Scents of mystery

Whether bot­tled in a be­spoke glass ves­sel or in­fused into a hand­poured can­dle, the heady aroma of Cu­ri­onoir’s scents are turn­ing heads from Pon­sonby to Paris


Tif­fany Jeans of Cu­ri­onoir re­veals the se­crets of her suc­cess

Adis­tinct air of theatre sur­rounds lo­cal fra­grance brand Cu­ri­onoir. From oxblood vel­vet drapes shield­ing its Pon­sonby store’s in­te­rior from the street, to dreamy, at­mo­spheric films that ac­com­pany in­di­vid­ual scents, ev­ery­thing about this luxe per­fume bou­tique is in­tox­i­cat­ing. Cre­ator Tif­fany Jeans draws back the cur­tain to re­veal the se­crets to her suc­cess.

How did Cu­ri­onoir come about?

The name comes from when I used to feed my son (who is now 10) dur­ing the night, then not be able to go back to sleep. I was mak­ing hand-cast wax cu­rios to scent the night – hence ‘noir’. I would make my fra­grances, study and sculpt the moulds for the wax.

Did you have any fra­grance ex­pe­ri­ence prior to this?

Per­fumery to me is every­where so I be­lieve every­one has an ex­pe­ri­ence. I’ve done many cour­ses in dif­fer­ent parts of the world and still work with won­der­ful per­fumers, some masters, based in France and Italy, who give ad­vice and per­spec­tive. I find work­ing with those who have gen­er­a­tions of knowl­edge be­hind them of price­less value.

Why is scent so im­por­tant to you?

Not only can scent re­flect a cer­tain mood or feel­ing, it can help to in­flu­ence one’s char­ac­ter and at­mos­phere. Our Black Spice can­dle is won­der­ful dur­ing De­cem­ber, as the clove, cin­na­mon and tea leaves are in­vig­o­rat­ing and con­jure mem­o­ries of a spice-filled fes­tive sea­son. Feather My Tears is so fresh dur­ing the sum­mer months, with notes of wa­ter lily, lily of the val­ley and orchid. Scent adds an­other layer, which can help with one’s mem­ory of an event, due to the ol­fac­tory bulb [the neu­ral struc­ture that gov­erns our sense of smell] hav­ing such a di­rect link to the brain. We have won­der­ful brides and grooms choos­ing fra­grances and can­dles for their spe­cial days, not only for them­selves, but for their fam­ily and friends to ex­pe­ri­ence when get­ting ready, cel­e­brat­ing or as gifts.

How piv­otal is your Māori her­itage to your busi­ness?

It is im­por­tant in ev­ery facet of my life. Cu­ri­onoir wouldn’t be what it is with­out my her­itage. I’ve been sur­rounded by very clever crafts­men and women through­out

my life and watch­ing and learn­ing all they were do­ing was such a taonga – a gift – which we in turn give to our cus­tomers who can en­joy it them­selves or pass it on to oth­ers. Trea­sured gifts that have taken a lot of ded­i­ca­tion are some of the most thought­ful.

Your bot­tles are works of art.

For me, the fra­grance cre­ation is a story in it­self and the ves­sel should have just as much care and ap­pre­ci­a­tion. Ap­ply­ing fra­grance with glass is a won­der­ful feel­ing. These pieces [cre­ated by Mon­mouth Glass] are what we call our heir­loom pieces. Through­out his­tory, hand­blown glass bot­tles have been used, but this has be­come a dy­ing art. We are bring­ing back this idea of hav­ing func­tional pieces of art.

How much time do you spend de­vel­op­ing a new per­fume?

De­vel­op­ing can take a few weeks to a cou­ple of years. It all de­pends on the feel­ing I am happy with.

What ad­vice would you give to some­one want­ing to start their own busi­ness?

First of all, just fol­low your pas­sion. I would sug­gest find­ing some won­der­ful, like-minded peo­ple to sur­round your­self with. And hav­ing a great ac­coun­tant can do won­ders.

Are there any other lo­cal fe­male en­trepreneurs you ad­mire?

Def­i­nitely my two good friends Kris­tine Crabb and Da­maris Coul­ter. Kris­tine is the de­signer and owner of Miss Crabb. She has been an in­spi­ra­tion since Cu­ri­onoir first started. And be­fore that, Da­maris [co-owner of Auck­land restau­rant Coco’s Cantina], who is launch­ing The Real­ness, a web­site ded­i­cated to owner-op­er­ated restau­rants and cafes around the world. She is a force, with the most amaz­ing ideas!

You’ve re­cently been to Lon­don with your prod­ucts. Where to next for the com­pany?

We launch with The Con­ran Shop in the UK and Paris this month and other re­tail­ers in Europe, the US and Canada in the com­ing weeks. We have many plans • for 2019 and 2020 so watch this space!

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