Elegantes London is a perfume house like no other. The vision of founders Thomas and Dagmar Smit is to return the art of perfumery to its historic beginnings by creating a unique sensory experience. This dream is realised in the exquisite collection of haute couture perfumes ‘Beyond First’. Here we talk to Walpole member Dagmar Smit, Co-Founder of Elegantes London.
What inspired you to establish Elegantes London?
Having spent years leading the world’s finest hotels, in 2012, my husband and I turned our hand to establishing the world’s rarest perfumery. The meaning of the word ‘honourable’ captured our imagination and was derived from a quote we discovered etched in a granite archway in Prague: ‘Elegant people of our time are honourable people who pass on their values to others – 1599.’ Together we channelled our passion, attention to detail and exacting standards into creating a perfume house that redefines timeless elegance and opulence in the contemporary world.
What makes Elegantes London different to competitors in the market?
We sourced the finest people, products and ingredients to develop Elegantes London, with no consideration to expense or time. We work to impeccable standards, from the artisanal glassmakers to the bespoke handwritten labels on every flacon to Julien Rasquinet, the collection’s master ‘nose’ and prodigy of legendary perfumer Pierre Bourdon. Each perfume is housed in a handcrafted crystal flacon, each hand-blown by 103-year-old glass and crystal artisan, Waltersperger. Located in Normandy, France, Waltersperger is the last artisan in Europe to use semi-mechanised French glass and crystal makers whose work requires highly skilled manual labour. Crafted from a bespoke four-piece mould, each flacon is hand-polished for eight to 10 hours.
What do you wish you had known before you launched Elegantes London? What difficulties did you experience along the way?
I believe that life is full of variables, impossible to control. Elegantes London is all about prestige, precision, perfection and craftsmanship. All elements flourish with timeless elegance and are cocooned with exceptional hard work from each individual who are part of the journey; 35,000 hours from creation to the finished flacon. We did not take any shortcuts to become the most remarkable perfume house. The human side of the project was the most challenging. However, Elegantes London supports the new generation of young talent. All of our perfumes are natural and handcrafted through each step in the process. I am grateful to our team who have learned with us on our journey.
What advice would you present to women who are looking to set up their own business in the beauty industry?
Always understand the market and client needs before setting up a business. Sustainability should be at the forefront, taking into consideration eco-friendly materials to ensure they do not have a negative effect on the oceans. Finally, don’t be afraid to fail, follow your vision and success will grow with you.
What motto do you live by?
Perfection knows no compromise.