Fragrance

The Fragrance Foundation Awards Presented by Hearst Magazines: View from the Inside

The Fragrance Foundation Awards Presented by Hearst Magazines: View from the Inside

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Fragrance

Lifetime Achievement, Perfumer: Harry Frémont

Lifetime Achievement, Perfumer: Harry Frémont

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Fragrance

Hall of Fame: Marc Puig

Hall of Fame: Marc Puig

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Top Notes: #Flowergram, Brexit, Duty Free, Beauty Storage, And Recruiting The Senses

This is the news you can’t afford to miss…Your Daily Digest from The Fragrance Foundation

• #Flowergram It’s time to let go of the musk/amber fragrances and pick up something lighter. Vogue

• Apart As the United Kingdom negotiates the terms of exit from the European Union, many believe a ‘bad Brexit’ will pull the fashion industry apart. Business Of Fashion

• Globetrotter It’s impossible to pass through duty free without picking up one of these iconic beauty products. Elle UK

• Storage Proper storage of your beauty products goes beyond ensuring they don’t spill out of your bag. Read on for tips from the pros. Harper’s Bazaar UK

• Recruiting The Senses Advertisers are looking to recruit all of our senses in their quest for persuasion. Fast Company

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Top Notes: Pinrose’s Best Travel Perfume Ever, thredUP, The Ancient Mediterranean, And The iPhone

This is the news you can’t afford to miss…Your Daily Digest from The Fragrance Foundation

• Best Pinrose’s recently launched travel set, Best Travel Perfume Ever, is the perfect solution to making sure you always smell great on-the-go. Bustle

• Frictionless thredUP, an online consignment shop, has revolutionized buying and selling used items. And they will open up their first retail location this month. Observer

• Discovery Facebook has introduced a series of new formats to reach families, aptly called household targeting. Glossy

• Aroma Archaeologists, historians and classicists gathered at the British School at Rome to explore the use of incense, perfume and scented oils in the ancient Mediterranean. Forbes

• Before And After 10 years ago, Apple Inc. released the iPhone, the world’s first-ever “smartphone”. Read more on one of the most influential advancements in modern technology. WWD

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Top Notes: Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale, Frédéric Malle, Nose Blind, And “The Reach”

This is the news you can’t afford to miss…Your Daily Digest from The Fragrance Foundation

• Mid-Summer Itch For those of you who don’t have a vacation on the horizon, a whiff of these fragrance picks will do the trick. Instyle

• Anniversary Nordstrom’s biggest event of the year, the Anniversary Sale, is an industry phenomena because of its popularity, revenue potential and unique format. WWD (sub req)

• Á La Carte Frédéric Malle, a pioneer in the world of indie artisanal fragrance, makes his scents á la carte with a dozen different perfumers and complete freedom. Racked

• Nose Blind You can never fully gauge what your house smells like, so one editor has rounded up chic diffusers to ensure that your home smells and looks amazing. Refinery 29

• Reach When the bill arrives at the table, who should do “the reach”? The Wall Street Journal

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Shop Talk: Aedes de Venustas

Niche may be the hottest topic in fragrance—another day, another indie acquisition—but at Aedes de Venustas, it’s always been about the rare, exquisite brands. Established in 1995, Aedes has been a launch pad for lines like Frédéric Malle and Diptyque, and it continues to be a destination for those who want to smell the next buzzed-about scent—all within a rich, opulent atmosphere.

We spoke with cofounder Robert Gerstner to find out how Aedes has created one of the most exciting—and relevant—retail experiences right now.

How It All Began

Gerstner and Karl Bradl, co-founder of Aedes, arrived from Munich in 1992 with no experience in the beauty industry (Gerstner worked in international logistics, while Bradl was a banker), yet they were hardly strangers to it. “We both had a passion for fragrance, candles, skincare, and body care,” says Gerstner. “One day, Karl said to me, ‘You know what? There isn’t a single store in New York, or the US for that matter, that has the brands we love under one roof. We thought, ‘This is something we should look into.’”

That European Flair

Gerstner and Bradl quickly reached out to brands like L’Artisan Parfumeur, Diptyque, and Santa Maria Novella about their concept: Creating what Gerstner described at the time as an “Old World European” shop—the antithesis of the “clean, sleek department store.”

Located at 15 Christopher Street, their new shop had burgundy walls, plush carpet, gilded furniture, and elaborate floral arrangements—it was pure opulence.

Gerstner recalls fragrance writer Chandler Burr’s description of Aedes de Venustas: “1900’s French boudoir-slash-whorehouse,” he says, laughing. “[Burr] can be very dry.”

Aedes has moved twice since then—once down the street, and in 2015, around the corner to 7 Greenwich Avenue. Their newest address may be their most spacious, but it still has the same ambiance.

Say It with Flowers

While the assortment was exciting enough for Aedes to stand out in the beauty world, at one point, “Karl said, ‘We have to do something to promote the store,’” says Gerstner. Karl’s idea: “Instead of just gift-wrapping an item, why don’t we put fresh flowers on top of it?” This became such a hit with press and customers (“You’re getting two gifts in one!” says Gerstner), that the fresh floral gift wrap has become an Aedes signature.

During the holidays, Bradl makes daily trips to the flower market, as the shop does about 4,000 individual floral gift wraps. “We have two employees who do nothing else but wrap presents,” says Gerstner. “After the holidays are over, they don’t want to see a single flower.”

A Christmas Miracle

Gerstner remembers the moment—or customer, rather—who took Aedes from neighborhood shop to global beauty destination.

“Naomi Campbell comes walking down the stairs to our old [basement] location,” he says.

Though she was on a mission to buy imported eye drops (on recommendation from Vogue), she looked around and said, “Oh my God! You have all the things I love! Diptyque candles and Czech & Speake….do you guys do corporate gifts?”

Aedes never had, but before they could answer, she said, “Get a pen and paper,” recalls Gerstner. “Two hours after she left—once we closed our mouths—we got to work on her Christmas gifts.”

From there, “pretty much all [of her gift recipients] wanted to work with us for their corporate gifts! Most of those clients are still loyal customers. Naomi made us big.”

The Personal Touch

While some of Aedes’s big time brands (Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Frédéric Malle, among others) have since sold to larger corporations, there is still an intimacy about their company. That’s largely because Gerstner and Bradl are incredibly selective, wrinkling their noses at the industry’s obsession with “newness.”

“We are very picky about bringing in new brands,” says Gerstner, who debuts about one line a year. Another factor:  “We have great relationships with the brands we carry,” he says. “Either that, or it doesn’t work.”

One brand that’s especially close to home: Nomenclature, created by Bradl and Carlos Quintero. The line heroes some of the most inspiring molecules used in fragrance.

It’s sophisticated, unusual, and totally unsurprising that it was born at Aedes.

Images courtesy of Aedes de Venustas

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