Stories Parfums are on a mission to transport the mind and transform emotions through scent, as our sense of smell is the most powerful one we have. Closely linked to memory and mood, what we smell has the ability to stir us, move us and immerse us in an instant.
We spoke to founder, Tonya Kidd-Beggs, about how best to shop for scent both personally and for others, the future of purchasing scent and what makes Stories different in the fragrance market.
What makes Stories unique? What inspired you to establish the brand?
Scent was always something that connected me to who I am and what matters to me. What started out as a hobby led me to Grasse in the South of France. It was here I worked with a perfumer who allowed me to work intuitively and began teaching me the basics of perfumery. It was during this time that I found that there is a unique connection with our sense of smell to our memories, I had such a mind-blowing connection with fragrance to the point where I was able to reconnect with memories from my childhood that had been blocked and forgotten due to trauma in my life when I was 12 years old. I left Grasse with my 2 new fragrances and a passion to tell my story of joy, healing and hope through my creations. STORIES was born due to the testament of the power of fragrance in my own life. I see perfumery as an art for me to tell my story in the hope that people will connect to their own story, past, present and future through my fragrances.
It was important to me that STORIES would empower conversation through fragrance memories that can heal, uplift, remind and reinforce what makes you uniquely you. Unlike other beauty products, fragrance can release memories and emotions that bring joy and wellbeing, connecting us to our past, relating to our present and inspiring hope for our future. With STORIES we are defining the new niche, that redefines niche through taking an intuitive, inclusive and sustainable approach to the art of perfumery.
We believe passionately in beauty without boundaries. While our story may have started with deep roots in traditional methods and ancient craftsmanship, our ethos is that of a thoroughly modern brand... intuitive, inclusive and always accessible.
How best do you recommend choosing the perfect scent?
I have a very unique way to connect people to fragrances. I ask people not to focus on the ingredients but how the fragrance makes them feel. The reason behind this is that we all have preconceptions of how we ‘think’ we like a specific note or smell and it is my passion to remove these preconceptions and allow people to connect the their own story, past, present and future through perfume. It is scientifically proven that our smell is the strongest of all senses connected to our olfactory memory which is based at the base of our brain. It is here where our memory bank is stored. When we smell something it automatically connects to this memory. It is also where new smells and memories are stored. If you read a note or an ingredient on a bottle you will with either love it or hate it before you actually smell it so it is my desire to give people the space to connect with the perfume rather than what they think they like or think they hate. This is also the reason I number our bottles. We want the fragrances to speak for themselves and allow the person to really think of how they are feeling when they smell. This comes in many ways, a feeling in your body, a picture, a colour .. there is no right or wrong way to smell a perfume. This happened to myself when I was creating our first two fragrances. I had an awful experience with synthetic vanilla which had obliviously stored in my memory and I had the mindset I did not want to put any vanilla near any fragrance I created. Although when you blind test a note and smell the note in its purest form it smells completely different and actually changed my perception of vanilla, therefore it removed my preconception.
How do you choose scents for others?
Perfume has the wonderful ability to create new memories. I feel that when you choose a fragrance for someone it is a wonderful opportunity for you to become part of that person’s story, long into the future. Every time they spritz they will think of you… I think it is a wonderful gift. There also a chance to strengthen a bond with someone who is in your own memory connected to a perfume. Why not add a personalized note and tell them why you chose that fragrance for them, it becomes more personal and emotionally connects you to that person.
Do you think shopping for scent online is the future?
I do - being able to speak direct to your customer about something you are passionate about is a wonderful experience. There are many ways to try fragrance at home, via sampling services and smaller sized bottles. I think people today want to connect with authentic brands and founders - they want to know the story behind the brand and you do not get that experience in a store as much. I know we do not have smell-a-vision as yet —and that can hinder but we can help people connect in many new ways like we couldn’t before.
Do you have a favorite perfume?
I do not… I love experimenting and creating and at present am creating new lines. Every time I spray STORIES Nº.01 and Nº.02 I feel something different. One minute I am a child in a garden the next time could sexy, strong and empowered. Our sense of smell is the most powerful one we have. Closely linked to memory and mood, what we smell has the ability to stir us, move us and immerse us in an instant - and because of this I love to experiment.