Reporter: CRYSTAL WU

Perfumes were never a part of Intime's founder and now-perfumer Angel Cheung's childhood. Her mother did not wear any scents and her first memories of fragrance were Florida water and baby powder, which still triggers memories of childhood.

"I did not realize that I had a good sense of smell until I worked for perfume brands, where I started to appreciate perfume and understand the story behind it," she said.

Instead, Cheung read marketing for her undergraduate and master's degree at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong respectively.

"Actually, my whole career is marketing, from my academic background to my work. I devoted my whole life to marketing."

Describing herself as a creative person who feels stagnant with repetitive tasks, she found marketing perfect for her as it gave her the chance to realize her ideas. "Marketing may seem like common sense, but it is not. It is a very conceptual and very strategic subject."

She was in the marketing industry for over a decade, starting with fast-moving consumer goods before moving to luxury goods, where she first learned more about perfumes and the seed of interest was planted.

"Perfume was one of the aspects of my role. In the beauty industry, which is made up of cosmetics, skincare, and perfume, perfume is the smallest business among the three. But I found that perfume can engage the customers' emotions the most, whereas people focus on the practical results and benefits with skincare and cosmetics," explained Cheung.

While she did not know anything about perfume-making, she observed that people ware always excited about the visual aspects, such as advertisements, instead of the product itself.

"I wondered if we could use the olfactory aspect to engage people. Could scents already be powerful enough to engage the customers?"

In her free time, she studied as a certified aromatherapist. So when she had a career break, she flew to Grasse - considered the perfume capital of the world - to learn the craft in the summers of 2015 and 2016.

"I felt that aromatherapy did not give me room for creativity," she said. "I had always aspired to tell stories through perfume."

Her studies in Grasse exposed her to different types of fragrance materials and the training of a perfumer, such as memorizing different scents and building blends.

After her course, she launched Intime Artisan de Parfum in December 2015.

French for intimate, the brand name Intime also gestures to the relationship between a person and their perfume, which becomes a part of oneself.

The brand's latest offering is the Journey of Love Collection, which describes the different stages of love. There is also a discovery set for those who would like to try out all six fragrances of the collection.

Cheung also holds private workshops teaching participants to create their own fragrances.

"What inspired me to start this was that I joined a layman's workshop for tourists in Grasse and realized that perfume making did not have to be too technical," she said.

"I don't want to just sell perfumes. I think the value within is to help people learn more about perfume and find a fragrance that most suits them."

Cheung also incorporated her expertise in perfumery into marketing, and started helping brands create their own olfactory logo.

"Scent branding is a long-term marketing strategy. It is not like advertisements, where there is an immediate reaction that helps drive the sales," she explained. "Of our five senses, smell gives us the strongest memories and influences our emotions. If we use the right scent, the brand image and customer experience can be imprinted in their minds."

One of her latest projects was to create a bespoke scent for The Peninsula Hong Kong. Her blend of jasmine, agarwood and amber can now be found among hotel amenities.

"Perfume-making is a journey of self-discovery from the inside out," she said.