Kalain: Company Promises To Bottle Scents Of Dead Relatives
LIFE MATTERS MEDIA STAFF
A French mother and son claim they can bottle the scents of deceased loved ones.
Katia Apalategui and her son, Florian Rabeau, said they have developed a secret process of preserving the unique scents of family members and hope their efforts will be used to comfort those in mourning. For about $600, buyers will be able to spray a deceased spouse’s pillow or blanket with their own personal aroma.
Rabeau said they have started filling orders from curious clients in France and the U.S.
Apalategui, a 53-year-old insurance saleswoman, developed the idea with regional innovation agency Seinari — a French government initiative that helps entrepreneurs to launch businesses and to market products for free. Rabeau worked with the Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry at the University of Le Havre to refine this process.
Life Matters Media questioned Rabeau about his project and its inspiration last summer. His responses have been edited for length.
What inspired you to recreate the scents of deceased loved ones?
On Father’s Day in 2007, my grandfather passed away. Some people need to keep a photo, a video, an object or a vocal message of a loved one. My mother, Katia Apalategui, needed to keep the smell of my grandfather, Fermin Apalategui. At the beginning, she thought that she was crazy. Later, she decided to explain her idea to my grandmother, and she realized that she felt the same way. In fact, my grandmother kept a pillowcase with the smell of him.
As we explain on our website, my mother was looking for a mixture of different smells that wasn’t only his cologne. My grandfather was sick and diabetic; now we know that some diseases give off a special smell.
Moreover, he would spend all day in his bed, because he also had cancer. His little dog was always with him, and his dog had a very special smell, too. By the end, he was perfumed with Fahrenheit, which is very strong cologne. So in reality, my mother was looking for this whole olfactory symphony.
How are the scents created?
We spent a lot of time (around seven years) and money to develop the process, so we decided to keep it secret.
In contrast, I can tell you that to faithfully do our job and re-transcribe the smell of a loved one, we need a cloth really soaked in scents. In fact, that is the raw first way to give to people who are really sensitive to smells some olfactory comfort.
Between the time we receive the cloth and the time we give it back with our handmade luxury box, we need approximately two weeks.
You have received a lot of media attention about your product, does this surprise you?
Humbly, we didn’t expect the worldwide media attention. We thought that only few French regional media would be interested. We have conducted interviews for the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Europe, South Africa, Russia, Japan, Australia and others. We are very happy to see that a lot of people are sensitive to smells– that proves that we were right to persevere. Now, we are looking forward to launch Kalain and to be able to give some olfactory comfort.
What will people receive?
We are not selling just a bottle of perfume, but a complete handmade box to comfort yourself for very special occasion. Actually, we are working with a designer to offer the best value to our customers.
But I can tell you that our product will be composed of a space to put a photo of your loved one, a square silk with his or her initials, a small piece of ceramic from Limoges, France that is designed to perfume it as many times as you want, and our wonderful bottle.
Moreover, we just had a new partnership with ParadisBlanc.com, a website specializing in the creation of online memorials. So we will also offer to all our customers a way to create an online memorial.
We would like to specify that we are not perfumers; we offer olfactory comfort to people who are sensitive to olfaction. Actually, our bottle is 10 ml, so it is really a small diamond destined to offer comfort.
– Image courtesy Kalain