There are many avenues to find a route into motorsport and designing perfume is no exception. A niche idea created by Katie Forman has seen her brand grow with motorsport fans and enthusiasts.
Females in Motorsport got handed a sample of her work at a Dare To Be Different community event before Christmas. From that moment onwards, we fell in love with Petrolhead, a fragrance that promises – and delivers – to be bold and fearless.
“A couple of years ago, I had just had a hip operation from a sporting injury and was recovering on the sofa thoroughly fed up and decided to google: “how to make your own perfume in the UK”,” Katie tells us. “I came across The Cotswolds Perfumery and fired off an email asking if I could make a perfume, thinking it was a long shot and thought nothing more about it. But I quickly got a reply saying yes they could help and did I want to arrange a meeting. When I was up and driving again I hopped in the car and drove to the Cotswolds thinking I would make my perfume and come home again. How wrong I was!”
By the time Katie got home from that first meeting, she’d turned a small idea into a plan for a big adventure – a perfume brand with a difference. ByKathryn had been made.
Once her niche idea was created, she set about brainstorming for her first product. Soon enough, Petrolhead was born.
“Our sense of smell is one of our most powerful and it can instantly trigger a memory,” Katie says. “When I wear perfume I am creating those memories and I wanted to create perfumes that were all about the vibe, the mood, the memory. Perfumes with attitude.”
With Petrolhead, Katie knew that she would be pushing the boundaries. It was brave, bold and unique.
“I thought it would be fun to take on one of the biggest stereotypes of them all; and because I am a Formula 1 fan and decided to call my first perfume Petrolhead – which means a car fanatic and is usually associated with men,” she says. “I thought: Why not take this and turn it on its head and create a perfume that was for women who write their own rules! But more than that, I wanted Petrolhead to reflect the motorsport world where men and women can compete together – as Petrolhead has citrus top notes and spicy bottom notes, with jasmine and rose in the middle I created a perfume designed for women but men wear it too. My motto is: if you like it wear it.”
Katie has been following Formula 1 for over a decade now. When she was younger, she used to compete in equestrian events. Surprisingly, she noticed how there were many parallels between the two sports despite them seeming very far apart to the naked eye.
“In equestrian, men and women compete together; gender isn’t an issue,” she says. “Although you were the one in control of the horse you relied on teamwork to get you there and months of dedication and preparation. One tiny thing could go wrong on the day and scupper your chances, but when it all came together and you succeeded the feeling was amazing, but it was more than just about you.
“When I discovered Formula 1 there was so much about it that resonated. The adrenaline, the danger, the quick-mindedness of the driver, the teamwork, the setup of the car, adapting to the weather and the circuit. I loved that motorsport was open to men and women – I was just sad that more women weren’t competing. But in the time since I have been following Formula 1 and started looking at the other classes, more and more talented women are moving up through the ranks. It has been wonderful to see.”
Her creation Petrolhead is all about writing your own rules and with that, Katie hopes to play a part in empowering women to achieve their dreams.
“I would like my perfume to inspire women to think “yes I can do that!” if they want to,” she says. “Even if there aren’t many women doing it. To question when someone tells them they can’t and to dig deep and see what they are made of – to dream big!
“I have always worked and competed in fairly male-dominated worlds, but it has been important to me to keep my identity and femininity. I worked as a groundskeeper for a tree surgeon for a couple of years and I did all the heavy lifting and jobs the boys would do but I had long blonde hair and I wore perfume and makeup – not that it lasted long! I didn’t try to be a boy, I was simply me doing a job. Why make it more complicated?”
In terms of who inspires Katie to be pushing her own boundaries, she says Susie Wolff is an important role model to her.
“I was sad to see her hang up her racing boots but what she did, and indeed is doing with Dare To Be Different, for women in motorsport is brilliant,” she says. “In fact, I have started collaborating with Dare To Be Different and Petrolhead as we have very aligned missions although from very different start points.”
With that in mind, 2019 will see Katie working hard to design a new perfume creation.
You can take a look at Petrolhead and Katie’s other creations here.