September 19 2017 – Mercantile London
Born in Västerås Sweden, Maya Njie (pronounced 'Maia En-jai') moved to London in her late teens. Her background lies in surface design and photography, which she studied at the University of the Arts London. To further communicate her work, she began experimenting with the sense of smell as an added medium.
Inspired by an old family photo album from the decades before her birth, Maya set out to capture, by way of scent, these moments in time, asking the question 'What did it smell like?' The small Swedish summer house surrounded by mercurial forests, the visits to her grandparents’ sparsely furnished flat on Sunday afternoons…she made it her aim to bottle the spirit connected to the classic 1970's Scandinavian idyll, combined with the soul of her esoteric Gambian heritage.
After graduating Maya spent the next few years working for The Laundry, an arts hub situated in London Fields. During her time there she delved further into the olfactory world, experimenting with different raw materials and teaching herself perfumery. As she wore her perfumes to work, visitors and tenants alike showed a particular interest in her creations. Her androgynous notes left addictive trails and a band of devotees grew organically over time, soon to be followed by placement in a handful of selected independent shops.
Her formulas are developed in-house, using a variety of essential oils, aroma compounds and resins. With care and precision, the blends are mixed in small fresh batches, filtered and bottled individually by hand. Drawing on her education in surface design, Maya created bespoke packaging by incorporating the dreamy colour ways extracted from her family’s photographs. In this way, Maya saw to fruition, her desire to reconstruct through her perfumes, those elusive moments which otherwise may have slipped quietly away. The tones are of a time, and the accords nostalgic, yet the end products are notably contemporary.
Currently in store we have VANILJ which uses the distinctly traditional Swedish combination of vanilla and cardamon. The spicy, earthy aspect of cardamom, patchouli and cedarwood are present but tamed towards a powdery gourmand by the added vanilla note which gives the scent a slightly 'boozy' bourbon facet. Key notes include vanilla, cardamom, patchouli, musk, cedarwood and amber.
The second offer is LES FLEURS which has a fresh citrus top note of bergamot and provides a green and vigorous opening. At the core of the scent lies fruitful, bright heart notes of sweet fig and neroli. It is rounded off with subtle base notes of floral musks and cedarwood. Inspired by Minnie Ripperton’s song ‘Les Fleur' which graced the radio airwaves in 1970, this green floral scent is an unbound celebration of life, love and creation. Key notes include bergamot, fig, neroli, musk, and cedarwood.
Both scents are available in-store at £70.00 for 50ml.