Welcome to Small Business Month! Through October, you will be introduced to some amazing local downtown Victoria business owners. We interviewed each owner to learn more about their business and what it is like to operate downtown.
Today, meet Palma Cafolla of Zingaro. Let’s read more about what she has to say!
Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Palma shares her incredible journey to owning a boutique in downtown Victoria! At a very young age, Palma became a very nature-driven individual. As a young girl, she would play in her mother’s traditional Irish floral garden, as well as her grandmother’s Italian culinary garden. The two together are what sparked her passion for all things botanical.
“From outside looking in…I want to be able to give the gift that I have been given to the people of Victoria.”
At just 17 years old, Palma left Ireland to hop on a plane to London. She happened to come upon a small, beautiful store where she would then train to be a flower designer. This store by chance happened to be the florists for the Royal Family! As a trainee, Palma would assist with all things floral for major hotels, shops, and events! From this experience, Palma returned to Dublin to open her own flower store at the ripe age of 22. After opening this store, Palma also wanted to incorporate her passion for perfumery and natural scents. This led her to her journey to Gras, France, the perfume capital of the world. Palma trained to be a natural perfumer there because she wanted to ensure no synthetics would taint her products.
“With my botanical background and studies in perfume, this is when Zingaro started to grow.”
Coming to Canada
Due to the major economic crash of Ireland in 2012, Palma gave up her shop in Dublin and brought her family to Canada. Taken away from her last year of studies of perfumery in France, she pushed herself to finish her work while living in Saskatoon.
“what Canada did was it actually gave me time, Time that I never had before. Time to finish something important. And with that time, we developed the brand zingaro.”
Palma explains that “Zingaro” in Italian translates to “Gypsy”. Palma, being herself is a Gypsy, tells that the world for her is all about travel and takes the beauty she sees all around with her. She further explains that being able to touch and feel beauty, such as botanical gardens, is what inspires her creations.
After six months in Saskatoon, Palma knew she was missing her florals. After some time when her life partner was moved to Victoria for work, she knew she was in the right place.
“I came here and I was absolutely blown away. When I arrived on the Island…I just felt like I had come home. I was in Ireland but I wasn’t!”
The Wonders of Perfumery
With each creation comes a different inspiration. Palma shares that the power of scent is what transports people to specific memories and experiences. It is a wonderous aspect how strong scent associations can be linked to certain moments in a person’s life. Palma also explains that it means so much to her when customers share their memories with scents she has created! Her aim when people come into her store is to create an experience and scent infusion like no other.
“No perfume can be created without a story…every single one of our perfumes has a story. It starts with a story and evolves from that.”
Keeping the Tradition
It is no surprise that large name brands dominate the perfume industry. The differentiator that sets Palma apart from these higher-name brands is using only real, raw ingredients to make her products. Not only does this keep customers safe from harsh chemicals, but it also ensures that they are purchasing only the best-handcrafted products. Palma further emphasizes that her goal is to make people feel comforted and confident with the scents she creates!
“Perfume is so personal…you have to find your scent. Everyone is so unique! When you find your scent, you are in love with yourself again!”
Make sure to check out Zingaro Floral Perfumery on 561 Johnson Street!
Thank you to Palma for being a part of Small Business Month and sharing your voice as a beloved downtown Victoria business owner! View our other blog posts for more incredible local business interviews.