You smell so beautiful to me, the story of AYU.
Alanna Quinn is one of the women behind intoxicating, ayurvedic scented oils AYU. We chat about inspirations and pathways to success.
Lanny, you are a well travelled woman indeed. Tell us a little about the parts of the this earth you have covered…
Travel is so important for me, I get restless if I don’t travel for a while and I’ve been lucky to have covered some incredibly beautiful parts of this world. I’ve spent some time in Italy and love everything about it. Sicily is definitely one of my favourite parts also. The people, the beaches and the food are so good! Morocco is another favourite place to travel, it really is magic, wandering through the old medinas and staying in beautiful traditional haveli mansions. I most recently visited Sri Lanka which was beautiful and so untouched, but nothing gets my heart going like India.
India is one place you have a strong affiliation with and gravitate to time and time again…how has your first experience perhaps changed or differed to recent trips?
I remember my first few days on my first trip to India, I was completely overwhelmed and not sure what to think. The colours, sights, smells and atmosphere were one minute exhilarating and the next minute intense and shocking at times. I was travelling with Madeleine, my business partner, who had been there before (luckily!), as she made me so the country in a totally different light to what I first saw. You have to go there with an open mind and be willing to go with what ever comes your way, as NOTHING ever goes to plan. The place is full of extremes and constantly contradicts itself. After a few days in on that first trip I was hooked and became totally mesmerised with it. The country spans so wide and there is so much to explore, it will take a lifetime just getting to everywhere I want to. Since that first trip I’ve been back held our wedding there in a palace in the beautiful Aravalli ranges of Udaipur. It’s also the country where Madeleine and I dreamed up Ayu while lying on the beach in Varkala, so it’s really special to us.
What is it about india that sets it apart from anywhere else in the world?
Every town feels like a new country, the people are so welcoming and kind and grateful for what they have, the food is delicious, the palaces and landscapes are beyond and the colour is just so intoxicating. There’s some mystical quality in the air I just can’t describe, it’s honestly like being on another planet. It’s a pretty polarising country that takes you out of your comfort zone so quickly and makes you readjust the way you think about things and look at the world. I guess that’s what I love about it.Do you have a favourite place/space or go to activity when you arrive back in the holy land? (chai spot or massage, healer or market place?
Oh now that’s a tough one as there are so many favourites. The Imperial in Delhi is a beautiful old colonial hotel with an amazing day spa that Madeleine and I always stay at when we arrive and before flying out of India. Wandering through the ancient souks of Old Delhi is a must. Ayurvedic treatments are of course top of the list and the more authentic and stripped back the place is, the better the treatments tend to be. Kerala down South is land of Ayurvedic treatments, where they go out and collect special herbs and medicinal plants to use on you prior to your personalised treatment. Varanasi, considered the most spiritual city in the world is a pretty incredible place where a sunrise and sunset drift down the Mother Ganges should be experienced at least once, to witness pujas (prayers) ceremonies taking place and people bathing in what is considered holy water. Udaipur is probably my favourite place of all India, with beautiful cobble stone streets and charming palaces to stay in that dot around the central lake, it’s much more chilled out here. The Taj Lake Palace here is just beyond and worth a night or two if you can splash out (and of course drinking endless amounts of chai from every corner of the street is a must).
AYU is more than just a perfume or scent, tell us why?
AYU is inspired by our own studies in Ayurvedic Medicine. Ayurveda translated from Sanskrit means ‘the science of life’ and so each blend is considered combining the knowledge of balancing the mind, body and spirit. Ayurveda’s main philosophies revolve around the three fundamental energies or Doshas, being Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These three things exist within all things in balance and are carefully considered when creating each unique Ayu blend.
You speak of AYU as a “natural progression” how do you feel all paths lead to what you do now?
When Madeleine first began studying Ayurveda a few years back now, I had no idea what it was. I was really intrigued by what this ancient Indian natural health care system was all about and so a few years later I began studying it myself. Madeleine has incorporated her studies into work and I knew I wanted to do something with it as well. We’ve both always been it mixing our perfume oils to create our own scents and while we were in India the idea of creating perfume oils based around Ayurvedic principals first popped into our heads, (we were having so many Ayurvedic treatments every day!) and we’ve been working on it ever since. It’s funny because Madeleine saw a Vedic Astrologer about 10 years ago who said that all paths would lead to exactly where we are at today…
Where can we find your yummy product around the world?
Currently you can find Ayu perfume oils on our website theayu.com.au along with My Chameleon, For Artists Only in Rose Bay, NSW, Neena, Orchard Street in Bronte, Bondi and Paddington, NSW, Pulp, Balgowlah, NSW, Bow and Arrow, Manly, NSW, Cherry Blossom, Narrabeen, NSW, Newrybar Merchants, Newrybar, NSW, Poets Ode, SA, Sweet Fern, Ballarat, VIC, Shifting Worlds, Melbourne, VIC, Canaan, Seminyak, Bali, Horn Emporium, Canggu, Bali.
All images by Jedd Conney