The sweet smell of success: Tempus talks to fragrance entrepreneur Nathalie Vinciguerra
The founder of Anima Vinci on why launching her own fragrance brand was the best thing she ever did
To achieve success in your chosen field, it’s fundamental to live and breathe what you do – and no one knows this more than Nathalie Vinciguerra, founder of luxury fragrance brand Anima Vinci. With an enviable CV boasting stints as creative director for Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur, she has also won numerous awards for her work in the perfume industry and developed bespoke colognes for the Prince Charles of Wales and The Duke of Edinburgh.
When Tempus meets Vinciguerra, on a baking hot afternoon in at her South Kensington HQ, I we discover she is a truly passionate individual with an unmatched view of her brand – from concept to product and beyond. Fragrance has been always been a core part of Vinciguerra’s life, and, when asked if helming her own fragrance brand was something she had always dreamed of, she excitedly said: “Always, always, always! I see fragrance as an art.”
Her first Anima Vinci collection, then, is as honed and intricately blended as one would expect, from Lime Spirit and Rose Prana, to the heavier Wood of Life and Oud Delight. Each individual perfume was created in collaboration with a different master perfumer, including the likes of Christian Provenzano, global director of Perfumery at CPL Aromas, and Randa Hammami, who has previously worked at Guerlain. Here, the fragrance connoisseur tells Tempus about the inspiration behind Anima Vinci, why sustainability is core to her brand and the secrets of the luxury perfume industry.
Hi Nathalie, please take us behind your brand, Anima Vinci.
My fragrances are very spiritual and mindful. It’s a joyful brand that is all about making the wearer feel good. We've tried to capture the beauty of the elements and nature. The pebble shaped bottle was designed bespoke for us, and makes you think about of the seashore. We’re working with the best quality ingredients for each fragrance, we’ve used an expert master perfumers and key sustainable ingredient swith a key benefit. All of the Anima Vinci consumers have this amazing soul, and we’re here to awaken and open that.
What inspired your career as a perfumer?
I was always exposed to the incredible scents of nature as a child. Growing up in Corsica was very wild and beautiful and it was all about the strongest force and beauty of nature. In my first interview for Loreal when I was 23, they asked me to describe a strong factory emotion and I told him about the fields in Corsica, and they hired me because I was so passionate. The way I describe that time in my life is so emotional, it’s a gift I have. I perceive everything through my nose. I feel really lucky because I don’t feel like I’m working at all. Nature provides so many scents and is so resistant and powerful. It gives me a lot of strength, and a lot of deep reflection about what is important in life.
What sets it apart from other luxury perfumes on the market?
During my time as creative director of Penhaligon and L’Artisan Parfumeur, I learnt a lot about the perfumery process, so, when launching my own brand, I knew I wanted to focus on concentration. All of the fragrances use 20% concentration to make sure the fragrance lasts on the skin. I wanted to make sure people were happy with that. Traditional perfumes usually contain around 10%, so 20% is a lot more powerful, concentrated, and intense. The big point of difference of my brand is the benefit to the wearer – each fragrance boasts a different enhancement to the wearer's wellbeing benefit. Citrus is energising, rose is balancing. Jasmine Yang was made with 17,000 petals of jasmine.
What made you take the leap to go it alone and launch your own brand?
Ever since I was young I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur. Before launching my fragrances, I wrote two books [Petit Elixir de Vie and Petit Elixir de Nature] which were very important to me in writing down my wisdom, thoughts and beliefs.and I believe in making people feel good in a very poetic way. I set the foundation a long time ago.
Why is sustainability so important to your brand?
Doing something environmentally friendly and saving the world is a big part of my brand. We know that for this generation it’s very important, they want to buy things which make sense, people are respectful of our values, and I think that’s great. We need to respect the planet.
How do you achieve this goal?
We’re very conscious of the environment – everything I create is recyclable, including the bottle and the packaging. Most of the ingredients for each fragrance have been sourced from sustainable farms around the world, including centifolia rose from Grasse – known as the world’s perfume capital. Other perfumers use very low concentration because the ingredients are expensive, but I believe there is no compromise on quality. We use 75% natural ingredients and the rest is achieved with chemistry. Of course, some people use 100% organic, which is beautiful, but I wanted the freedom to use a whole palette of 2,000 ingredients and not be restricted in what I wanted to achieve.
How did the idea for working with a master perfumer on each fragrance come about?
For Lime Spirit we selected CPL Aromas perfumery fragrance house because that’s where I developed the scent for my two royal warrants at Penhaligon's with Prince Charles and Prince Philip. They’re extremely good at what they do. Each master has expertise in a different type of fragrances – whether that be floral, wood or aromatic – and they each have a different way of working with fragrance.
Do you personally select who you want to come on board?
Absolutely. Rhonda Hammami is a rose expert who has been developing scent for the last 40 years. She did most of the developing of the private plant for Guerlain, she’s so talented at making timeless scents like our Rose Prana. For Wood of Life I wanted to create meditation in a bottle – that was the extraordinary brief I gave perfumer Michel Roudnitska, who's an incredibly spiritual perfumer. That’s the most organic one in the range, it has an almost medical healing benefit. The comments I get from consumers who wear it is that they get a feeling of being really open. This is the one with the biggest impact.