We had the good fortune of connecting with Ethan Turner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ethan, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It started with a problem. For many years, I had been searching for a smoky, peaty, earthy, and bold fragrance. One day, while searching, I got annoyed with the large amounts of fragrances to choose from. So, I decided to build my own fragrance. My friend, Emeka Ukaga, sitting nearby, over heard my epiphany, and offered to pay me if I built him a custom fragrance too. With that said, I knew there was a business to be made. The name Moi was born and the idea of providing every individual the opportunity to own their own cologne became the founding principal of the company. After working in the world of fine food and wine for nearly a decade, I have finally discovered a new passion – perfumery. I’ve always been a passionate storyteller, had a heart for hospitality, an obsession with the finer things in life, and most importantly a very adept nose. I’m a Level 1 Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and I’m still pursuing my Level 2. I’m now able to combine my skills from previous research on olfactory technologies, data, wine, entrepreneurship and now perfumery to run my company, Moi Fragrances.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Moi Fragrances is the fragrance brand of Maison Ethan Turner where we provide bespoke fragrances on subscription. Every 90 days we build a unique scent that matches the season for you. You have the opportunity to sit one on one and select the different notes and accords that will be used in your fragrance. We are democratizing bespoke fragrances, and giving everyone the opportunity to own a piece of haute couture. To take that a step further, if a friend enjoys your unique formula, and wants to order your fragrance, you actually earn a commission.
I feel the largest part of what makes us stand out is our business model, and that I come originally from the world of wine and hospitality as a sommelier. My business model of providing bespoke fragrances, at an affordable cost, and additionally on subscription is something new. We take a step further by even allowing you to “Own your Cologne” and send you a commission if someone wants your unique formula. There is no company that does all three of these things, and no company that provides the attention to detail and to client satisfaction as we do. I can say I am most proud of the joy I see when people receive their unique fragrance. The public reviews we have show it, and the deep, personal, heartfelt messages I receive show it as well.
It has not been an easy road to get here though, it was definitely a lot of trial and error! I’m still learning and I’m still not perfect. Creating high quality fragrances is about patience, artistry and craftsmanship, but also about science and openness to failing. There are somethings that you learn, can’t be done, for example a long lasting citrus fragrance. However, the biggest lesson of those is Patience – with a capital P. Patience is the key to perfumery, and it doesn’t happen over night. It is both a science and an art, and rushing this process will not result in great results.
I measure my results a bit differently after learning patience, and that perfumery is only a piece to a bigger picture. If I could share one thing about my outlook on success in this industry it would be this: I was quoted in Perfumer and Flavorist Magazine as saying, “My goal is to not only create fragrances, but to tell stories and to create art and technology. I want to meet people who want to change the ordinary things we do, in a profound way.” I want the world to know that this is central to my business, we are more than just a perfumery.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a huge foodie so there is a great list of places we would go for food, but I’ve got a wide range of activities I do too.
Monday – Buck and Rider (ask for Jessen) for dinner, Catch a movie at Alamo Drafthouse Theater
Tuesday – Olive and Ivy for lunch, Clever Koi (ask for Mike) for dinner, Hannys for late night drinks
Wednesday – The Mick Brasserie (Ask for Jeff) for dinner, Beginner Bachata Class with Eddie Peligro at Rumba Dance Studio
Thursday – Little Rituals for dinner (ask for Keith), The Duce for Latin Night (dance with the Gwepa Boys),
Friday – Maple and Ash for dinner, Killer Whale Sex Club (ask for Fendi) for late night bites and drinks
Saturday – Toca Madera (ask for John) for dinner, Old Town Scottsdale for partying
Sunday – Maple and Ash for Brunch, recover…., Dinner at Tommy Bahama, Highball for late night drinks
This is slightly aggressive of a week, but if my friends come to town, I’d let them know in advance to come prepared!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The League of Gentlemen Emeka Ukaga
The Court of Master Sommeliers
Shotsbynosh for all photos