Celebrating a Legend in Perfumery: Sophia Grojsman

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50 years ago, Sophia Grojsman joined IFF in New York as a Lab Technician. Last week, she was honored at the Fragrance Foundation Awards (considered to be the Oscars of the perfume world) with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Born in Belarus on International Women’s Day, March 8th in 1945, right after the war, Sophia loved and played with flowers instead of toys. Perhaps, it was this natural affinity that paved the way for an acumen that would earn her the moniker, the Queen of Roses. Without knowing so, the creative games she played as a child with mother, identifying flowers, tasting and smelling flavors combined with her studies in chemistry came together to offer her the perfect background for her career. In an era, where women perfumers where a rarity, she championed women and empowered them. A pioneer, she understood what women wanted.

She was inspired and mentored by iconic perfumers such as Josephine Catapano, the first Grande dame of American perfumery, and Ernest Shiftan, the legendary IFF Perfumer. Sophia’s work pioneered uncharted territories, creating all the many classics that we know and love. Her talent and force of spirit motivated inspired and touched many.

Sophia recalls one particular, moment that was extremely rewarding to her. Walking down the street in New York, she smelled one of her perfumes on a woman. But that perfume did not come from a precious glass bottle but instead from a fabric softener, Downy, a perfume that Sophia created. She understood that even through a scent for a fabric softener, she could touch a women's life.

“I was really lucky that I was given the opportunity to do all this and to learn all this and thank god that I am in the United States of America, where people are given the chance, even a little kid from Belarus, to become a perfumer and make a lot of women happy, “ Sophia notes.

She continues, “During my time at IFF, they gave me a chance to explore and tell stories of femininity and strength, and I loved it. Being named The Fragrance Foundation Lifetime Achievement awardee is an honor and I am proud to share it – because fragrance is for everyone.”

On behalf of all of us at IFF, we invite you to celebrate the 2016 recipient of The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fragrance Foundation: Sophia Grojsman, our Sophia, with us and enjoy the video below:

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