The Power of Fragrance – An Interview with Victoria Cator
Having personally been introduced to the scents of Victoria Cator, I was extremely excited to be in conversation with her. A lifelong love affair with the power of fragrance inspired Victoria Cator to create her sensual and personal collection of candles. She has lived all over the world and worked in Hong Kong and New York in jobs from fashion and retail to government work. In London, in the 1990s, she studied at British auction house Christie’s, whilst developing her own successful interior decorating business, which she runs from Chelsea. A true home maker on every level, she has also written a cookery book, ‘Flavour of the Month’ published in 2008 and warmly received. Everything she loves is brought together in her work and her love of an evocative world of scents.
‘I have always had a passion for scent,’ Victoria explains. ‘My childhood was peripatetic as my father was a soldier, but the continuity of scents that were found wherever we lived gave me the security of being ‘home.” She goes on to describe her mother’s skills as a home maker, ‘She always recreated my bedroom — the same bed, pictures, patchwork quilt; my prized ornaments and assorted pony rosettes.’
Most enduring of all for Victoria though was the mix of exotic aromas. ‘The scents that greeted me when I walked through the door told me I was home. The mix included my mother’s sandalwood burning incense along with the smell of tobacco, the waft of her signature scent, ‘Caleche’ by Hermes, freshly ground coffee, sweet peas, (her favourite flowers that she grew where ever we lived) and the Trumper’s of Jermyn Street hair oil my father wore.’ Victoria learned the secret of an individual scent; a scent that belongs to nothing and no one but yourself. ‘I loved Coco Chanel’s decision to make a perfume that smells like nothing else but also becomes instantly recognisable, a signature scent.’
Victoria has never been interested in associating herself with brands, always seeking a fragrance that didn’t exist and wanting to create something of her own. Her work as an interior decorator and a writer of a successful cookery book has contributed to a constant refining of her interest in creating fragrance. The candles are a new departure, and more is to come. A purist to the last, she wears little manufactured scent, just a dash of pepper or sweet raw vanilla and no other fragrance. Her personal favourite smells include, ‘baking, marker pens, new shoes in a box, wood smoke, rain on a garden, white flowers and my memories’.
Victoria, you have a pretty impressive background, tell us a little bit about it?
Thank you, that’s so kind of you to say. I love to travel, and have been lucky enough to work in places such as Hong Kong and New York. After studying at Christie’s I started my own interior decorating business, something I am really passionate about. I then went on to write my cookery book “Flavour of the Month”, and then Victoria Cator London followed because, along with design and food, I have always been intrigued by the power of scent and the atmosphere it can create.
What was the inspiration behind adventuring into a luxury candle brand?
Well, I have always been a huge consumer of scented candles as I love the way they can alter ones mood and the mood of a room. There are some wonderful brands out there but I wanted to create one of my own that ticked all the boxes: a unique but long lasting scent filled with memories, with the perfect throw of fragrance, but also a candle that burnt right to the end with no wasted wax residue.
You have lived all over the world, where would you say has been the most inspirational place for your brand?
I was and still am inspired by many places I have visited and continue to discover, but my childhood homes have been a huge inspiration, especially the Far East.
There are many candle brands on the market at the moment, what makes your candle unique?
The strength and quality of the unique scents, along with a candle that burns evenly and effectively. But also a candle that can sit beautifully in any situation and appeal to both men and women.
Where can your candles be purchased?
My candles can be purchased directly from my online store at www.victoriacator.com, or in store within Fortnum and Mason’s candle department or via their online store.
You are also an interior designer and have written a successful cookery book, how do you juggle everything and what would you say is your favourite career achievement?
My mother used to say ‘the more you do, the more you can do’ and I guess it’s just being organised and disciplined about your work day. I don’t really look at my career in achievement terms but more as a journey.
What does the future hold for Victoria Cator?
Watch this space!
Can we get any insider news on any new releases for 2019?
Now that would be telling, but I do have some very exciting releases for 2019. We’re just finalising a few very exciting launches of some new products and fragrances; all will be revealed soon.
What would you like to tell our readers about your brand and where they can connect with you.
My instagram is @victoriacator. I love to use Instagram to share things and places that inspire me; my travels, images of my candles, personal moments. Also on the press page of my website www.victoriacator.com I highlight some of the wonderful testimonials about my brand.