Based in Antwerp and launched in 2015, Kamila Aubre is a premium artisan perfume brand that doesn’t follow convention or trends. Naturally, all Kamila Aubre perfumes are vegan and sustainable. We spoke to founder Kamila.
What led you to start Kamila Aubre Botanical Perfume?
We started as a small skin care brand in 2015, but I had always been interested in botanical perfumery and continued studying it myself for a few years. I love reading and poetry is my passion, this was the moment when I realised the two must be blended. In 2018 Kamila Aubre Botanical Perfume was born.
How did you choose the name?
I wanted to bring something personal to the name, but as it happens my last name sounds too long and complicated, so we made a shorter version which can be read in any language.
How would you describe your products, and what makes them different?
The vegan perfumes and their packaging are designed especially for those looking for more eco-friendly and vegan options, but with more sublime ingredients. We use high quality natural, mostly organic raw materials. All perfumes are highly concentrated which makes them last much longer on skin.
Unlike many natural perfume brands, we use a very small amount of natural isolates, to add tones only, they are not our primary palette. Our essential ingredients are pure raw materials (absolutes, CO2 extracts, tinctures, essential oils) and food grade alcohol (non-denatured).
What stereotypes exist in your industry and how are you breaking them?
If we talk about the perfume industry in general, then there are quite a few of them. Many people think that botanical perfumery has no place in modern perfumery and that natural perfumers are not educated or experienced enough to create beautiful long lasting fragrances. Well, in my opinion 'natural' and 'synthetic' cannot and should not be compared. There are many beautiful natural fragrances on the market and many amazing perfumers who have been creating everything by hand for many years.
Can you tell us more about where, how and by who your products are made?
Our perfumes are made in our studio in a small town near Antwerp. We carefully choose each ingredient, and blend, filter and bottle all perfumes by hand. All the scents have been designed by me.
Do you think movements like Fashion Revolution create enough pressure on big brands to change how they work – and what more should be done?
I think it is not only about a certain movement, but about the small steps each of us takes every day. I have noticed that, over the last few years, a lot has been done and many beautiful vegan products have appeared, which is so nice to see. Our demand creates the supply we need.
What’s your favourite product from your collection and why?
I love them all, but when it comes to the favourite one, as a creative, it is about an idea, a concept within a product. Soliloquy extrait de parfum is the one I really love (to be re-launched in 2020). The inspiration behind it, the colour, the scent, the notes create an ambience, a moment within a moment. To tell a story in prose poetry as Virginia Woolf did it, and then re-interpret it into a scent, was very much like writing a verse, painting and meditating at the same time.
How has the brand and industry evolved since you started?
We started with three vegan perfumes and have created a few more since then. But this summer we focused on re-starting with a new look which would reflect our ethos much better. It is also nice to see people create the demand for more natural and vegan products, and the industry which is full of creatives has a lot to offer these days, although retailers are still very cautious about natural perfumes.
What changes have you had to make since you started – and which ones were the hardest?
We have changed the packaging and added a few more perfumes, but we realised it was not what we wanted to do. As we focus on natural products we need to offer products in season, so we had to put some perfumes (even some of our customers' favourites) on hold to focus on the few scents for each season/year. This was a hard decision but in the end it will bring a higher quality.
Biggest highs and lows?
I am very proud of having created a line of perfumes which I designed completely myself, from the formulas to the packaging, this is my biggest achievement. As in every small business, highs and lows come every day but it depends how you look at them, as a lesson or as a failure. But I think lows must always stay behind the scenes.
What drives you, and where do you get your inspiration from?
Reading, design and nature.
What other pioneering brands do you admire and why?
Matt & Nat and Angela Roi. Because they were able to make vegan products look stylish and classy.
The next big thing in your industry is ...
Seeing more eco-friendly but elegant and beautiful packaging, something we really need from perfume bottle manufacturers. I would love to see the next generation of biodegradable spray pumps and caps for perfume packaging.
If you were doing something other than this, what would it be?
Photographing, painting or writing a book of poetry.
What’s next for Kamila Aubre?
We are working on bringing the complete vegan perfume line back and creating some scents inspired by poetry, but this time not personal ones. This is to be revealed in 2020.
‘Always be a poet, even in prose’ – Charles Baudelaire
You can browse the Kamila Aubre collection here.
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