The #PushBEAUTY team are delighted to welcome STORIES by Eliza Grace to the Push family. STORIES is a one-of-a-kind fragrance brand which defies the concept of perfumes as we know it. It’s not about the scent, it’s not about the aesthetic, it’s about connecting you to your subconscious and your memories through a unique blend of aromas. We sat down with founder Tonya Kidd-Beggs to find out more about her story …
The ethos of the brand is to use fragrances to tell your story to the consumer – what is your story?
Every great story is inspired by a strong female lead; mine was my grandmother. She was an extraordinary business woman that really pushed the boundaries of what people expected of her as a woman in her time in Northern Ireland. She paved the way and broke social constructs of what it meant to be a woman. Sadly I never met her, but I was told what her favourite scent was and it’s a memory which I remembr so clearly and really resonated with me.
Scents and fragrances have always been a way for me to connect with who I am; my thoughts, my fears, my passions, my interests – my story. When you think about it, scents are like a time machine, they evoke memories from the moment you spray your fragrance. I wanted to give that same sense of connection to others which is why I decided to start creating fragrances. I wanted to create a scent which would allow people to connect with their past, their present or even dream of their future.
What are the different stories behind the Stories No.01 & Stories No.02 fragrances?
Both fragrances were made in a special moment in my life and represent my ‘evolution’ and ‘growth’ as a person. This is the voyage on which I want to take the consumer.
The No.01 Fragrance – A few years ago, a sharp citrus scent with a slight woody undertone came out of nowhere and reminded me of precious moments with my sons. For days I couldn’t get the scent out of my head; it was as if it had struck a nerve within me. When I went on to become a fragrance designer, I desperately tried to recreate this scent that was haunting me so. THIS was the scent I wanted for my first fragrance. Each blend of spices and aromas brought on different levels of emotions from past memories, good and bad. It was as if I was going through a healing process and each attempt at recreating this scent was a new step. Fragrance No.01 tells the story of pain transformed into beauty; a light at the end of the tunnel.
The No.02 Fragrance – I didn’t have the easiest time growing up, but somehow I always found that scents can lift a happy memory from within; maybe even one which you hadn’t remembered in a while. Whenever I would catch the scent of pipe tobacco, I would be reminded of my grandfather’s garden. Whilst I would be playing in the dirt surrounded by plants, I would look up to see my father and his father both with a cloud of smoke above their heads. This is a memory where I feel safe, where I feel loved. Fragrance No.02 is all about unlocking those happy memories.
Both fragrances complement each other both in terms of scent and stories. They are about taking a journey together through the subconscious.
Why choose to make a perfume which is unisex?
I’ve never been one to believe that there should be separate fragrances for men and women. I think fragrances are somewhat universal, they are inclusive to age, race, sexual orientation, so why be any different about sexes? Fragrances are about emitting an emotion, a memory – this is true for both men and women. I don’t believe there’s a feminine or masculine smell, a lot of women enjoy men’s perfumes and vice versa, therefore I believed making a unisex fragrance was the right choice.
STORIES is very set on being environmentally friendly. Can you tell us more about this and why it’s important to you?
Everything from our packaging to our ingredients has been selected with durability in mind. STORIES isn’t a fragrance that you consumer like a fast-fashion perfume. Every detail of the brand is considered. We want to take our consumers on a journey with us and we want to be there with them through their journeys through time. This is why we use refillable glass fragrance bottles for example. We want to encourage a long-standing relationship with our products; this is the message which is at the core of the brand, this is our and our customer’s value.
Do you have a particular smell that brings back a special memory or person?
I have s many smells that connect me with people and special memories. I constantly describe situations with smell. Leather reminds me of spending time in the tack room with my father in our stables as a young child. Rhubarb, apple and spice from my mother baking. Tomato plants and roses from my grandfather’s garden. I even remember smells from actually wrapping paper at Christmas years ago!
Do you believe that the perfume you choose matches your personality?
I feel that consumers solely base their perfume choice on visuals: “what perfume shares my aesthetic, which is the prettiest bottle, which has nice packaging”, whereas STORIES is different. It’s about finding a fragrance that speaks to your soul. Not many people may know this, but our sense of smell is our strongest sense of all and we don’t realise how often we use it throughout the day. I think a lot of people are simply influenced by celebrity or influencer endorsements nowadays when it comes to fragrances or they buy into a big brand name because they want to buy into that brand’s lifestyle; they want to belong and be a part of the elite.
This is one of the reasons as to why I created STORIES; it encourages you to connect with yourself first and foremost. Yes, the smell of the fragrance will be the same for everyone, but the emotions which derive from it will be vastly different from one person to another.
What is your first ‘scent memory’?
I was around horses from when I was in nappies so I would have to say leather from saddles and reins, sugar beet from the horse feed and dried grass.
The one fragrance you love above all?
If I’m honest, I don’t really have a favourite. There are so many scents and fragrances which I love and emit different emotions for me. If I had to choose a type of fragrance I love the most it would be nice fragrance houses and most definitely an EDP or Parfum. I love wearing fragrances that are different to everyone else. Paris is my favourite place to go to to find them. Certain avenues have store after store of niche fragrances. You can really tell the difference between a high-street perfume and a niche fragrance house – they are more thought out in terms of smell (a perfect balance of simplicity and complex blends of aromas) as well as being longer lasting on the skin.
First fragrance you ever bought?
In my teens it was The Body Shop White Musk, then Gucci Rush and CK One (don’t judge me, it was the 80s / 90s!). My first grown up fragrance was Guerlain Samsara EDP, that was the changing point for the love of a good perfume.
Watch this space! STORIES by Eliza Grace will soon be launching in some exciting locations. More to come!