Perhaps you noticed this tidbit in our recent interview with perfumer Nathalie Benareau, regarding our newest fragrance, Améline: “In our palette we have this specific rose that no one else has,” she told us. This unique and exclusive ingredient is a special rose absolute that was created by our partners at Symrise, where Nathalie crafted Améline.
Suffice it to say there’s a story behind it. After the jump, we share that story…
Our newest fragrance, Améline, is not your grandmother’s rose perfume. Like femininity itself, this rose has been updated for the modern era. In the case of our fragrance, that means adding hints of sandalwood, patchouli and sparkling Italian bergamot, even a little violet, for a resulting scent that’s fresh and floral, earthy and watery. All to make a scent that embodies both Old World style and 21st century womanhood, and channels classic French style filtered through an American lens.
We spoke with the perfumer, Nathalie Benareau—a thoroughly modern French woman who now resides in America—to find out how she did it.
Welcome to the latest in our series of conversations with people we admire. Our latest gracious subject? Our adviser Jessica Hendricks Yee—the founder of The Brave Collection, a line of jewelry that’s made in Cambodia and raises money to fight human trafficking. (You can see some of the collection in our shoot for our new Sandara fragrance.) In our conversation, she shares what inspires her, her favorite scent memories, and her 91-year-old grandma’s key to longevity. She also gives us the scoop on her next big project. (Hint: it involves jewelry). Check it out below.
Hello, and welcome to our first guest post on Out of the Blue. It comes from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the leading organization for identifying and protecting threatened and endangered species. We are proud to support the IUCN’s mission by donating a portion of the proceeds from every bottle of fragrance we sell, and we are also proud to welcome them to our blog with this timely post.
The paradise islands of Hawaii are famous for their beaches, volcanoes and rich biodiversity. Over 10,000 species of plants, animals and fungi are found only on these islands—nowhere else on earth—and they play a major role in generating an annual $10 billion in annual income from the tourist industry.
Hawaii’s native species are also a valued part of traditional life, where they are used for medicine, ceremonies, tools and jewelry. Despite the economic, social and environmental importance of these species, current estimates indicate that as much 50% of all species found on Hawaii are at risk of extinction.
An astonishing 83% of the 433 Hawaiian plant species listed on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ are facing a risk of extinction in the wild. Fifty-two percent of the Hawaiian plant species are classified as Critically Endangered (CR).
It seemed like a good idea at the time: Take some of our fine fragrances, and make candles from their scents. After all, if you love the way something smells on your skin throughout the day, why not perfume the air with it, too. Easy, right? Well, in the immortal words of the Brad Pitt film Moneyball, it’s incredibly hard.
Fortunately, we had the incredibly talented perfumer Nathalie Benareau to help us, and she made it seem effortless. In roughly two months, she took her original scents from Hanami, Olmsted & Vaux and Hepcat, and translated them into Annica, Claremont and Howl, respectively. “This guy I love to work with is very knowledgeable, and he gave me a few ideas on what to use,” she says. “I called him in and he said ‘Augh! These people who try to turn fragrance into a candle. It never works!’ [Laughs.] But it does if you do it the right way.”
We couldn’t agree more. We spoke with Nathalie to learn just what the right way entails.
We’ve long been admirers of Made Safe, the country’s leading organization dedicated to helping you make informed decisions about what products to bring inside your home. In fact, we’re one of their official Supporter Brands, which is part of why we want to pass along this cool piece of news.
When we first founded our business, one of our first decisions was that we would be a values-based organization—one that always takes into account all of our stakeholders when making any decision. This means that we consider the perspective of our clients, our partners, our team, our investors and our planet, with everything we do.
This might seem like the obvious thing to do, but unfortunately it’s not a common one, as many businesses make decisions only through the narrow lens of short-term profitability. By instead considering all stakeholders, we believe we will make thoughtful and balanced decisions that will, in turn, create the best outcomes for all of our stakeholders—including, most importantly, you.
Happily, we’re not alone in adopting this approach. In fact, there is a wonderful organization dedicated to helping businesses focus on creating what many call “conscious capitalism.” That organization is B Lab, and we’re thrilled to share that we’ve just been certified by them as a B Corp.
When we began planning our photoshoot for Sandara—our brand-new scent, inspired by a mindful walk in the Redwoods—we knew it had to be something special. The location was a no-brainer: Portola Redwoods State Park embodied our vision for the fragrance. And the models, well, they couldn’t be just models. (Not that any model is ever just a model, but you know what we mean.) We wanted people who understood what Sandara was all about.
We were lucky, then, to find Kaeli Renae and Navid Golemohammadi, each of whom represent Sandara in their own ways. Keep reading to see what we mean—and hear some of the stories from the shoot.
“There is no smell like this smell from the timur pepper.”
So says a representative from Mane, our partners for our new fragrance Sandara, describing that scent’s key ingredient, Nepalese timur pepper. It’s prized for its lemony top notes, with traces of ginger, grapefruit and spice. (It is a pepper, after all.) As Sandara’s perfumer, Gino Percontino, puts it: “The heart of the fragrance is the timur pepper. It’s one of the shining stars. To me it means so much.”
But as with many star ingredients, Nepalese timur pepper isn’t easy to come by. It’s rare and therefore precious, a reminder that in ancient days, spices were as valued as gold, and just as subject to counterfeiting and fraud. (That said, the pepper is not as rare as, say, Indian sandalwood, which has been harvested to the point of near-extinction.) Mane sources it responsibly, partnering with impoverished communities in Nepal to ensure that the pepper is a critical source of income not just for the women who live and work there now, but for generations to come.
And then there were seven.
For the first time, we are adding a new fragrance to our collection of six award-winning scents. The new scent is called Sandara, and we think it’s unlike anything else out there.
To explain just what makes it so special, we asked the man who should know: Gino Percontino, the perfumer who crafted it, and who is working with us for the very first time. Here’s what he told us: