Laura Slatkin, founder and executive chairman of Nest Fragrances, talks to Professional Beauty about the importance of scent, how to fragrance wardrobe – and the secret to injecting even just a touch of Laura’s impeccable New York style into our lives.
Rarely do you meet a woman who is perfection from head to toe, but Laura Slatkin, founder and executive chairman of Nest Fragrances, is just that. A former New York investment banker turned fragrance business dynamo, Slatkin has elegance (and, indeed, scent) down to a fine art. Professional Beauty visited Slatkin at her stunning Langham Sydney hotel room while she was here on a recent trip to Australia to launch Nest Fragrances into Sephora stores across the country. Over tea (and scent after decadent scent), here is what she told us about genuine creativity, style, and choosing the right scent.
The very first thing you notice about Nest Fragrances is the beautiful packaging. Where has the inspiration come from?
The inspiration originally came from the artwork of artist Mrs Delany, who created these incredibly intricate botanical art from tiny strips of coloured paper. I was really inspired by her work.
What is your process when creating a new fragrance?
All of the Nest Fragrances are original pieces of art. I have the artist paint the painting and I take the painting to the perfumer along with a mood board, which has art, fashion, flowers and botanicals and all sorts of things that represent what I want this fragrance to be. For Citrine, we went thought many sketches with the artist until we got the botanical that really represented the fragrance.
So you work directly with the perfumer?
Yes, it’s a really genuine creative process and the perfumers take it really seriously. The big brands have fifty people working on a fragrance – they all weigh in and drive the perfumers crazy. So many great perfumes fall on the floor because there are too many people evaluating them. So when the perfumer works with me one-on-one it’s magical. The perfumers are very inspired to work because the process is so rich and fulfilling.
How long does it take to create a fragrance from conception to end product?
Sometimes it happens really quickly and sometimes it takes forever… Whether it’s the painting or the perfume; both have to be correct. Sometimes the painting is agony and he just can’t get there and sometimes it is the perfumer.
Do you use the same artist for every fragrance?
We always use the same artist. He is a Russian artist and is one of the artists who works with my brother-in-law [well-known interior designer, Howard Slatkin]. He works with my brother-in-law when he is creating very elaborate homes. Sometimes he will paint a whole wall or floor or room with very detailed work.
How should a woman start her fragrance wardrobe?
Everyone has a different lifestyle so you really need to look at that first. What are you doing during the day? Are you with your children? Are you going shopping? Out to dinner? My lifestyle is very multifaceted; I have my business, I have my charitable endeavours, my family and my social life. I am always doing something different and talking to different people.
It’s also important to look at what you like. Citrine is a terrific fragrance to wear during the day and Midnight Fleur in the evening but some people don’t go out in the evening; sometimes they will make Midnight Fleur their signature scent.
Should women still have a signature scent?
I think people should do what they like to do. Some people like to wear one fragrance and stay with that fragrance and only change it up once in a while. But I think that fragrance wardrobing is fun. We want to create a different mood; when people come into our personal space you want to impact them and move them and really take them somewhere. And it depends too on who that person is; your boyfriend, your husband, your girlfriend, your mother in law… I think we want to create a different mood depending on who we are with, where we are going, and what we’re doing.
How important is scent to a woman?
I think it is hugely important to wear a fragrance and impact people and move them in a positive way. I think there is nothing more enjoyable than leaning in and giving a woman or a man a kiss and being greeted with a beautiful fragrance. It represents their personality.
And what about men?
My husband wears a fragrance that he designed himself. It’s Harry and everyone always looks forward to saying hello to him and experiencing his amazing scent.
Do you have a favourite scent?
I go through phases. Right now I love Citrine because we just launched it and my husband absolutely adores it, and I really feel that it is important to please your man. So Citrine and Indigo are two of his most favourite fragrances. It used to be Indigo and Midnight Fleur…
You are the epitome of elegance and true style. How can women inject a bit of elegance into their lives?
I think everyone has their own personal style and I think it is important to find your personals style and be true to it and never deviate from it. I think some women find it hard to find their style but if they work at it and pay attention to it, they can find it. Once they get their groove then they can find a fragrance that will compliment their style.
What would you wear to lunch with your girlfriends?
I like to wear Dahlia & Vines when I go out to lunch with my girlfriends because it is so feminine and so pretty. The peonies and rose, the dewy daffodils and dahlias… But I also love Citrine right now, the citrusy floral is so rejuvenating and refreshing and happy and I think when you’re with your girlfriends you want to be happy.
What about for a walk?
I like to wear Verde because it is very fresh. If you were going hiking, it would be a great fragrance. Not that I hike!
How do you come up with the next fragrance?
Now that the collection is a bit more mature we want to make sure we have all the fragrance categories represented. If they want citrusy floral, we have that, a more traditional floral, we have that. Perhaps they want something fresh, something gourmand, something exotic… It is really important that we have something for everyone. It used to be that people would just go out and buy a candle or a perfume; now they know what they want so we want to make sure that we have the right category. Once we have identified the catrgory, we find the flower that would represent the category.
Nest Fragrances are available at Sephora stores now.