It is three years since I launched STORIES Parfums, my heart full of promise and not for one second anticipating a global pandemic 18 months down the line. I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on this time and share my vision for what lies ahead.
Like many young independent brands, I steered my business through lockdown fuelled by passion, determination and unwavering commitment. I have my grandmother to thank for blessing me with her strength of spirit - and I am so proud of how far my team and I have come.
There were dark days, of course, but we never gave up hope.
"When we're totally unclothed, love will show us what we are. When the known crumbles away, all that remains is this burning heart."
As I write, on the cusp of dark Autumnal evenings, I see brighter days evolving, amid glorious reconnections with people who light up my soul.
Covid hit shortly after we launched with some of our favourite retailers - and it's fabulous to see customers return to perfume counters at Harvey Nichols, Fortnum & Mason and Fenwick - and wonderful to meet so many of you face to face.
We never lost touch of course - and implemented multiple ways to stayed connected with fragrance even when shop doors temporarily closed. From redeemable samples and virtual fragrance discovery sessions - to hosting workshops, podcasts and online events on how to experience, choose and layer fragrance, perfume played a more important role than ever in our lives.
Scent was always something that connected me to who I am and all that matters to me. When first developing my fragrance in Grasse, I discovered a unique connection between our sense of smell and memories. I had such a mind-blowing connection with fragrance to the point where I was able to reconnect with memories from my childhood that had been blocked and forgotten. I left Grasse with my 2 new fragrances and a passion to tell my story of joy, healing and hope through my creations. This is the reason STORIES Parfums was born.
This year we launched an online VIP Scent Club, which we have now been able to take on the road, hosting fabulous events with our retail partners. Last week some champions of STORIES joined us for two incredible events at Harvey Nichols in Manchester and Dublin. During a Scent Masterclass, I introduced them to our our new packaging - carefully designed with sustainability at the forefront - an absolute highlight of our year.
I have a unique way of teaching people how to connect to their own story through their sense of smell, without any preconceptions or barriers. I do not get influenced by a trend or what is needed to fill the market. I neither write briefs nor have a preconceived idea when I begin to blend a new fragrance. It really is a story in an aromatic form.
It feels as though we have come a long way in such a short time... I feel so very thankful and have been reflecting on a few of the many significant moments on our journey to date...
- Driving through Grasse on the French Riviera, where I began my olfactory journey, learning with the most incredible perfumer
- Holding the first bottle of STORIES Parfums Eau de Parfum in my hand
- Seeing STORIES Eau de Parfum displayed on counters in some of my favourite stores... Harvey Nichols, Fenwicks and Fortnum & Mason
- Launching with more new retailers at home and globally
- Winning multiple awards for STORIES fragrances and skincare
- Increasing our sustainability measures, most importantly through fabulous new sustainable packaging
- Educating others on the power of fragrance
- Watching my team grow
The very best part has been hearing how STORIES Parfums has enriched so many of your lives - and helped you connect to your own story.
STORIES is a self funded brand which I have built from scratch. I am hands on in every single element of the business and love it all. As it's grown, I've surrounded myself with a fantastic team, because "talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships."
As for what is next - we plan to evolve into luxury home fragrance and expand our fine fragrances and luxury body care, with a focus on expanding our prestige retail partners. We want to grow globally and focus on our direct-to-consumer channels, with a strategy to have a presence in every major city without over saturating the industry.
I want to empower conversation through fragrance memories that can heal, uplift, remind and reinforce what makes you uniquely you.
HOW IT STARTED
The story of a fragrance wrapped itself around me like a cocoon. It came from nowhere; it was a divine aroma laced with sharp citrus and the warmth of something woody. When I went on to become a fragrance designer, it was that aroma I sought to articulate in my first perfume.
Each scent I inhaled when developing the blend illuminated the shadows of a difficult past and marked the beginning of a healing journey. STORIES Nº.01 tells the story of pain transformed into beauty, of the dark yielding to the light.
Just like my very first fragrance, elements of this year have felt like a journey through darkness into light. As I write, the future looks bright.
It would be an honour to be part of your story too.