Thursday, February 16, 2012

An Interview with Belle Fleur Founders & Creators, Meredith Waga & Tony Perez

We love to get to know the people behind the brand.  They are the foundation on which their story is built.  For me, getting to know the owners gives me a much better understanding of their brand and an even greater appreciation for their creations.  Here is some insight behind Belle Fleur from Founders & Creators, Meredith Waga and Tony Perez.


What is the most challenging aspect of your home fragrance business?

I'd say that one of the most challenging aspects is forcing ourselves to avoid being seduced by trends. We made a decision early on that what we wanted to create was a lasting business, one that stood out on its own and had its own unique place in the world of fragrance. Trends are transient, too many companies have been compromised by chasing fads that they never had a chance to develop brand identities. We had a vision and we've stuck to it and I think, in the end, that is what gives a brand life. We don't subscribe to seasonal launches, we only launch a product when we have something to say. It's certainly a challenge not chasing the crowd, but we have our vision and that has to stay true to who we are at the core.


How has it been working with your husband, Tony? How do you separate your tasks?

As any husband-wife team will tell you, it has its challenges. But, I must say that, for us, the advantages far outweigh the challenges. In fact, I daresay its the challenges that make us stronger, both as a couple and as business partners. Our creativity benefits as well. We are free to critique each others' ideas without the ego getting in the way so that our products end up being the best we can offer. We share the same passion for fragrance and design and we use our distinct backgrounds, in fashion and architecture, to leverage the best from one another. Tony went to perfumery school in Paris and has an immense passion for fragrance. He finds it amazingly similar to architecture so he approaches design from a calculated and methodical angle, whereas my creative process is more freewheeling and loose.

If you believe in Mies van der Rohe's adage "Less is More," then Tony is the "Less" and I'm the "More" so we always end up with the perfect balance! And thank heaven it works!!


Tell us about your next collection and how you selected the fragrances?

Our next collection is our Rose Extraordinaire Collection. We felt it was necessary because, frankly, being in the floral business, how can one avoid the rose; it was inevitable, that the "Queen" of flowers would find her way into our palette! It's something that was very personal to Tony, as well. He's lived in Turkey and Ecuador, and roses were a big part of those cultures.

It was a huge challenge for us because we wanted to find a way to express our love for the flower without reverting to the stereotypes. Perfumers have been doing rose fragrances for as long as there has been perfumery, so the challenge was to create something modern and different while still paying homage to her beauty in an elegant and classic manner. In addition, we needed to ensure that each fragrance was true to the rose, yet distinct enough to make all 4 unique. The point of distinction for us was in the absolutes. It's incredible to note the varied characteristics of different rose absolutes. We found 4 whose facets were so exceptional from one another and used those as the point of distinction behind each rose fragrance: Egyptian rose absolute (Centifolia), Moroccan rose absolute (Centifolia), Turkish arose absolute (Damascena) and Bulgarian rose absolute (Damascena). If you hold the Moroccan and the Bulgarian up to your nose, the Bulgarian is honeyed and sweet while the Moroccan has a distinct fresh, earthy nuance to it.

While those classic absolute distinctions were the catalyst to developing our collection, we still wanted each to be modern and interesting. We pared the perfect rose absolute with each concept. For Petal├ęs D'Amour; we were inspired by imagining what a rose garden within the Garden of Eden would smell like, infused by apples, berries flowers and figs. For Velvet Santal, it was the actual tactility of a rose petal, it's smooth, fabric-like velvety texture. For Imperial Oudh, we went to the extreme, imagining a bouquet of luscious red roses in an uber-masculine setting - a den with wood paneling, leather chair and smokey fireplace. The Moroccan rose absolute was perfect for this with its earthiness. We used the Egyptian Centifolia absolute for Rose Immortelle: It had an earthy, green aspect that screamed a fresh rose just pulled from the ground, roots and all.


What can we expect from Belle Fleur in the future?

The future holds more of what you find in the present - thoughtful, well crafted and creative products. Our biggest endeavor however, is perfume! It's an absolute passion of ours and the next logical extension of our brand. We so love working with raw materials and we've been exposed to some that would knock your socks off, they are so beautiful. For us and our passion for flowers, we constantly strive to find new ways to express the beauty of nature. It's also a very different creative challenge because fragrances that we create for home do not make a direct translation to ones we would want to wear. As designers and artists, we are always pushing the design envelop, looking for new means to express ourselves and our ideas. It's part of our growth as individuals and as a brand. What our consumers will know for sure is that, whatever we do create, will have the same attention to detail and will be ALL about the fragrance.

2 comments:

  1. When I think of Belle Fleur, I think of timeless class. The fragrances have so much depth and elegance to them. I am the most excited to try Imperial Oudh after reading the description. What an innovative and unique way to blend rose! Great blog—thank you Meredith and Tony for your incredible creations!

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  2. In my according to belle fleur candles are luxury for the Senses. by fusing the art of floral design with the science of fragrance, belle fleur has expanded their passion for flowers into a collection of exquisitely scented candles for the home. Whether you are in the mood for romance or in need of tranquility, Belle Fleur's home fragrances capture the beauty and essence of their favorite flowers. So i like it.

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