Our admiration for Annie Jackson knows no bounds. She’s the co-founder and COO of Credo Beauty, where she has essentially redefined clean beauty for a new generation through the brand’s pioneering approach to retail, both online and off. (Not to brag, but you can find our products on Credo’s real and virtual shelves.) Before that, she helped build Sephora’s U.S. presence from the ground up.
That’s why we asked her to curate a Sample Set of her favorite scents, which you can find right here. (You’ll never guess which one reminds her of “a badass with a sharp tongue”—specifically, her grandmother.) While we had her, we made sure to ask her how she does it, why she does it, and how she overcame the many challenges that face anyone brave enough to start a business from scratch.
Read her answers after the jump.Read More
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.
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.
“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:
These days, you hear the term “natural” thrown around a lot. It sounds great—who doesn’t like nature?—but it’s a little misleading. After all, cyanide is found in nature, but you wouldn’t want to eat it, drink it, or spray it on your skin. That’s why we prefer the term botanical. It’s a little more precise (we only use plant products). And at this point, natural is basically a marketing buzzword. And who needs more of those?
Our goal is simple: We strive to use the best possible ingredients in all of our products, and the reality is that scents created in labs are often the better choice. Take Indian sandalwood. A wonderful ingredient, but one that’s been overharvested to the point of near-extinction. We love how it smells, which is why we don’t use it—we want future generations to experience it, too.
Editor’s note: A version of this post originally appeared on Medium.
Here’s a not-so-fun fact: The fragrance industry is barely regulated by the FDA. Crazy, right? You can hardly buy a cup of coffee these days without learning the name of the farmer who grew the beans. So you’d think people would demand a little more transparency from something they spray right on their skin (considering it’s our largest organ).