"Having concrete feedback on scents is tricky because fragrances are very personal. When it comes to a table or a chair, testers can often come back with concrete feedback, such as this was not comfortable, maybe we need to look at the back angle, or the height is too much or too low etc. But with scents, it is often about someone liking it or not," says Chenyi, adding that she has seen beaming faces and puckered noses quite regularly during the testing phases.
According to various studies, home fragrances are one of the fastest growing categories in home furnishing. IKEA offers home furnishing solutions for every dimension of home, including scents.
So, are fragrances trend-based? Can it be that one scent is more ‘in’ now than before? Chenyi says fragrances don't follow fashion trends but are often connected to culture.
"The culture doesn't change that frequently. For example, people in Asia tend to like floral scents. That is how it has been for a long time; it's still going on, and it will be like this for the next ten years. Of course, there's a slight change, but the basic preference stays quite strong."
But creating a good, scented candle is not as easy as most believe it to be. It’s not about mixing essential oils to wax. It’s a complex chemical concoction which has several layers to it.
If you want to smell orange, it can be so that there is no orange-based ingredient in it, explains Chenyi. It is something else that a perfumier or a fragrance house has put into it to make the brain think that one is smelling an orange. The smell of a new car is not just restricted to a new car; it can be developed to trick our minds into thinking we can smell a new car.
"Scents are a very complex chemical mixture to make us think of things triggered by that smell. That is why we say scent is so personal because we as individuals will react to the chemical mixtures differently," says Chenyi.
Which is her favourite scent? It’s ADLAD, she replies.
For now, Chenyi continues looking for more fragrances. And is busy using her private bathroom to test out several scents to find the one that helps us all take a flight to our dream destination.