Growing up in Beijing, Steve was surrounded by a variety of scents that are unique to Chinese culture – from burning incense to herbs and oils that are used for ancient remedies. But it was his grandfather who made him fall in love with fragrance in an unusual way. “When I was young, I spent some time staying with my grandparents,” Steve recalls. “During that time, my grandfather was very fond of collecting commemorative coins, including a type that had a scent to it. The fragrance was not something commonly encountered in daily life, and looking back, it was probably similar to the smell of ambergris. I believe this experience sparked my love for fragrances.”
Pursuing his passion, Steve left China and embarked on a new adventure, crossing continents and moving to France where he pursued a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Strasbourg and a master’s degree in Engineering of Cosmetic, Flavors and Fragrances at the University of Montpellier 2. After his studies, Steve started his formal training at the Perfumery School of Robertet in Grasse – the fragrance capital of the world. “I had to travel a long road to follow my dream of becoming a perfumer,” he shares. “Studying Chemistry and Fragrance Engineering definitely gave me an advantage when I started at Robertet. I had the foundation I needed to build on my knowledge and formal training.” When he finished in Grasse, Steve moved to Paris, staying there for three years and working as a perfumer.
In 2021, Steve relocated back to China and in March 2023 he joined the Firmenich Fine Fragrance Atelier in Shanghai, which he considers his biggest achievement to date: “Becoming the first Chinese Fine Fragrance Perfumer in the history of Firmenich is my greatest achievement. I consider it an honor to join the company’s roster of exceptional perfumers.” Going back to his roots and now having the skill and expertise to fully explore China’s rich perfumery heritage, Steve plays a vital role in bringing ancient fragrance ingredients into modern day creations. “Tradition has always been a great source of inspiration for me,” he says. “Poetry, traditional Chinese abstract paintings and, of course, the beautiful natural landscape of China – all these fuel my creativity and influence my fragrance creations.”