Meet Alanna Quin, co-founder of AYU, mother, traveller and all around incredibly sweet person. We connected through our love of AYU fragrances and Alanna's love of our Capsule 9 collection.
Muse speaks to Alanna about all things scent, travel and inspiration <3
What fragrances/scent remind you most of your childhood?
Rose is such a nostalgic scent for me – it reminds me of my grandmother who used to tend to her rose garden every day. She would grow the most beautiful, fragrant roses and would always cut a bunch for me to take home, the stems wrapped in foil with the thorns poking out.
Tell us a little bit about your journey in starting AYU.
Ayu begun on a whim and dream with a close friend and now business partner after we had both completed our studies in Ayurveda. During one of our trips to India, we discovered so many incredible traditional distilleries and we began playing around with mixing our own scents. Scent plays such an important part in Ayurveda and balancing energy. We were literally getting stopped by people in the street asking what scent we were wearing, so we decided to make a batch of Souq, our first and best-selling scent – from there we would just work on creating scents we loved and now here we are. It’s always been a really organic, heart-led process with our brand, and it’s led us to some pretty special moments in time.
Your story telling through imagery and styling is so strong? Tell us about your inspiration?
Thank you! We’re always inspired by how a scent makes the wearer feel. The senses are all so intrinsically connected – our sense of smell and imagining what that looks and feels like and how it plays on the emotions. There’s endless inspiration within that whole notion of scent as a language. We treat each product and its scent almost like it has its own personality and visually build upon a story from there.
What role do you see scent playing in people's lives?
Scent directly affects the limbic system in our brain, which stores memory and emotion. Our sense of smell is connected to emotion and memory, which can take us back to long lost memories and nostalgia. When we experience a scent it is often stored away in our memory and correlated with certain recollections. Scent can affect mood – the smell of lavender can calm emotions, the scent of jasmine on a spring afternoon signals that summer is close, making the person feel uplifted and happy. Herbaceous notes like peppermint and petitgrain can stimulate the senses and can be used by someone who is feeling extra sleepy. We always taken into consideration the properties of notes when we’re introducing new products to our collections.
Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life? If there is no “typical” day for you, what constants remain?
There’s no typical day for me but the constants that remain are moving my body in some way each and every single day to clear my mind and keep me grounded - It sets me up for the day ahead. I always have a strong tea to kick my brain into thinking mode.
What is a surprising thing about the current stage of life you are in?
All my past experiences have brought me to a stage of real resilience – I’ve never felt that more than I do now.
What are your reading/listening/waiting right now?
I’ve just picked up ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’, by Joan Didion, again. It’s such a powerful book with beautiful prose that havestayed with me. I also have ‘Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow’ by Gabrielle Zevin beside my bed waiting for me to open the pages.
The next place you’d like to travel to?
It’s too hard to name just one! I’d love to go to Turkey, the Egyptian coast, Cuba, back to Morocco and always, always India.
Your best career advice is...
Do something you’re passionate about, be perseverant and it won’t feel like work. Never compare your journey to anyone else’s.
How do you mix MUSE into your wardrobe?
MUSE offers pieces that are so wearable and versatile and they always make me feel special when I’m wearing them. I love throwing on my one shouldered top with vintage denim
Your favourite piece this season?
The Maya Dress – it’s a classic black dress that can be dressed down or up, depending on my mood or the occasion.