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Two STORES Parfums bottles side by side


To celebrate Day Five of National Fragrance Week, we asked STORIES Founder, Tonya Kidd-Beggs our burning questions all about perfumery!


What’s your top tip for perfume? 

Moisturise your skin prior to spritzing, this allows the molecules of the perfume to cling to your skin for longer. DO NOT RUB your wrists together after spritzing as this ruins the scent by dispersing notes in the wrong order and can actually make the perfume smell very different.  Fragrance is made in such a way to develop over time from the first spritz, top notes are the first aroma followed by heart notes, and then the notes that last on skin for a longer period of time are the base notes.  Spray on pulse points and allow to dry naturally – not forgetting the ends of your hair.
What’s your signature scent?

I remember every single perfume I have worn over the years, but of course now that I create scent myself, it must be STORIES Parfums.  I have worn STORIES Nº.01 and Nº.02 for 6 years, and I am not bored with them whatsoever.  I do layer them together on days or layer them with our scented body care. We are a fine fragrance and I created them in such a way that they complement and can be layered together.
Why did you start your business?

I am mum to 4 and chose to be a stay-at-home mum but as my youngest, twin girls started to get a bit older, I went on pursuit of a hobby which took me to Grasse in the South of France. Fragrance was always something that connected me to those who were important to me. Fragrance connected me to my grandmother, who sadly I never got to meetShe was a businesswoman in Northern Ireland, she broke a lot of glass ceilings for women in her day.  I grew up feeling I knew her because of the scent she woreIt was only after this transformative trip to the heart of perfume-making in Grasse, France, that I realised the power of fragrance to heal, release locked memories, transcend personal tragedy, and inspire happiness. I had trauma in my life when I was around 12 years of age and sadly, I lost my childhood memories prior.  Even though in later years I went through counselling to remove the root of the trauma, which was 100 per cent successful, I still did not have those good childhood memories. This changed when I began working with fragrance. I quickly learnt that our sense of smell is the most powerful one we have. Closely linked to memory and mood, what we smell has the ability to stir us, move us and immerse us in an instant. Spurred on by this discovery, STORIES Parfums was born. Using the best raw materials and time-honoured traditional methods, I created each fragrance to capture a moment and unlock a memory significant to myself. Each bottle is a narrative woven together by a carefully orchestrated balance of notes; as our name suggests, it is a story in aromatic form.
What inspired your STORIES Series of perfumes? Please explain what inspired each one.
I originally wanted to create a personal, bespoke perfume for myself and that journey led me to Grasse.  It was an epiphany for me because the creation process brought back long forgotten memories and I realised the transformative power of fragrance.

My fragrance house was born as a testament of the power of fragrance and to the stories which have shaped my own life.  Fragrance has always been a way for me to connect with who I am and what matters to me and by sharing my fragrances I hope to give people the space to stop and connect with either their past, their present or even dream for their future. The actual inspiration for each fragrance comes by working on how I feel on the day.  I do not have an idea or a strategy where my perfumes are concerned. Everything comes to life as I work, much like an artist who paints a painting. It is an expression, an art, what I like to call the art of perfumery. I experienced significant trauma at the age of 12 and because of this, suffered a loss of my childhood memories. In later years, I went through counselling to successfully remove the root of trauma, and in fact went on to train as a counsellor to help others, but sadly I still had no recollection of my lost childhood memories until I started developing my first fragrance when quite extraordinarily, they began to emerge. My first two fragrances are inspired by my discovered childhood memories.
Being from Northern Ireland has also most definitely shaped my fragrances and body care line. STORIES was born on the North Down rugged coastline with the most exquisite landscapes which bring a breath of fresh air and a place for relaxation.  These combine with woody, green, and evocative scents of the forest, and floral, herbaceous scents of the hedgerows and meadows.  They are the scents of my childhood and have helped me to intuitively create my fragrances. The feel of Irish linen recalls the texture of the material on our Eau de Parfum boxes and they are an ode the history of Irish linen history and some of my ancestors livelihoods. 
When I started my personal fragrance journey, it was important to me that I could find a perfumery that would accept me in their laboratory to work with a perfumer and I discovered my partner in the perfume capital of the world, Grasse.  There, over 200 unnamed ingredient bottles were presented to me and I learnt to smell and describe what I felt, what I saw when I sniffed and what memory it brought to me. It was the most freeing and beautiful experience and the way I connected with those individual fragrances was so very powerful.  It was important that I experienced these ingredients without knowing their names because as soon as we see a name we automatically connect with our olfactory system and have already made a pre-conceived connection with that note, even before we smell it. 
At STORIES Parfums we believe passionately in beauty without boundaries and have positioned ourselves as forerunners of the new niche.  In defining the ‘new niche’ we proudly bring luxury and sustainability together in the world of fine fragrance. Whilst our story may have started with deep roots in traditional methods and ancient craftsmanship, our ethos is that of a thoroughly modern brand. Intuitive, inclusive, and always accessible.
Which fragrance of STORIES took the most time to create and why? Which raw material has been the most problematic in creating a fragrance?
I work quite differently to other creative directors.  I am not a trained perfumer, I am self-taught.  I work quite differently from the ways others may work.  I do not focus on notes and ingredients, but I work completely on my own intuition.
I blind test notes and choose the blend as I go. The wonderful moment when my connection to my memory happens occurs when the fragrance is completed, it is a story unfolding, my story.  I bring together all I want, blind testing out of many notes, and break them down.  I do work with a fabulous ‘nose’ who neither guides takes away or pushes notes in my direction but allows me to express myself completely, to create a composition of my story.  She brings the ending to the chapter and balances all the notes but does not remove or add anything.  This is how I love to work. I do not concentrate on any individual note, we make it work - and it always works.
How much does packaging help to curb the problem of adulteration?
It is a top priority to me that the packaging quality and the actual fragrance are well-protected.  As we begin to scale and expand, as we have begun to replenish and renew, we have managed to do just that - we have become more luxurious and more sustainable at the same time. Our labels are of high quality and are calcium carbonate which is derived from 80% marble mining waste with 20% recycled HDPE.  The material can be recycled in the conventional recycling stream.

Our Eau de Parfum caps are made from Zamak, a heavy-touch, luxurious material that exhibits an excellent combination of cost, strength, ductility, impact strength and finishing characteristics. Zamak is a family of zinc alloys with varying proportions of aluminium, magnesium and copper and is a 100 per cent recyclable material.  This highly resistant alloy is 100% infinitely reusable and does not lose any properties during the recycling process.  We want to make our packaging more responsible, so we are offering a 10% discount on next purchase if you return your cap to us along with its bottle. This initiative will support our commitment to recycle, reduce and reuse.

Our Glass Bottles are Refillable, Reusable and Recyclable, Refill your travel size at home. All our perfume bottles are refillable and can be supplied with a pipette for ease of transfer. Our 15ml and 30ml are the perfect size for on the go and can be refilled from our 100ml bottle.
We have implemented a responsible purchasing policy: We make sure that our suppliers have a strong commitment to environmental, social, and societal issues. In selecting them, we favour the respect and promotion of human rights.  Most of the raw material suppliers that we have selected are ISO certified and often even ECOCERT certified.  Our plants suppliers are eco-friendly, as they follow the harvesting guidelines for wild crafted plants.
You can explore more STORIES products here, or if you have any more questions for Tonya, leave them below!

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