October 10, 2015

Interview with Julien and Madalina Blanchard, souls of the brand JUL ET MAD.

Jul et Mad came also. Charming couple Julien and Madalina Blanchard. Well-coordinated team. Two for work, two for love. Julien typical French beau, studied neurobiology. Madalina a cosmopolitan girl from the Romanian Carpathians, seasoned with the perfume world. Their personal story, love story bottled in flacons with perfumes, with which they try to bring back the sparkle of the word „Parfum“. And now they were here. In Bratislava, to be our guests at the festive opening of 1907’s perfumes boutique, as representatives of the rare perfumes world. I asked them with interest, and they gladly replied. Here it is, the interview with Julien and Madalina, representing the brand Jul et Mad.

1. Jul et Mad is your love story enclosed in flacons. Your first collection Les Classique represents strong moments within the story of your love. In your opinion what is love?

Julien: Love? It is universal feeling. Yes, it is our love story, but I think everyone can find himself in this story a identify with it.
Madalina: As Julien said, it is something universal, it doesn’t matter who you are, what position you have, I think it is the highest aspiration of each of us to find it. We had good luck to meet each other and live our story, because in reality each of us was living on different continent, and when we met, it was something totally unexpected and it turned our lives. These strong moments where the ones that made us decide to make the collection about our love. As Julien said, yes, it is our story, but the most beautiful thing about it is, that everyone may identify with it, find himself in it.

2. After the „Les Classique“ collection, comes „Les White“. To what extent is it a continuance of your love story, and why Les White, why white?

Madalina: (lough) It is very simple. Jul and Mad are our nicknames, Jul as Julien and Mad as Madalina. So we would like to continue in the same line. Our last name is Blanchard, as blanche (in French white), that means White. Because all our friends are calling us “The Whites”.  White come to dinner, White let’s go out…so we said to ourselves why not, why not continue just like this. This new collection is not about moments of our love, but it’s about our love for art, for beuty…
Julien: It defines what we like, how we live.
Madalina: We shared in our perfumes our love story. Now we want to share with others what defines us, about things we love for which we have a passion. I think it is a nice continuance, another level, a step forward.

3. Les Classique collection is very romantic. Almost everyone is able to identify with it, because all of us experience similar moments when in love. Is „Les Classique“ collection closed, meaning no more additions to expect?

Madalina: Of course we work on extension of “Les Classique”
Julien: The first four perfumes of “Les Clasique” where dedicated to the period before 10 years, all those moments. From that time a lot happened, we had a lot of joint moments, memories which we may share.

4. Why the change in your price policy?

Madalina: We divided the packaging to luxury case (Luxury Coffret) and basic (Love Basics)
Julien: The execution and the materials used are on a higher level, so we adjusted the price accordingly. The packaging of Les White is different than the packaging of Les Classique.
Madalina: It is a whole new concept. Les White is about ancient civilization. It is something very precisious for us. We decided to present this idea on the same level, as something precious. To present our product as an actual jewel. As a jewel of history. To focus on each aspect, from packaging to the fragrance. We wanted only the best of the best. Everything is hand made. The bottle, during the manufacturing process is submerged in a gold bath, and then our brand is engraved by hand. The wood box is made by artist’s hands that are making also pianos, there are 5 layers of lac on it. These are really masterpieces that each collector will appreciate. There just several pieces manufactured, it is not common, not ordinary. We are glad because we know that we accomplished the highest possible quality. On the other hand, we decided to make our perfumes more accessible to everybody that likes them. We decided to offer two versions of packaging, one the luxury collector packaging with gold, the other with the simple flacon in a simple packaging. The fragrance is the same. Similar concept we introduced with the Les Clasique collection. To our clients that already have the luxury packaging, and don’t need another one, simplifies the availability of the perfume they love.

5. In „Terrasse à St-Germain“ is captured your first meeting, with the notorious spark, so called love at first site. Why does it smell as it smells?

Julien: The brief was very simple and complicated at same time. For the creation of each perfume, we had to choose between the perfumers. Then we visited them, and described how we met, how it was. They took a sheet of paper, and wrote. We described the feelings we wanted to share in the perfume. Than they create. The perfumer that created Terrasse à St-Germain come with something very complex and interesting.
Madalina:  Both of us sat down with several perfumers and said: here we are, this is our story, so create, you have no limits regarding the budget, creativity… create with freedom. Three versions of fragrances where created, and when we smelled the first one, we said “wow” this is exactly that, this is how it was, this is how we felt. It is perfume within Les Clasique collection that is the most complex, on the other hand with the simplest composition. It is a perfume that perfectly describes the duality of a couple. It is very classic, and at the same time very modern. When we smelled it, we had the feeling that it is something we know, on the other hand never smelled before. When you apply it to the skin, it comes alive. It gets you, as the first eye contact. It is a perfume that you love it or hate it. Exactly as love at first sight, when you have no doubts. It catches the moment of the first meeting. Either you fell in love, or not.
Julien: It is really unisex.
Madalina: We released Terrasse à St-Germain in November 2012, and in January received the FIFI award in New York in category “Indie” (FIFI Awards – something like to Oscars in the film industry – remark of NW). It was a surprise and also happiness for us. We are proud of it.
Niche Week: Congratulations.
Madalina: Thank you. This perfume, for us, is the perfect expression of duality of couple.

6. The perfume „Amour de Palazzo“ had a certain smell in your vision. How did you succeed to get this vision in the nose of your perfumer and in the flacon?

Julien: The principle was similar. Several perfumers worked on the brief. Then we did a blind test, and choose the creation that was created by Dorothee Piot.
Madalina: Because she succeeded to perfectly capture our feelings. Maybe because between us and her it was a good chemistry. She really understood our story. To interpret a story of someone else is not ease at all. She did it brilliantly, bit by bit, as we just imagined it. So at the end it was Dorotheé.

7. Are you working only with experienced perfumers, or you also give the opportunity to new undiscovered by the world perfumers as well?

Madalina: Yes, sure. In fact this is what we do. We gladly bring perfumers to the forefront, because I am trained to be a perfumer, but am not a perfumer. I really respect master perfumers and their work. Our idea is to discover new talents. By example in Aqua Sextius we worked with Cecile Zarokian, because we like her as a person…
Julien: Keď sa stretneme s človekom, s parfumérom, musíme mať z neho dobrý pocit, keď sedí pred nami. Určite tam musia byť sympatie, rovnaká vlnová dĺžka. (We have to fit definitely). To všetko sa potom odráža v parféme.
When we meet with a person, a perfumer, we need to have a good feeling from him, when sitting in front of us. For sure there is a need to have mutual wave and sympathy. Because all of this is then reflected in the perfume.
Madalina: Another one is Luca Maffei, with whom we worked on the White collection. Specifically, he created “Nea” and “Garuda” for us. We worked on the White collection before, but we were not happy, something was still missing. So in September 2014 at PITTI in Florence, at the end of the exposition we met a marketing Manager. He was also Romanian, and he introduced us Luca Maffei. He is very young, but has a huge personal charm. We talked about lot of things and also that we are working on a new collection and about what it should be about. So at the end we said: if you are interested, and want to try, go ahead, send us some samples. After two weeks he surprised us with the first shots of “Garuda” and “Nea”.
Niche Week: So the best things happen to us by “accident”.
Madalina: Yes, I agree.

8. What type of fragrances you prefer?

Julien: Personally? I rotate perfumes a lot. Depends on the mood, the season…depends on a lot of things, but from our collection, in the summer, mostly I wear Aqua Sextius, and now its Garuda and Nin-Shar.
Madalina: Personally I prefer fragrances where there are also masculine, sharp tones, and also typical girly things. I am a girl. So I like floral, soft powdery tones, with a gourmand’s touch that is not heavy. I like “happy” shining perfumes.

9. Do you aspire to sell your perfumes in the big chains, or you want to remain niche?

Julien: If you mean the big massmarket perfumeries, the answer is absolutely no, it is not our concept, our vison for our perfumes.
Madalina: Because our perfumes need time, to be explained, time to understand them. Our perfumes need space where they get the attention and the right presentation.
Julien: We don’t want to sell them in big self-service perfumeries, where you can say: I take 10 of them.
Madalina: We want them to be perceived as uncommon, as a jewel. If someone is buying them, he should have the feeling that he holds in his hands something precisious. Not to lose its refinement and shine on a dusted shelf.
Julien: If something like this happened, it would disgrace our work.
Madalina: Exactly.

10. Do you agree that niche perfumes are the top of the quality in the perfume world?
Madalina: Most of them yes. Brands like Chanel, Dior, Guerlain have their undisputable quality, have various collections in various quality. But the world of niche perfumes is independent in creating, in choosing the ingredients, free of trends, of prices, of advertising…

11. How would you characterize niche perfumes?

Madalina: Niche? I don’t like so much the word niche. I define them as artistic perfumes, rare perfumes, truly perfumes…
Julien: The main idea of Jul et Mad is to bring back the real essence of perfumes, French perfumes, perfumes without the sticker eau de perfume, eau de toilette, eau do cologne…. simply at is was in the past – only “perfume”. You just buy a perfume, that’s all. It’s irrelevant if you are a woman or a man. Either you like it, or not. No structures of subcontractors, divisions, advertising and marketing departments.
Madalina: We are not following trends we are against them. We use ingredients thats fit to our story, which tells our story. If I use the terminology niche as you did, then niche is something that don't follow trends, charts of consumer markets, expenses, profits and loss. It is not a secret that we are not making millions, but it is a passion and the idea of creating the best of the best that motivates us, infuse us. To create something that in the customer will develop a feeling that he holds in his hands a precious and rare thing. To create something different for people that are fed up when they hear: now you should smell as Charlize Theron, now you should smell like Johny Depp (insinuation of an advertising campaign for a famous brand – remark of NW). They want away from it, and then here we are.
Julien: The motto of our brand is “Parfum sans compromise” - Perfume without compromise.

12. If you would have to create a new perfume called “Morning after a sleepless night” how would it smell, what would it contain?

Madalina: It would depend what that night we would have done (hearty laugh with Julien as well). We could working all night long, it happens, we could watching series, or….do other things…. counting money by example. But no, joke apart, it would of depend of…for sure there would be some animalic notes, or a “certain freshness” (loughing)

13. From your previous activities you have ample experience with the perfume industry in different continents. You had activities in the US, Europe, Asia. Please try to bring closer the individuality of these worlds, and in what way it reflects in your brand?

Madalina: These experiences convinced me that perfume is universal. People from different cultures, different background perceive fragrance differently, use it differently, so I had the opportunity not only to work in different countries, different continents, but also to work for very small companies, as well for the biggest. So that was a fantastic experience because it allowed me to have a 360 degree look around. My whole professional career and my studies where concentrating on this industry, the cosmetic industry. To pay for my studies, I was selling perfumes. And having a client in front of me daily it is an unbelievable experience. It was in New York, and was meeting with people from all around the world. So all cultures met in front of my counter, and each person came with his personal desires, with his way of asking for perfumes, with his way of consuming perfumes.

Niche Week: So it was very colorful.
Madalina: Yes, very colorful, it was a great source of information, and no marketing study could present so many views and so many opinions. And the result of this is: perfume is universal, with no regard to our culture, our background, our way of how we speak about perfumes…. each of us can identify himself with perfume. The way perfume brings back memories, its emotional. Two people can identify themselves differently with the same perfume, but the fragrance is definitely speaking to people. Perfume succeeds to move a person, and that is the most beautiful thing.

14. You grew up in Romania. What is your favorite linked to Romania?

Madalina: Carpathians. I am coming from there. I am a mountain girl. My mother still lives there. Everything is there. I gladly return there. It doesn’t matter for how long I was away, when I come there, it is as I never left. When I was in the US, I was not home for 8 years, but now when I live in France, I am visiting several times a year.

15. Best loved smell from childhood?

Madalina: The hands of my father. He smoked, was a heavy smoker. He was smoking some cheap tobacco that was sold in Romania. I adored my father, and I remember how as a little one I was sitting with him, and the smell of tobacco from his hands was the most beautiful alchemy mixed with his own smell. The nicest memory from my childhood.

16. What success means to you?

Madalina: To be happy, to enjoy, to have fun, to have the chance to do in my life what I want to do, and be happy that I am doing it.
Julien: And be able to share all that. One of the strongest experiences happened in Geneva. A person was smelling Aqua Sextius, and started to cry, just in front of us, because it evoked in her such a beautiful feelings, memories. Only by smelling our perfume.
Madalina: And that is success for us. It is not described in a material way, but by the reaction of the person standing in front of us.

17. In your opinion, in the upcoming 10 years, what will be the trends in the perfume world?

Julien: In the past two years there was an explosion of perfume brands. From something around 100 niche brands in the world, it grew to something like 300-350 brands at this time. It opens a space for diversity. Some of them are doing great work, but with some of them I have the feeling they does not belong to the niche world philosophy anymore, they just simply want to make money. That’s the reason why I think that several niche brands will disappear from the market, that is for sure, and a split will appear between the real niche brands, that remain small, with rarity products, professing the philosophy of doing the best of the best, and between those that will grow excessively, increasing the manufacturing output, decrease the quality, using marketing and advertising tools like the big companies.
Madalina: We see also a trend of big companies buying small companies. Some of them are founded dreaming that one day they will be bought. We will see. It is difficult to estimate what will happen. Regarding the trends in fragrances, I think that the soliflors will come back. We see this in the consumers habits…. people are looking for something simple, uncomplicated, recognizable for their nose, something with what they can identify themselves. Return to comfort, security, return to things they can easily identify.

18. Coffee or Tea?
Julien and Madalina: Coffee.

Mamaliga or Foie Gras?
Madalina: Both. I can adapt very quickly (lough)
NW: Did Julien eat mamaliga?
Madalina: Yes, he did, with my mother’s coercion. (lough)

Flowers or chocolate?
Julien and Madalina: Both.

Jul or Mad?
Madalina: Jul.
Julien: Mad.
(responded at the same time)

19. You are married for a certain time, you went throe several years of married life, what form your love has now?

Madalina: I think we have the same amount of fun as we had always before.
Julien: I think we are a happy couple, because we work together, we live together, spending together all of our time 24/7
Madalina: At the beginning it was full of passion. I left New York for Julien, it was a big step, and this year we celebrate our wedding anniversary. I think we still have spark, we still enjoy each other, and still enjoy sharing the same things as we did at the beginning, and it is a plus that we grow up, our love grown up, we are more deeply connected, and it is also thanks to what Julien said, we spend all of our time together. We have a feeling of wholeness, more intense, we know each other much better. Love is still there.

Thank you for the interview.

Madalina: Thank you Štefan, it was our pleasure.

Julien and Madalina at the festive opening presented their perfumes at a counter that we prepared for them in the Venetian style, because Venice, is their perfume Amour de Palazzo, Venice the symbol of love, love that is hanging above each of their perfumes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...