essence de savoir-faire

Interview with

Founder and Creative Director

Chiara Ronzani

Where are you from?

I grew up in Veneto Region, up to Lusiana a little village in the Altopiano di Asiago, a unique territory in the north-est of Italy. It’s an incredible land, very particular and creative thanks to its landscape conformation. There are beautiful mountains, the dolomites, important rivers such as Brenta, the first connection with Venice and the commercial deals to the world since Marco Polo. Lakes, hills, beautiful fields...and not only, Veneto is a land rich in architecture with Palladio, art with Canova, Tintoretto, and many mores. Rich of savoir-faire, ateliers, craftsmanship (glass, tailors, shoe, ceramics, and many more crafts). It’s also a very industrial territory, the history of this region is very complex, deep and contradicting sometimes. The result of all this influenced me, experiencing an eclectic dynamism , from one side the beauty of art, of the landscapes, the creativity of people, from the other the modern industrial depression impacting the beauty of this territory. I lived abroad many years within Uk, Germany, Belgium and France where I’ve matured an international experience. I love Paris, where I had the change to live for 5 years. France has anyway been in my life since the age of 11 as I often traveled and stayed for long summer holidays to my aunt. I appreciate this country and mostly the culture to support art and craft, to take everything to excellence. Italy savoir-faire and creativity together with french “excellency” influenced a lot my life and my way of thinking and seeing things.

Has scent played a large role in your life?

I have a very delicate nose myself, so good or bad smells can influence my memories and a person or place’s experience. I think a smell is somehow giving an identity to the person or thing. It’s a indelible signature. It’s the sense that let you breathe deeply or suffocate.

Where do you believe creativity springs from?

Creativity is very personal, rooted in every individual’s expression. Creativity is in each one of us, in some people it sleeps in others it comes out easily and strongly. I think the key to open into creativity is to let our eyes see as we would be kids, to look further than the walls we build ourselves each day, and mostly I believe creativity comes out strongly when we get bored, when we leave that little space to nothing. This nothing could evolve in something great, that makes us happier, because somehow we share part of our soul to the others.

Creativity is love shared.

Tell us about the brand and how it came to be?

EXTRAIT D’ATELIER® ‘s idea came in April 2014 when I’ve enter a Fragrance Laboratory. I’ve been enchanted on how chemistry, mathematics, nature, all together combined in almost a misty way could transfer emotions, could translate stories into olfactory romances...That day I decided I would have used the scents to witness an important story. The story of craftsmanship. To elevate this world into a luxury lifestyle, into an opportunity for the future. A strong message to pass to others. Instead of using a pen and paper, I’ve used the alchemy of perfumes and the power it has on the memory. To connect people to the alchemy of savoir-faire, to let then read this incredible stories on their skins while walking at work, while meeting friends, while driving.

Did you come across any difficulties creating the brand?

Well yes, many difficulties, the first one translate the story into scents. It was not easy at the beginning, with the perfumer we worked on different tests. The key success factor came only by sitting in the ateliers one entire day, smelling, breathing, listening to the noises...I wanted to be as much realistic as possible, though remaining romantic into the olfactory journey. Creating a Brand is putting a new face in the market and this is not at all easy. Gain credibility is tough, people are overloaded with so many things and get tired immediately. It’s difficult to transmit and mostly engage today. However I strongly believe it is time to take the TIME, to slow down, to see more than watch, to experience, more than just live. EXTRAIT D’ATELIER® aims to do so through extraordinary scents.

What steps goes into creating a perfume brand?

There are many steps and complexity. The first has to be a clear vision, what the brand stands for now and for the future, what are the core values that will drive it and what do we aim to transmit with it. I believe as entrepreneurs we have the responsibility to drive a concept that impact the future, for what I believe could be good, could be sustainable and people focused. The next step is to identify which is the image of the Brand, this is key for me as it represents all the concept and values behind. It’s the grab and buy for the clients as they connect with the brand in terms of look and feel. The product as the key driver, the confirmation of all we are standing for. The link within the vision and the values to be worn by the clients, to get them confirming we are saying the truth and to let them coming back to us as they identify into our world as a whole. And finally the stores, on and off line places where the clients meet the experience and the greater service. Where our image and story is supported. The end shopping experience is key to drive or destroy the message. What I care the most is the stores I am dealing with, the store staff are so important to spread the Brand’s voice. They need to love the concept, embrace it at first to be able to share. It’s all about passion and love, the rest is just product to be sold.

Are there others on your team and how or what is the process of how everything comes together?

I have incredible people around me who empower me in my creativity and entrepreneurial mindset. As a company we are a very small reality. My team is my family first: my daughter, the eyes of a child is the key to see further. She is with me in all decisions and I would say she has a pretty strong point of view. My partner in life and business Paolo Polloniato: we discuss a lot, we are both very passionate about art and craft, he is an incredible artist himself. As a role in the company he helps me in day to day tasks and creative inputs. I’ve also cooperated with external fantastic people: agents, distributors, suppliers...

How does culture affect the creative direction of the brand? 

Culture is key together with the language, I always think the Italian language already contains the key success factor of creativity. It’s a very “singing” language”, sometimes “laud”, full of grammar nuances and dialects...And more Italian culture has an history linked to image and beauty and refinement. All this has an impact and influence companies.

What inspires you?

The Nature in general is my muse first, smells, sounds, silence, beauty...and as almost a consequence of Nature’s Beauty, Art&Craft, Masters in their ateliers customizing row materials and shaping beautiful artworks. Human’s expression: the vision, translated in idea; the passion guided by the heart, the savoir-faire expressed by the hands. A world of alchemy, magic, timeless beauty.

How may we find EXTRAIT D’ATELIER and the scents?

We are currently present in 6 countries across Europe, represented by niche perfumery, concept and dept’ stores. In UK we are in Harvey Nichols.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thanks you really Joshua for the interview, I appreciate from the bottom of my heart people that search to understand more about this great and unique story. I love to work with passionate humans that focus first on values and want to share them to the world. To connect people to the beauty of art&craft through the essence of savoir-faire, unique scents to be worn, the identity on identities. We are the first fragrance house that stands for a cause, a Manifesto. We take this story as the greatest book that stands, witness the luxury of savoir-faire, the opportunity for a greater future focused on people and creative human’s expression, focused on things done with LOVE, focused on the preciousness of TIME and QUALITY as a whole, focused on unique experiences, our interpretation of Luxury today and mostly tomorrow.