Savouring simplicity with Berlin-based Frau Tonis Parfum.
How did the brand get started?
In the summer of 2009 during a concert in the Berlin Philharmonie I was seated next to a woman who was wearing such an extraordinarily alluring scent that I could hardly focus on the music being played. Was I too shy, or did I think that the question was perhaps too intimate? Either way, I didn’t ask her what the name of her perfume was.
In the following days I set out on a quest in search of the fragrance armed only with my memory of the perfume, and smelled my way through the perfume boutiques of Berlin. All without results. I was constantly being presented with the most ‘trendy’ perfumes, big brands and an endless assortment of mainstream fragrances.
I came to ask myself ’Why doesn’t someone offer something as intimately sensual as perfume with a bit of sensitivity and passion? Don’t you need to actually listen to the customer? Why isn’t it possible to create a tailor-made perfume?
Six months later, I founded my own perfumery. It’s dedicated to my grandmother, Toni-Luise, who enriched my life with her passion for handmade products, made to measure dresses and exotic perfumes.
What inspiration did you draw from other brands and products?
I deliberately wanted to differentiate myself from other brands and fragrances. In our store in Berlin we present niche fragrances that are as unique as the character of the person who wears them. We focus on the essentials when it comes to packaging and furnishing the studio: the fragrance. Nothing distracts from it.
What is the creation process?
I am inspired by my travels. With our No. 30 Thé Arabique I translated the feeling that I had during my trip on the Nile at one evening when I let nature take its effect on me enjoying a glass of whiskey.
The fragrance creation can take a few months or even years before I exactly created the eau de parfum that convinces me.
What stories are there behind the products?
I open my olfactory diary with our scents. Some eau de parfums remind me of certain situations or people. Fragrances are very closely connected with the sense of memory and it is always so beautiful to listen to the stories of our customers, visiting our store, who have their own associations.
How is the current experience, in relation to COVID particularly?
We have a very well-functioning online shop, customers browse the shop, take their time to experience our products online and apparently like to shop. In these times, you can see that people are increasingly devoting themselves to sustainably produced goods. Hand crafted perfumes like ours are in high demand!
What is keeping you busy right now?
We have started many projects in the past few weeks, and we have also implemented social campaigns such as our CARE packages. With the Care Package campaign, we have now distributed almost 400 packages filled with wonderful Berlin products to hospitals to say “Thank you” for their tireless work. We also try to support small local shops by cooperating with them.
I worry a lot about what's really important in life. We have all found out that we can be happy with fewer quality goods.
What are your ambitions for the future?
We have rebuilt our beautiful perfume store in Berlin-Mitte and I hope that at some point in the near future tourists will come back and see what value we give with our hand crafted perfumes. We are considered 'Berlin's most beautiful perfumery' and we even got more beautiful.
What advice would you give to others starting out on a similar project?
Combine your feelings with business expertise! And don't let your dreams be talked down by unimaginative bankers ... When I presented the idea for my niche perfumery 10 years ago I had little encouragement. But, I still believed in my idea and ended up finding a bank in my old home town in the west of Germany that supported me.
You also need a good team that works motivated every day and that you can rely on blindly and a product that everyone believes in.