The Backstory: Starting from Scratch
Every journey begins with a single step, and so it would also be the case here. I’ve always loved perfume — the process, the stories, the scents. I’ve gone to seminars, read articles and books about the history and the mythology of the industry. But how did the whole thing really start?
Well, having worked in digital for the entirety of my life, I was looking to create something tangible. Something that I could build with my hands and interact with in the real world. I thought about what I could do as a small hobby. I had been working in skincare and cosmetics for a while, specifically with all-natural companies, so I gravitated towards that. I had always loved perfume, so I thought, well, why not — and I ordered my first batch of ingredients.
I started small. I got a sampler set of neroli, I picked out a few different types of rose, and I started getting to know different families of ingredients. As if a painter were inspecting his palette, I was getting to know the tools that I would have at my disposal. High elevation lavender smelled so different from lavender absolute, for example, and I loved this process, which reminded me of cooking. I threw myself into this process of getting to know different ingredients, and I slowly grew my instincts for what and how different notes work together.
For me, each scent starts with a feeling or a concept. The first scent started by taking inspiration from my apartment in New York, with its penthouse terrace garden that overlooked the river and the Chrysler Building. I had a small garden filled with lavender, roses, and white flowers, and this served as the initial inspiration. I started exploring different formulas, different mixtures, and while this isn’t the first scent to launch, it served as the catalyst for the brand.
In a little coffee shop in Times Square I met with a mentor and a buyer, who was in between meetings, and I presented the first scent to them both. Talk about nervous — I had batched it that morning, the first time I had created that specific formula.
Both of them loved it. And they both insisted I had enough to start my own brand.
It was just the spark of encouragement that I needed. The thought had never occurred to me — I had been trying to sell the formula to a client I had been working with for a few years. But then it all came together in an instant, of course, it was so obvious. I basically flew home from the coffee shop with hundreds of ideas flashing through my mind.
The name, Petite Histoire, arrived quickly, and I knew exactly how I wanted everything to look and feel. I had created a draft of a brand concept back in my final years of college, and this now reemerged as the foundation for what I was creating. The brief back then had been very personal, and it seemed natural to return to this starting point.
From there I slowly began learning about the logistics of creating something from scratch. I began sourcing bottles, looking at literally hundreds of samples from a variety of suppliers before I found exactly what I had been envisioning. Many, many emails were sent back and forth, and the process dragged on for months. It took six months for one vendor to tell me that they would not be able to etch the logo onto the bottle as I had requested originally. The question was in my first email, and I was only told “no” months later when negotiations had led to setting up a sample delivery.
All good things take time.
In between emails from manufacturers and vendors, I began working on the first 5 scents in the collection. While I was sourcing boxes and warehouses, I allowed myself the time and flexibility to experiment with different ingredients. I learned the combinations I didn’t like, the things that I absolutely loved (there’s a jasmine concentrate that’s incredible), and I determined what I would need to create a complete collection, one that offered something for everyone while sharing the complete narrative I was creating.
As the last two years have progressed I’ve created drafts of some 12 scents for the main collection. I have two secondary lines percolating, and I’m incredibly excited to start pushing everything into production.