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Indie Brand ‘Made by Me’ Straddles Perfume and Makeup

“It’s all about bridging categories to serve the purpose of self-expression,” said founder Nathalie Duran, of the brand comprised of solid scents with ephemeral colors made for layering.

PARIS — Made by Me, a new indie beauty brand with solid, colored fragrances, ticks a lot of today’s important boxes. Personalization? Check. Shareable? Check. Without parabens, phthalates or plastics? Check. Fun? Check also.

Created to give people a “fragranced glow,” Made by Me was launched on March 8 in a one-week pop-up store in Paris at 34 Rue de Hauteville in the 10th arrondissement, and online through Madebymeperfumes.com, for the French and South Korean markets.

It’s the brainchild of Nathalie Duran, a former L’Oréal and Coty executive, who has worked on such brands as Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent.

A little more than two years ago, while she began running her consulting firm L’Astrolabe, Duran decided also to make her obsession for personalization into a profession.

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“It’s really the future of luxury,” she said. “I believe luxury has to serve with the highest-quality self-expression and to go a little bit further than mix and match. This is what makeup really managed to do as a métier.

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“I wasn’t happy that fragrance, something I love and find beautiful, and is so difficult as an alchemy — you cannot really do it yourself,” she continued. “So there was always a barrier to personalization. One day, I had this crazy idea. I said: ‘We can lift the barrier of fragrance if it’s under the form of makeup, and then you can build up your fragrance like makeup.’”

She said: “It’s all about bridging categories to serve the purpose of self-expression.”

Eschewing a do-it-yourself model, Duran opted to create finished solid scents, rather than have them be made simply of olfactive accords or notes. Each one within a theme can work together well.

The solids have a color cosmetics’ creamy texture, but don’t involve parabens, phthalates or plastics, and come with an 11 percent or 12 percent fragrance concentration, making them eaux de parfum. Their colors fade on skin or hair.

“We don’t want to really make up people with fragrance,” explained Duran. But color makes the products visually sharable, which is not possible with a spritz of traditional, invisible scent.

To help consumers, the brand suggests dosages in simple terms — i.e. two circles-worth made with two fingers.

“With your fingers, you go from one fragrance to another and blend them together,” she said, adding layering allows people to personalize the creations and vary them as frequently as desired, “according to your mood, the season; you don’t feel the same every day.”

Duran decided not to name the label after herself.

“I wanted to create a brand that would vanish a little bit, like the color disappears,” she said. “It would become a kind of declaration.”

To the question: “You smell great, what do you wear?” She wants the retort to be along the lines of “It’s a Peach Made by Me.”

Her brand’s tag line reads: “Make Up Your Fragrance!”

Made By Me palettes.
Made by Me palettes. Courtesy of Made By Me

“It’s a new way of expressing yourself and being empowered…with a very high quality of knowledge, expertise and the possibility to discuss together recipes and advice,” Duran said.

Today, there are five scents on offer themed Nude, either sold as a palette or duo, retailing for 99 euros and 49 euros, respectively.

Meanwhile, other themed scents are in the works.

A dream of Duran’s is to have on offer an empty case that consumers can fill with their chosen Made by Me scents, while the brand gives them accessible expert advice.

“It’s not a discussion of ‘belong to my universe,’” she said. “Because the people will create their own universe — their perfume, what it means to them.”

“I never believed [that] to create a distance between something or someone or a brand and people was a sign of luxury,” Duran explained. “I always thought you can get close and a fragrance could still maintain its mystery, universe, power of memories, but be more compatible with what people want to do with it.”

For more, see:

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