldn’t agree more, just looking at the list of perfumers he worked with: Chris Bartlett, Cristiano Canali, Christian Carbonnel, Daniel Pescio, Shelley Waddington, Joseph DeLapp, Juan Perez, Sven Pritzkoleit, Sarah McCartney, Ellen Covey, Tomoo Inaba, Paul Kiler, Celine Barel, Antonio Gardoni, and Prin Lomros!
I’ve been testing and sniffing what samples I have of Zoologist’s Collection for some time now (for almost one whole year, to be precise): I know that I might be a little late to the party, but my reviews will now certainly follow. I wanted to make a proper introduction first, and let you know more about Victor and his brand:
Q: You have now a total of 21 fragrances released in Zoologist’s Collection. Bee was launched most recently, and Sloth will join it soon. You are definitely not a Sloth: 22 fragrances in seven years! How far ahead do you plan new releases? How many releases are planned for 2020, and how many fragrances are you currently working on?
Q: You’ve come a long way in 7 years’ time. What were your most important milestones, planned or unplanned?
Q: Top three and funniest three moments in overall brand development?
Q: Did you ever think of letting everything go and returning to the video-game business?
Q: You’ve worked with so many great indie and artisan perfumers. If you could ask one Master Perfumer to create a fragrance for you, who would it be and why?
Q: I haven’t tried Sloth yet. Tell us more about your idea, inspiration, the character of the fragrance, the perfumer, and the fragrance itself. What does Sloth smell like? When do you plan to launch it officially?
Q: Looking back, what is one thing you would have done differently, and how would it have changed where your brand is today?
Q: What is your optimum number of new releases per year?
Q: Which fragrance has been your all-star bestseller over the past seven years?
Q: If you were to wake up one day as an animal, which one would you be?
Q: If you were to create a new perfume by yourself, which three notes couldn’t you do without?
Q: A Fougère or a Gourmand for you personally?
Q: What is the single most valuable piece of advice you would give to anyone thinking about starting their own niche brand?