As mentioned previously, our “fragdomental” section of the Fandomentals is always excited to talk to members of the fragrance community, be it fellow fans, reviewers, or creative houses. We enjoy helping to bring this fragrance community just a little bit closer through profiles and interviews. This week, I was fortunate enough to be able to talk to Tyriek McDaniel of the new fragrance house, Anaxus Perfumes!
FM: How did you become interested in the world of fragrance and at what age?
Tyriek: I can distinctly remember the moment that fragrance captured my attention, though I have a difficult time remembering my exact age. It was right around 7th or 8th grade and my dad had received a gift from our church for Father’s Day. It was an assortment of ‘trinkets’ I’d probably call them, but there was a small bottle of cologne in the package.
He let me smell the juice and from then on I couldn’t get enough of it! Thinking back, and remembering the scent profile, it was quite a mature fragrance for a boy my age to wear. (Imagine having your 7th-grade son wear Polo Green or CK Obsession). Either way, this was my moment…the moment that awakened my olfactory senses.
FM: Was creating a fragrance in your original career plans? If not, what had you been doing before making the pivot to starting your own fragrance house?
Tyriek: Creating my own fragrance wasn’t my career goal at all. In fact, I’m a marketing and technology guy. I’ve built more websites, have written more code, and run more ads on online platforms like Google and Facebook than anything else. Before deciding to create my own fragrance(s) I was strictly working on a couple of web apps that I believe will impact people’s lives in a positive way.
FM: What made you want to become involved in perfumery and creating your own scents? Are you “professionally” trained, or are you self-taught?
Tyriek: Well, every now and again I would write out a quick sketch of fragrance notes that I think would work out well, particularly ones that I haven’t run across before (which isn’t saying much because I don’t have hundreds of bottles of perfume). I’m far from ‘professionally’ trained. I’m trained by personal trial and error and creating disgusting, muddy, yucky stuff lol. Eventually, I began to find a balance between my materials and ultimately things started to come together.
FM: Do you think the world of fragrance has maybe been set up so that it’s hard for someone who doesn’t come from the right background to be able to break out?
Tyriek: This is a tough question for such a time that we live in. To be frank, even though I may not have all the privileges of those that are born into the right families or social circles, I still possess many advantages simply by living here in the USA. With that said, I do call fragrance one of the last ‘hidden arts’, because there are so many secrets held by some of the larger houses or perfumers, or even molecules/materials that are exclusive to a house or supplier that some of us small perfumers simply can’t get ahold to easily.
As far as networking, we have the internet for that, so that hasn’t really been much of a problem. Though it may be more difficult for someone like me, it most certainly isn’t impossible.
FM: The world of fragrance isn’t necessarily overwhelmingly “white” as there is a thriving perfume culture in the Middle East, but there hasn’t particularly been a glut of Black, Latin, Native, etc creators either. You’ve seen some houses begin to gain some traction like Chris Collins (though he doesn’t mix his own fragrances) or Maya Njie. Do you think the community is finally getting to a place where a more diverse group of creators can thrive? If so, what do you think has helped spark this?
Tyriek: I do, but my thoughts on this aren’t as mature, simply because I haven’t researched many non-white houses that exist. Maybe we’re seeing this spark because there is a more concerted effort to support black-owned businesses. But I also attribute a lot of this growth to the internet and what it does to narrow the distance between borders. 20ish years ago, many people weren’t buying as much as they are buying online, and it’s only going up and to the right.
So, a new perfume house doesn’t have to find their way to the buyer for department stores or local boutiques anymore. Great marketing and the proper placement of an amazing story can set you apart.
FM: Can you explain what inspired your house’s (Anaxus Perfumes) name?
Tyriek: “Anax” is a Greek word for “King” which I interpret as “Royalty” – and I simply attached “us” to the end to create something new: Anaxus.
FM: So far you have two scents you’re ready to sell on the market. Can you describe the creative process behind them, and what the inspiration was for them?
Tyriek: They both started as sketches on paper. “.js” – pronounced “dot j s” was something that was written down literally after walking through the coffee shop at my job one day. “V2” was inspired by my wife. I wanted to create something that would lure her in on our date nights. Something that she hadn’t smelled before. I wanted V2 to be 100% sexy, romantic, and date-night worthy, heavy and memorable.
My creative process is quite simple. I generally have a ‘spark’ of inspiration, generally in the form of 2 or 4 main notes that I think will work well (this is all happening in my brain so far). I go from a written sketch, which is usually just 10 – 15 words, to a more visual mind map looking thing where the center of everything starts with the star(s) of the show with arrows pointing to supporting characters/notes.
Once I have my mind map built I start searching for the materials that I think I’ll need to impart the notes that I’m looking for. From there, I usually start smelling to jog my memory on the impact of each material and try to find possible balances between each material to ensure the star of the show isn’t cast into the background.
FM: What are your long term goals for your house?
Tyriek: Long term, I’d love to simply continue to build fragrances that make people smile. Unlike many of my other projects, I don’t have strict revenue or exit goals for Anaxus Perfumes. I’m enjoying the art and hoping I can positively affect those that give it a try.
FM: How has the global COVID-19 pandemic affected your business operations, and how have you adapted to it?
Tyriek: In general, it means a lot more working from home and staying at home. I’ve also heard that it can be difficult to get some materials, but luckily I haven’t run into that problem. I’m adapting the best way I know how, which is to lean into what I’m good or great at.
FM: What do you think the future holds for the fragrance industry?
Tyriek:I’d love to see more technology use in the fragrance industry, and we’re slowly seeing some of this now. As AI continues to get better and better, I think we could possibly see more than pure analytical data coming from machines…we might even see interpretations of scent or backward interpretation (input a scent and get back more precise measures of materials to achieve the goal). I also think that fragrance as an art should be introduced to students below the college level, even if just a single course and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this start to happen in the next decade.
FM: How can people find you/order?
Tyriek: At this moment, they can go to AnaxusPerfumes.com or message us on IG @AnaxusPerfumes. I’m trying to get listed on some online fragrance boutiques, so that won’t be long. I’ll also have our own e-commerce store soon.
Thanks again to Tyriek for taking the time to sit for an interview with me! Also, keep your eyes peeled for a future of review of .js on Fragrance Fridays!