Meet The Founder: Ineke Rühland

Ineke RuhlandIneke Rühland is the brains behind San Francisco based artisan perfume collection, Ineke. After studying marketing at university in Canada, Ineke decided to move to Versailles, France, to train as a perfumer.

Investing her education in her collection, Ineke has created a collection of unisex perfumes that really leave the competition in ore.

We met up with Ineke to get the low down on her fragrances and to find out exactly where her inspiration comes from to create such unique scents. Here's what she had to say...

Name:            Ineke Rühland

Brand:            Ineke  • Perfumer • San Francisco

Brief Career History:

Before launching my own fragrance line, I worked for one of the major fragrance suppliers, Quest (now Givaudan), for 12 years in France, the U.K. and the Netherlands. We had a team of perfumers that made fragrances for the brands that your readers would know, but it was very much behind-the-scenes.

Level of Education:

I grew up in Canada where I completed my early education and an MBA in marketing. While working in France, I retrained as a perfumer by going to the perfume school ISIPCA in Versailles.

Ineke Fragrances

Tell us about the brand & the concept....

It is an artisan, niche line of fragrances that was launched in 2006.  I have an abecedary collection, meaning the fragrance names follow the alphabet in chronology.  I add a new fragrance every 18 months or so, and am now up to “H”.  I just finished Hothouse Flower and it will launch in Fall 2012.

Where did the name come from?

I’ve used my first name “Ineke” as the overall brand name.  I think people like knowing that there is a creator behind a line and using a signature name clarifies that.  Also “Ineke” is a fairly unknown name so there is at least a bit of mystery.  People often think they will be meeting a Japanese man when they come to see me, but instead find a tall Dutch Canadian woman!

Ineke logo

Where did the inspiration come from?

The inspirations for each fragrance are different, although they usually involve the many scented botanicals that we grow in our small city garden.  I love studying flower scent and trying to replicate it in its natural state – this often makes up the heart of a fragrance.  I also love the storytelling aspect behind a fragrance and try to communicate the inspirations with lyrical fragrance names and mixed media artwork on the cartons. I think it helps people decipher the scents because olfaction for most people works on a rather subconscious level that’s hard to connect with words.

What's your favourite product from the collection and why?

I’m generally most obsessed with the latest perfume I’m working on, so right now I’m all about the lush, creamy gardenia note of Hothouse Flower.  I am very proud of my Field Notes from Paris fragrance, which has a bold, distinctive character and has become my bestseller.  It smells particularly good on men.  The fragrance I wear most often myself is Evening Edged in Gold, a woody floral that has a sophisticated prettiness but is I think underrated.

Field Notes from Paris

How would you define male grooming?

Well, being a female I’m not at all an expert, but have my own opinions and preferences.  I personally love when men make fragrance a part of their everyday grooming routine, and ideally not the same fragrance all the time.  I just think it adds an extra layer of allure and interest without a whole lot of effort or expense.

What do you consider to be grooming faux-pas?

I think that men should feel free to wear any fragrance and not worry about making a gender faux-pas.  I do think that one common faux-pas with fragrance is applying too much because of olfactory adaptation.  In other words, you can’t smell your own fragrance at the same intensity as other people because you’ve gotten used to it.  This especially happens if you wear the same fragrance all the time, so it’s another reason to switch it up.  If in doubt, ask someone in your entourage if your fragrance is overpowering.

Any famous faces use your products?

Alicia Keyes wears After My Own Heart, a powdery lilac soliflore, and Steven Tyler wears Derring-do, a fresh fougère.


What makes you laugh?

Our two westies at play:  they’re the ultimate de-stressors.

What's your proudest moment?

That’s a hard one.  I feel that it has been a lot of small proud moments so far, but no momentous feat.  If I had to choose one, I would say that it has been somehow finding the tenacity and perseverance to launch my own line and keep it going.  It’s often “two steps forward, one step back” with this type of enterprise, and it’s not always easy to take the financial risks and just to show up everyday.

Describe yourself in 3 words;

Dreamer, creator, strategist

Five pieces of advice you would give to get the most out of your products?

  1. All of my fragrances are eaux de parfums (highly concentrated), so a little goes a long way.
  2. Have a wardrobe of fragrances so that your nose doesn’t become anosmic to a particular scent.
  3. Before buying a fragrance, try it on your skin and wait for at least 10-15 minutes to make sure you like more than just the top notes and also the interaction with your own body chemistry.
  4. Don’t keep your fragrances in bright light because they will break down more quickly, particularly the citrus oils.  It is ideal to store them in a fridge if you have room, or else a closed cupboard or drawer.
  5. Wear what makes you feel happy and attractive.

Who's your hero and why?

My husband and partner, Bill O’Such, and I’m not just saying that because he might read this.  He’s whip smart, and a harder worker you’ll never meet.  He has a full-time job in technology, but works with me most evenings and weekends.  He’s patient and supportive, a bit of a saint really.  I couldn’t have started my own line without his support.