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Fragrances from home

A home scent that’s proudly Filipino

/ 05:03 AM January 24, 2018

Sabrina Co hopes to become a “nose” or perfume expert and maker one day. –NELSON MATAWARAN

Student and entrepreneur Sabrina Co, 21, is behind a home fragrance line at SM Kultura. Her brand, Atin, is a nod to Philippine nature and culture.

An English and Literature student at Syracuse University in New York, Co has always been into perfumery, saying she was inspired in her travels to Europe and Asia by the smell of places, foods and flowers.

“I realized that there wasn’t a local brand of fragrances that embodied the wonders of our country that people can associate with,” she said.

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Her vision was to create a classy but affordable product that people could proudly give to foreign friends as pasalubong.

At age 15, Co and her father Arnold, a businessman, organized focus group discussions and discovered that the 30- to 50-year-olds were interested in diffusers and candles.

She then went to Grasse, France’s perfume capital, and took private lessons with senior perfumer Isabelle Cutri. Her classroom was the 350-year-old perfumery house Charabot, which manufactures fragrances for luxury brands.

Mangosteen, pepper

In making her core product, the diffuser, Co considered the olfactory landscape of the Philippines as an archipelago.

“Each of the original 12 scents evokes the best of natural Philippine aromas: our beaches, flora, tropical fruit and wildlife,” Co said. “I tried to encompass our Philippine culture by naming the scents after what the Philippines is famous for, like ‘Dalandan,’ ‘Boracay,’ ‘Palawan,’ ‘Intramuros,’ ‘Burnham Park’ (pine), ‘Mangosteen,’ ‘Guava’ and more!”

Atin’s fruity Dalandan and fresh Boracay are the most popular variants.

The 100 ml reed diffuser, priced at P699 in SM Kultura, gained a following, such that buyers asked for refills.

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Atin then developed a premium line which consists of unexpected blends of fruit and spice such as mangosteen and black pepper, lychee and turmeric and coconut and green tea.

Atin’s premium line costs P999 or US$20—way cheaper compared with foreign brands which fetch over $100.

Co said she uses only the finest essential oils and fragrances. The prime ingredients are nature-identical oils to replicate the fragrance of natural extracts.

She hopes that some of the profits can support an environmental or wildlife advocacy.

“I read about climate change and how it affects the air we breathe, agriculture, the economy,” she said. “People don’t realize how serious it is. My heart lies in nature conservation.”

She would like her perfume venture to help in nation-building, as well. “That is why Atin also stands for ‘Aiming to inspire a nation.’” –CONTRIBUTED

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