Fast-forward 10 years, and Berglund had finally achieved his goal. Through a long journey consisting of planning, saving and wading through the intricacies of picking up and moving to a different country — all of which is detailed in his memoir, “A Beach Less Traveled” — Berglund landed in St. Martin with a new home and a new business: Tijon, a perfumery he and wife Cyndi opened on the French side of the island in 2007.
“My wife was always on board, but when I actually put an offer on a place, she cried,” Berglund said. “So I bought her a rum drink and a nice dinner.”
The original store was intended to sell the perfumes that Berglund had been developing for years from a lab in his basement. The boutique was popular with tourists and locals, who enjoyed the views of the lab where perfumes were mixed. That view, however, often prompted a question: “Can we make our own perfume here?”
After fielding the question again and again, Berglund began to think the idea had some merit. He decided to begin offering perfume-mixing classes in the small lab.
The boutique and its classes became so popular, visitors began hounding Berglund to open a sister store stateside.
Meanwhile, Berglund’s daughter, Rachelle Crumrine, had finished college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and was working her way up the corporate ladder in the endurance sports industry. After two years imploring his daughter to help open a U.S.-based store, Crumrine finally caved, and Tijon La Jolla was born Dec. 1.
The La Jolla location, at 7853 Herschel Ave., was designed with the mixing classes in mind. While the store in St. Martin had a small laboratory (which has recently been upgraded and expanded) limiting the number of class participants to just a few, the La Jolla store can accept as many as 15 students in a class.
The store offers two classes — a Mix & Match class or Perfume 101. For $59 ($79 Fridays through Sundays), the Mix & Match class, which lasts up to 90 minutes, is a quicker introduction to the world of mixing perfume. Participants are allowed to choose from 12 premixed base oils, and can add up to three different oils from the more than 300 Tijon offers in its “perfume organ” — a wall of bottled oils with everything from amber to ylang-ylang.
At $119 ($129 on weekends), The Perfume 101 class, meanwhile, offers a more extensive overview of perfume making, including a history of the craft and using our sense of smell, while allowing participants unlimited use of the oils to craft their personal fragrance. Students in both classes go home with a bottle of their own creation, as well as gifts and educational materials. At the end of each class, participants register their perfume in the store’s database, and when they run out, they can reorder for $39.
For those who want to leave the mixing up to the experts, the store also offers 18 signature fragrances for both men and women.
As for the shift in her career trajectory that Crumrine — now president of Tijon USA — can thank her father for, she said it has been a welcome change.
“I get to work with people who are all having a good time,” she said. “They come in happy, and thus far, they’ve all left happy.”
And has Berglund found what he was looking for when he embarked on his decade-long attempt to change his life and leave the corporate chaos behind?
“I would certainly do it all over again,” he said. “It was tougher and more costly than we anticipated, but it’s going really well and we love it. I enjoyed myself before [as an attorney] but I’m enjoying myself more now. It’s like night and day. And I’ve always wanted to live in a place where people go for vacation.”
For more information about Tijon’s products or classes, visit tijon.com or call (619) 821-8219.