“SoHo, no doubts.” Fueguia 1833’s founder Julian Bedel has always had clear ideas on where to open his first stand-alone store in New York. Located on 21 Crosby Street, the 592-square-foot unit marks the first direct store of the niche scent label in the American market.
Bedel appointed the local Tony Chi & Associates studio to conceive the sophisticated and cozy interior concept, which blends business with discovery and learning experiences.
Designed exclusively for the location, furniture and textile elements are infused with the combination of walnut and blue colors. The predominant lacquer wood contrasts with mirrored surfaces and refined details of golden leaves.
A wide, central table dominates the space showcasing over 60 Fueguia 1833 fragrances presented on walnut wood cubes. Glass vials arranged on every bottle allow customers to smell the essences, concurrently creating a scenic effect that can be spotted by pedestrians through the store’s wide windows. In addition to the 100-ml. format, priced at between $320 and $450, the whole array of Fueguia 1833 products is offered at the location, including fragrances in the 30-ml. travel size and the new “Perfume Oils,” made of organic jojoba oil.
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The store’s “ingredients bar” offers another sensorial experience lining up almost 300 natural ingredients used to realize the fragrances, while different props contribute to narrate Bedel’s personal background, inspirations and passions. These include music, as a guitar standing out on a wall indicates, also paying tribute to the American jazz culture.
“I started playing at 12 years old and I was completely engaged,” he said, highlighting an analogy between his passion and his work. “The key of our perfumes is the chord, just like music,” he explained, adding that the combination of unusual notes is the one that sometimes works better. “With music I totally lost a sort of innocence because I’m influenced by what I listen every day, but in perfumery I can preserve [this] in my approach to creation and get away with my ideas.”
Founded in 2010 in Buenos Aires, the brand grew and reached worldwide recognition thanks to a distribution strategy focusing on selected perfumeries and concept stores, as well as freestanding stores. Nevertheless, starting from 2017, Bedel decided not only to implement the brand’s e-commerce but also to focus exclusively on directly managed stores, as he considers them the best way to convey the real spirit, values and history of his brand. The founder is directly involved in each step of the fragrances’ realization — from the botanical research of exclusive natural ingredients, to their distillation; from the creation and formulation of the scents to the design of the final packaging, until the sales in the boutiques.
The direct contact with customers in particular is one of the assets Bedel is not willing to give up. “Every day I get an e-mail with feedbacks from the our sales assistants,” he said, stressing how this procedure is valuable to intercept his clients’ demands.
Fueguia 1833 currently counts stores in Buenos Aires, Taipei, Tokyo and Zurich, while Bedel moved the formulation and production processes establishing a 10,764-square-foot factory to Milan.
In addition, he also introduced “Casa Fueguia 1833,” a sort of shop-cum-showroom located inside a 20th-century building in the city’s central Via della Spiga. The space is divided into three parts featuring the fragrances’ array, the ingredients bar and a living area, which serves as Bedel’s studio and lounge where he welcomes guests for chats and Argentinian wine tasting.
The format will be soon replicated in Moscow, where a 1,615-square-foot venue will also carry a candle atelier and a wine bar, while an American unit is also in the pipeline. “The next step in the U.S. is to open a Casa Fueguia in Los Angeles,” Bedel said, explaining that the concept fits better in the Californian city due to the wider distances. “It’s more expanded and you have to move by car, so if you go some place, you kind of want to stay and spend time there.”
Other future launches include the first store in Hong Kong, inside the Rosewood hotel slated to open in 2018, and the second unit in Japan, this time based in Kyoto.
The Japanese market is one of the best performing for the brand and Bedel’s favorite. “I was very lucky, it was my dream country and [opening there] happened immediately,” he said. Thanks to his boutique in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, also curated by Tony Chi & Associates, Bedel gets in touch with new habits that keep inspiring his work. “They are innovators, they see a different poetry,” he said, mentioning the Japanese usage of wearing perfume under the nails, so that “when they type in the office or deliver a folder to their bosses, they can smell the scent.”
The new approach of direct distribution also aligns with the productive dynamics of the company, which offers limited-edition fragrances, in accordance with the availability of the natural ingredients. Every bottle features the year of production and a serial number and sustainability is a priority. The glass of the bottles is recyclable, the packaging of Perfume Oils is completely biodegradable while the wood used to craft the handmade cases is recovered from fallen or burnt trees.