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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Karen Dubin, Creator of Sniffapalooza!!!

Karen Dubin is the founder and Director of Sniffapalooza, an international event-based organization for fragrance enthusiasts. Sniffapalooza celebrates fragrance as an art, and perfumers are considered to be artists.
What started as a small group of women getting together to shop & share their love of fragrance, has grown into a phenomenon that has attained world-wide recognition through TIME Magazine, Allure,, CBS MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily, Glamour, Brigitte (Germany), WWD BeautyBiz, and many others. Ms. Dubin created Sniffapalooza six years ago because she wanted to meet others who loved fragrance as much as she did. In 2004 she was joined by Karen Adams, who she met at a Sniffapalooza event, as Executive Operations Manager. In the interest of full journalistic disclosure, Peachy Deegan is a member of Sniffapalooza and thinks it is simply fabulous.

Sniffapalooza occurs several times a year and draws hundreds of kindred spirits, both men and women, and spans an age range of 17 – 78. The current network reaches over 500,000, and their website,, gets 18,000 hits daily. Ms. Dubin and Ms. Adams also oversee an online fragrance magazine, Sniffapalooza Magazine, which has become a respected fragrance journalistic publication.

Past Sniffapalooza events have been held in New York, Los Angeles, and Paris, and Florence. Stores that have participated in Sniffapalooza events include Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, Apothia at Fred Segal, Le Labo, Bond No. 9, Lafco NY, Aedes de Venustas, Caron Boutique, Palmetto, Barneys New York, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Takashimaya, The Different Company, Salons Shiseido - Serge Lutens, Parfums Rosine, CB I Hate Perfume, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, bluemercury Spa, Guerlain Boutique, and Etat Libre fd’Orange.

Creed, Guerlain, Annick Goutal, YSL, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Cartier, Molton Brown, and Chanel have held special Master Classes for Sniffapalooza, and world-renowned perfumers Yosh Han and Lorenzo Villorresi and fragrance house Memoire Liquide have created bespoke fragrances in honor of Sniffapalooza.

Ms. Dubin lives in New York City, where she works for Merkley and Partners Advertising casting televison commercials for Mercedes-Benz. She is married with a 12-year-old daughter who is already passionate about scent and the olfactory world!

Peachy Deegan: Were you interested in scent when you were growing up?
Karen Dubin: Yes, from the age of four!

What was the first perfume memory you have and what was the first bottle you bought?
First perfume memory is of scented soaps and small bottles of perfume that my grandmother brought back from her trips starting when I was four - she used to take three-month-long world cruises every year for about 15 years. The first bottle I bought was Coty's Muguet de Bois, when I was six.

Where did the name Sniffapalooza come from?
It was purely a name that popped out of my brain on a whim... I was trying to describe what the events were... like a big festival and celebration of sniffing! And I thought about Lollapalooza, the music festival... and Sniffapalooza was born!

As Sniffapalooza has evolved what has surprised you the most?
Definitely the impact we've had on the fragrance industry. We identified for them a consumer they weren't even aware of - the passionate, informed, savvy, & curious consumer who buys alot and wants to learn as much as possible. We've been described as a breath of fresh air & an inspiration - we have a voice, and the industry is listening!

What do you like most about Sniffapalooza?
What I *love* the most is all the wonderful people I've gotten to meet from all over the world. Our members are empassioned, witty, kindred spirits and we've become like a gigantic extended family! I also love getting to meet perfumers - we celebrate fragrance as an art and consider perfumers to be artists.

What are your favorite venues for Sniffapalooza events? Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, Takashimaya, Aedes de Venustas, Lafco New York, New London Luxe, SPAfumerie, Le Labo, Bond No. 9, L'Artisan Parfumeur, Bloomingdales, & Saks in NYC, and Apothia at Fred Segal Melrose and Strange Invisible Perfumes in LA.

As you work with Mercedes during your day job, have you found a way to
incorporate perfume into that?
LOL, Only that I wear perfume every day and it inspires me!

Have you had any impact changing the unique smell of new cars? Where does that smell come from?
No, I don't work on the production of the cars - I cast the TV & radio commercials - so I don't have any impact on the smell of the cars and I don't know how they create the smell. I should ask!

How does your interest in perfume impact other areas of your life? Any fun stories? Fragrance impacts every area of my life,and what I spritz on in the morning sets my mood for the day. I've actually had people follow me down the street to ask what I'm wearing. I've also overheard strangers on the subway talking about Sniffapalooza - that was pretty cool,and let me know that we've ARRIVED!

What is your favorite places to be in NYC?
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the intersection of 57th St & Fifth Avenue - the pulse of the world!

What are your favorite shops?
Museum of Modern Art Shop, Pure Dark, Magnolia Bakery, Kartell, CB I Hate Perfume Gallery

What is your favorite drink? Kir

What is your favorite restaurant? Balthazar

What is your favorite NYC book?
'New York: Then and Now' by Annette Witheridge is a great one. Seventy modern color photographs are compared side by side with seventy archival photographs from the 1850's to the 1950's. Really fun!

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC that you can do nowhere else?
See two Broadway shows in one day, and find five different nationalities of food in one city block!

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
The subways in NYC are definitely underrated - they are quick and can get you anywhere in the five boroughs lickety-split! Nothing in NYC is overrated - it's the most incredibly stimulating city in the world!

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