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International Scentsation

How an International Student from Paraguay Followed His Passion for Perfumes

Article by Kelsey Huber

Photography by Kristol Kumar Photography

Originally published in Topeka City Lifestyle

Since childhood, Chris Paez has been fascinated by fragrances. “When I was young, growing up in Paraguay, I would see perfume commercials and I loved the way they used romance and emotions to sell their scents,” he remembered. He was always intrigued by the psychology involved in the marketing. So when he came to the US on a scholarship to attend Washburn University, he decided to study psychology. 

He was also fortunate enough to have a strong hands-on business background after years of being mentored by his parents while helping with their family-owned business in Paraguay. “I grew up seeing how a business is run. I started thinking, ‘I should start my own business - a fragrance business,’” he said. So he changed his major to Entrepreneurship. “Everything started when I made the transition to entrepreneurship and began competing in business events,” he said. 

Encouraged by the feedback he received from the judges in business planning competitions at Washburn and other pitch competitions outside of the university, he continued to sharpen his business skills with a focus on perfumes. Through Washburn, he was able to obtain a grant that led him to a program to learn the art of creating fragrances. “Finally, all of my passions began to align and it all started to make sense,” he shared. 

Paez says creating a fragrance requires imagination. “l start by trying to match a feeling with a scent. First, you have to imagine what you want the scent to represent. “I wanted to create a scent that transmits freshness - something soft and sweet yet empowering at the same time." 

His fragrance combines the soft feminine scent of vanilla with notes of sandalwood which give it a warm earthiness. Cocoa adds an undertone of richness, and clary sage, a flower, provides the sweet musky intensity that makes it very sensual. Clary sage is known to stimulate libido in both men and women. “When a guy smells clary sage, he goes crazy,” he laughed. As an added bonus, both sandalwood and clary sage are known for their aromatic longevity helping the fragrance last all day or night.

Creating the perfume was only one challenge. Creating the brand was another. The brand, Atlantis, was inspired by the ancient philosopher Plato. “Because the goddess Gaia was the first being alive, I decided it would be the name of my first fragrance. Gaia means the beginning of everything,” Paez explained. “I chose this goddess to personify the fragrance because she reflects freshness, freedom, and power.” 

Even the bottle reflects the brand. “Gaia represents gold. So that's it. It's black and gold,” Paez said. “When women wear this fragrance, I want them to feel feminine, elegant, and powerful.” Now, after three long years of working on his passion project, Atlantis’ introductory scent, Gaia - Mother Earth, is ready for its debut. Paez is very excited. “Everything that has happened in my life has led me to this moment,” he said. 

So where can you find Gaia - Mother Earth? Paez is working with retailers in Kansas City and Topeka and you should see it popping up on shelves in stores around town soon. But if you just can’t wait to get your hands on this scintillating scent, you can order it directly through the website at and/or on Etsy. “I would like to put Kansas on the map of perfumery, creating opportunities for Kansas people and sharing our knowledge nationally and internationally,” Paez said. 

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