Who: Ruta Degutyte founder and creative force behind niche fragrance brand Art de Parfum, which launched mid 2016. After many years spent successfully advising large companies on marketing and brand building, Ruta decided to move away from the corporate world in order to create something closer to her own values. With Art de Parfum she’s developed a deliberately under-the-radar collection of considered fragrances, produced in small batches and with every element reflecting Ruta’s stories and life experiences. We caught up with her to talk more.
Today I’m wearing Gin and Tonic Cologne, which is a perfect fit for a sunny day, regardless of the season. It is one of those vibrant scents you cannot get enough of and makes me feel really positive and energised.
When we hear the words citrus or fresh we usually think lightweight, but this is a new take on these classic luminescent notes which weaves in components better associated with depth and strength, such as cedar, musk and ambergris. Plus there’s its signature boozy feel which, when all the ingredients are tightly interweaved together, creates an enduring shape.
Gin and Tonic makes me feel uplifted. It’s aromatic, very authentic and energising. I love it. It makes me smell spa-day fresh. I’m not a morning person and I really need a lot of effort to keep me going at the start of the day, plus due to my extensive travels and changing time zones (Ruta travels both for work and with her musician husband) it can be an even bigger challenge.
Perfumes can enhance our mood. They speak to us and on our behalf. It’s like an extension of our souls. Wearing a good scent for me is like prolonging a pleasure feeling for a whole day. I personally like “rare” scents that nobody would recognise. For me it’s an individual statement, although I can’t deny I also love some of the mass market fragrances such as Issey Miyake, Hermes and Thierry Mugler.
I don’t have a fragrance ritual, I’d rather have a body ritual that finishes with an oil. Perfume is always a rather spontaneous decision. My selection for the day is based on the mood or activities I’m doing for the day. Hence, it can be light flowing or quite an intense empowerment statement scent.
I always scent my house because for me scent equals cosiness. My friends say that it’s pleasant to come to our home as it always smells cosy. I buy different home scents from around the world to remind me of those wonderful places and moments I spent there.
I started to pay attention to scents around me quite early in my life. Probably because I had an oversensitive nose. My step-mother noticed I had a good sense of smell when I was young and told me that maybe I should look at working in perfume, but of course I was young and caught up in going to university and getting a job, making money and so on, so didn’t end up following it through.
Also, the birth of Art de Parfum was a natural next step at the right time in my life, to create what I feel passionate about on my own, applying all the knowledge I have collected whilst working for blue chip corporates throughout my adult life. When I was thinking of starting Art de Parfum I asked a friend of mine, who was a very successful business man, if I was mad to think about doing this and he said “If you can work without pay for two years, and still do it because it’s fun, then go for it.” It was very good advice.
You need a lot of experience and guts to start up something as challenging and complex as a perfume company. It’s not for delicate “flower girls and boys”. I’m happy to be on the sophisticated edge, not everyone will get it and that’s fine with me. I’ve worked in companies where everything is about making money over everything else and that makes me a little unhappy, so niche perfumery for me is the way to be. I don’t want to be everybody’s darling in terms of perfume, but those that relate to the fragrances will hopefully create a lasting relationship with the brand..
I use perfume as the medium for me to speak up. I really admired Vivienne Westwood when she said “I’m unhappy because I produce too much.” So, I’m really happy that I don’t produce too much! I will think very carefully about what I add next, if it is really needed.
I love to discover “bonkers” scents. Sometimes it is something I would never wear myself, but I just love the journey it’s taking me on – the journey of discovery. It’s a little the same as meeting someone new in your life. It’s intriguing, mysterious and, yes, sometimes, disappointing.