Ormaie Paris: In Conversation with the Mother-and-Son Duo

Pictured: Marie-Lise Jonak and Baptiste Bouygues, the founders of the family maison all-natural perfumes Ormaie Paris. Always with a literary or artistic reference, Bouygues perfectly counters his mom’s business sense and spontaneity.

- Please tell us the reason why you founded Ormaie Paris?

I’ve always been passionate about know-how. My grandfather was carving wood at night, and I watched it for hours. In that sense, I knew I wanted to create my own "Maison". Our Maison has creativity and know-how at the heart of everything. What is really important for Ormaie is to try to generate emotions. We do not compromise on creativity and the wonderful natural ingredients we use. I was always surrounded by fragrances. Most of my family worked on fragrances. The house always had great ingredients and I was always able to smell new things. My mother is one of the best creative directors in the fragrance industry. Throughout her career, she was passionate about the birth of a truly impactful perfume. One day I went to see my mother and asked if I could create a scent with the story we wanted to tell, using only natural ingredients. Not because natural fragrances were a trend, but because I really believed that there was something unique about natural ingredients. Natural things touch people's hearts, artificial things don't. It took nearly two years to procure raw materials and acquire the know-how. When we finally smelled the first perfume we created, we realized that we needed to create Ormaie.

- Where did the idea for an "all-natural" fragrance come from?

The most beautiful way to tell our story is to talk about great ingredients. There is something really unique in nature. The time they grow, the distillation, and the way they react to each other when creating fragrances. If you can tolerate all those processes dealing with plants and what happens with them, you will be able to build a soul with raw materials. I hope you can feel something from the Ormaie fragrance collection.

- What is an "all-natural" fragrance? How is it defined?

For us, it's very honest and straightforward. We use only natural ingredients such as flowers, moss and wood. The process of extracting the various odors we use to obtain essential oils, concrete (waxes) and absolutes (essential oils) is unique. Extracting scents from several ingredients produces completely different scents, allowing plants to have different effects on fragrances. 

- Is there any difference from the "vegan fragrance" you often hear these days?

Vegan means it doesn't contain animal-derived ingredients, but it doesn't mean it's 100% natural. The fragrance of Ormaie is 100% natural and does not use any animal-derived ingredients.

- Please tell us the origin of the brand name Ormaie?

Ormaie means elm tree in French. And Ormaie is the place where we are planting elm trees. France used to have many elm trees, but these days it is slowly declining. The idea of ​​Ormaie was to create know-how that is being lost. There was also an elm tree in the garden of my grandfather's house where I spent my childhood.

- Where did you get the inspiration for the impressive and lovely bottle design?

I remember my mother owning many perfume bottles as interior decoration objects. Back in those days, perfume bottles were an invisible art by a great designer. I wanted to rediscover that. Instead of leaving it in the bathroom, I wanted a perfume bottle that would fit nicely in the living room or even in the artist's atelier, just like where Ormaie should be. I started working with my friend Jade Lombard. I like Brancusi and designers of the late 20th century. Jade loves Jean-Paul Goude. These are the inspirations for bottle design. And the details of the bottle design are linked to the story of the fragrance. The glass bottle is cut into 12 sides, reminiscent of the clock and the time it takes to make it. The wood is hand-polished and the paper is printed on an old Heidelberger 1960s press. We hope you like the objects as much as we do. It would be great if I could see the object in the fireplace of some house or the table in the living room.

- Please tell us about your commitment to package design.

Quality and sustainability are very important to us in all of the artistic details. Once the design is complete, we make no compromises on it. We will start production with craftsmen who will procure reliable raw materials. In French, ≪bon≫ meaning “good” and ≪beau≫ meaning “beautiful” are very close words. When you create something beautiful, it can't be bad. Glass is from a glass manufacturer that uses only renewable energy. The paper is from Italy and some are recycled. Print in Paris. The wood used for the cap is from an ethically controlled forest. Finished with hand polish. It took a very long time to complete the product. For example, it took hundreds of prototypes and a month to choose the right yellow color for the cap.

- Where does the scent inspiration come from?

It comes from the memories of where I lived and the people who are important to me. I think that creation should be born from something very personal and sincere. When you try to talk about you or what you know, it should resonate with people.

- How do you create perfumes?

It always starts with the story I want to tell. Someone who is memorable the moment he was alive. Tell my mother the story. It's great to be able to smell the same scent and work with my mother who shares memories. You can tell your mother, "You smell the kitchen in your grandma's house after you paint the shutters in the summer." And my mother knows exactly what that is. After that, my mother started collaborating with several perfumers. More technical perfumers, experienced perfumers, and more knowledgeable perfumers about better ingredients. It can take up to two years to create what you envision. It takes time to handle natural things. I didn't want to announce what I wasn't proud of.

- Please give a message to everyone in Japan.

I love Japanese culture. There are many people in Japan who value the know-how that I believe in. There is an understanding that learning and creating takes time, attention to detail, and constant improvement. I am often impressed by the existence of the best craftsmanship in the world in Japan. I am very happy to be able to introduce Ormaie in Japan together with TomorrowLand, and at the same time, I feel that I am tightened. It makes a lot of sense to me that Japanese people like the perfume of Ormaie. That's because our creations have resonated with people who have a great understanding of know-how and sophistication.