Highly creative and dynamic, visionaries Meredith Waga-Perez and Tony Perez have taken a supremely successful and couture floral atelier, Belle Fleur, and expounded upon it with a luxurious line of home fragrances and bath and body products. Designed to awaken and refresh the senses, Belle Fleur’s exquisite fragrance sprays, bath soaps and candles come in such decadent combinations as Grapefruit Muguet, Jasmine Verbena, Mayan Tuberose and Rose Immortelle, among other refined selections. Scent has a way of transforming spaces and refining an ambience, and Belle Fleur is meticulously developing a way to bring the exotic, the romantic, the luxurious and the decadent into the home, or even to one’s person, in a subtle, yet eloquent, manner.
We are absolutely enamored with the beautifully crafted scents Belle Fleur products exude, and the exceptional quality with which each candle and soap is composed. We love the idea of incorporating scent into extravagant events, like weddings, or even into more intimate experiences. The notion of using custom fragrances to develop the story and the feel of a space is not necessarily new, but perhaps one that has been neglected. It is inspiring to see how Belle Fleur is transforming the idea of entertaining, as well as the idea of personalizing spaces, through these incredible scents.
Intrigued by Belle Fleur’s fastidious attention to excellence and bespoke fragrance offerings, we began to develop a curiosity for the thought process behind their delectable products and the mission which they have developed to see haute couture developed in the realm of olfaction. Check out our conversation with architect-turned-fragrance-connoisseur, Tony Perez, co-founder and co-creator of Belle Fleur Fragrances, below for a glimpse into this fascinating sphere.
TBC: What do you find so alluring about home fragrances? Fragrance in your home is a very affordable way of transforming your space.
TP: Scent is a powerful transporter, as it has the ability to sensorially take you to a different place and time as well as to elicit feelings of calm, joy or relaxation.
TBC: Was developing a bath and body line of products in the plan from day one, or was it an organic development following the success of Belle Fleur’s candles and home fragrances?
TP: It has always been part of the plan, as has perfume. We’ve always had the vision of creating a lifestyle brand that revolves around high quality natural materials, in particular flowers. For us, the bath & body is a natural evolution of our philosophy of creating scented products that consumers care about, that they can connect to because they have meaning, that tell a story and are thoughtfully created.
TBC: Describe the quintessential Belle Fleur Fragrance client.
TP: Our tag line is “Haute Couture for the Senses.” Very simply stated, our customer is passionate about quality and knowing that what they get from us is original, authentic and created by true artists.
TBC: What do Belle Fleur Fragrances have to offer the luxury bride?
TP: Aside from offering amazing gifts or wedding favors, the luxury bride expects something unique. Her wedding is very personalized to who she is and one of the things we LOVE being asked to do is create a personal fragrance for an event. We sometimes create an environmental scent unique to the couple, a scent that permeates the venue, or, sometimes, a bride will ask us to create a perfume just for her wedding day. One of our grandest moments came when a bride asked us to create a personalized scent for her to wear on her special day and we used that scent to create individual scented candles that were given away as gifts to each guest. It’s very heartwarming to know that every time a guest lights that candle, the unique fragrance instantly reminds them of that day, reliving the moment.
TBC: Will Belle Fleur produce seasonal options, or the classic line only?
TP: We’ve started creating limited edition products because they offer us a chance to be even more creative and target a particular season. Last winter, we created Nazará for Holiday and it was a huge success. Every raw material we used with this scent was outrageously wonderful and off-the-charts expensive. The vessel was an opaque white with a 22 karat gold trim band. These seasonal items allow us to go outside the ‘everyday’ products to create something truly luxurious.
TBC: Is there any overlap between the Belle Fleur Fragrance line and Belle Fleur Florals?
TP: The overlap occurs in our brand vision, where philosophies of material use, composition, fashion and detail play a significant role for both entities. They live together, inextricably intertwined.
TBC: Do you have any new products you are planning to launch over the coming year?
TP: We are in the process of rounding out the home collection with reed diffusers and petite candles, products that our customers have been asking for. Additionally, we are expanding into personal fragrance and creating 4 distinct and very luxurious perfumes, created in collaboration with the celebrated perfumer, Ralf Schweiger.
TBC: What makes a Belle Fleur candle more exquisite than any other option?
TP: We approach our home fragrances from the perfumery side – where quality of raw materials, structure and artistry play a major role. Our candles use 14-18% essential oil, up to 10% more than most other candles on the market. We also have a proprietary wax mixture that burns very clean with a large throw, effectively scenting a very large space.
TBC: We all know and love beautiful Belle Fleur florals, but what led you and Meredith to branch out into the multifaceted world of scent?
TP: It was a natural extension of the flower business and a perfect way for us to capture the beauty of something so perishable and extending its life.
TBC: What would you say is the cornerstone of Belle Fleur Fragrances’ success?
TP: t’s our unique approach to how we create our fragrances. Each is a unique concept built on a story but we always make sure to understand that the scent story can only be told when the concept and the materials tell that story together. Careful creative direction and collaborating with amazing, world-class perfumers is also a major factor in our success.
TBC: When did you first become interested in the role that scent plays in creating an atmosphere?
TP: Well, I was trained as an architect, so I have an appreciation for the built environment and one thing I quickly realized is that fragrance can, and does, play a major role in contributing to our perception of space. Although we can’t really see it or touch it, scent is very spatial and three-dimensional and like architecture, it’s built on structural principles that define its purpose or intent.
TBC: Why do you feel that the sense of smell is so powerful?
TP: Science has proven that the area of our brains where our sense of smell resides is also the place where our memory exists, so there is an deep connection between the two. With scent, our sense of smell and our brain work together like an olfactory GPS where a particular scent can instantaneously remind you of a place, a time or person in your life, with incredible clarity.
TBC: Do you sense that Belle Fleur’s ability to conscientiously curate scent has brought about a shift in the perceptions and expectations of your discerning clientele?
TP: We are hoping so. Every artist creates something to elicit an emotion and we are no different. We are trying to redefine what the term “home fragrance” can mean from our own unique perspective, driven by our backgrounds in other disciplines. We are taking the principles of haute perfumery, combining them with ideas of what the notion of ‘home’ means to us as a society today, and applying them to the products we create. I think our customers get it and that’s why they love Belle Fleur. We have a very unique voice.
TBC: Are Belle Fleur scents used primarily as home and bath and body products, or have you seen these products being used in conjunction with couture events?
TP: Both. We will have special orders for some very high profile events. Giorgio Armani likes to use our Figue Noir in their showrooms and we’ve scented the White House with Mayan Tuberose a few years ago when the French Prime Minister came for a state dinner.
TBC: What has been your greatest moment of breakthrough in the process of launching Belle Fleur Fragrances and body products?
TP: For me it was attending perfumery school in Paris in the early days of our company. It was at that moment that my previous training as an architect came together with my new vocation as a fragrance creative director. The first day of class it all fell into place – I made a connection between what I knew and what I was learning. It was the melding of two disciplines into one.
TBC: What are you most excited about as you continue to develop Belle Fleur’s Fragrance line?
TP: We are very excited to launch our perfume line. This has been an ongoing development for over a year now but we are in the process of fine-tuning each perfume to be a thing of beauty. This project will really showcase the quality of florals and other raw materials that are a part of our Belle Fleur DNA.