• Harriet Allure: An Interview with Founders Alex and Freddy

    Written by Jahwanna Berglund

    Alex and Freddy, the creative minds behind Harriet Allure, have shared a remarkable journey that began with a lifelong friendship. This deep connection paved the way for their collaborative venture. Despite pursuing different career paths, they maintained close contact, leading to the inception of Harriet Allure in 2019.

    Their story took a transformative turn when Alex joined an exchange program in Sweden, and Freddy took a job in Berlin. Experiencing new, unfamiliar environments highlighted the importance of creating a sense of home. This shared experience underscored the power of fragrance to evoke comfort and familiarity, inspiring the creation of Harriet Allure.

    From their unique backgrounds and shared experiences, Alex and Freddy have crafted a brand that bridges continents and evokes cherished memories through carefully curated scents and artisanal craftsmanship. Harriet Allure stands out not only for its distinctive, handcrafted candles but also for the rich, cultural stories each fragrance tells, making every candle a journey in itself.

    What inspired you to create Harriet Allure, and how did your personal backgrounds influence you to the start?

    Freddy and I have been friends from birth. Our parents were Friends way before we were alive, so we always had this strong brotherhood bond our whole life. We grew up together and always stayed in contact, even if we both pursued different career paths in life. So the initial spark that later turned into Harriet Allurer was back in 2019, when (me) Alex started an exchange program in Sweden and Freddy accepted a job offer in Berlin as we both pursued to live in a completely new and unknown environment. Feeling at home in a new environment is not always immediate, and scented candles play a crucial role in making each new place feel like home. Especially during the dark winters in Sweden and the heightened indoor hours due to the pandemic, the comforting aroma of a candle became an essential part of our routine. The ritual of settling into a new, possibly empty apartment with a scented candle became a source of comfort and familiarity.

    This experience taught us that ‘home’ is not confined to a single place; it can be embraced in different locations and among different people. The realization of this privilege struck us during a taxi ride in Bali in the summer of 2022. Inspired by the power of fragrances and the way they transport us to distinct places, we understood the deep impact of scents on memory. Specific events, like childhood, the aroma of a market in Accra, Ghana, became powerful memories—a fusion of humidity, tropical vibrancy, earthiness, and bustling market aromas. It was within these shared experiences that Harriet Allure was born, a brand founded on a shared journey

    Can you share some insights into the journey of sourcing and incorporating scents from different cultures into your candle collection?

    Our journey to source and incorporate scents from diverse cultures into our candle collection was both challenging and deeply rewarding. Extensive research was required to find suppliers and production artisans who shared our commitment to sustainability.
    Drawing inspiration from our diverse backgrounds, including German, Ghanaian, Swedish, and European influences, we aimed to create fragrances and shapes that resonate globally. Our primary goal was to develop a distinctive and recognizable shape for our candles, reflecting our brand's ethos of celebrating diversity and individuality. Leveraging our experience in pottery, we were drawn to organic forms for their unique beauty, showcasing the uniqueness of our journey. Simultaneously, we aimed for the jars to be reusable after the candles burned out. To achieve this, we collaborated with artisans in Portugal, known for their expertise in sustainable practices. Clay as a material is sensitive and goes through many steps. Achieving consistency in handmade, organic shapes while ensuring an optimal burning experience required careful consideration of the jar's irregular dimensions and form. Collaborating with sculptors and 3D designers, we explored various shapes until finding one that met both our aesthetic preferences and practical burning requirements. Coordinating closely with candle production, we ensure compatibility between jars and scented candles, scaling up production while maintaining quality. After thorough evaluation, we visited our selected production in Portugal to verify their capabilities firsthand. The 'ah-ha' moment came when we realized that the organic, sculptural shape not only reflected our brand ethos but also allowed for unique, handcrafted pieces that celebrated individuality. While each piece appeared similar at first glance, the subtle differences resulting from the handmade process reinforced our brand essence. This realization motivated us to use recycled clay and collaborate with artisans to bring our vision to life. Collaborating with perfumers in Grasse, France, we refined these cultural scents, blending them with precision to create evocative fragrances that tell stories.

    How does the process of crafting a Harriet Allure candle reflect the brand's ethos of bridging continents and evoking memories?

    The crafting process of a Harriet Allure candle truly embodies our brand's ethos of bridging continents and evoking memories. Drawing from our German and Ghanaian heritage, we infuse each candle with a blend of cultural influences. For instance, our founders, Alex and Freddy, born and raised in Germany with roots in Ghana, imbue their diverse backgrounds into every aspect of our candles. We source recycled clay from Portugal, paying homage to European craftsmanship, while collaborating with perfumers in Grasse, France, to blend fragrances that evoke nostalgic memories. Or use earthy color tones which reflects our heritage Ghana’s nature. This fusion of cultures and craftsmanship results in candles that not only bridge continents but also resonate deeply with individuals, capturing the essence of home and cherished memories.

    What sets Harriet Allure apart from other candle brands in terms of craftsmanship and scent experience?

    Our candles are handcrafted with precision, using recycled clay sourced from Portugal, reflecting our commitment to sustainability and quality. But furthermore the idea with these handmade organic shapes is to display different journeys of each person, meaning every candle comes in slightly different shapes which should indicate how diverse each of us is. Each fragrance is carefully curated to tell a story and evoke memories and emotions. This dedication to craftsmanship and scent composition ensures that every Harriet Allure candle offers a unique experience. Furthermore, by sourcing fragrances from Grasse, we pay homage to the rich heritage of perfume-making and uphold the highest standards of quality and authenticity. The scents we blend in Grasse not only evoke memories and emotions but also transport our customers on a sensory journey around the world. Each fragrance tells a story and contributes to the unique identity of our brand.

    Could you tell us about the significance of Grasse, France, in the production of your candles, and how it contributes to the brand's identity?

    Grasse, France, holds a special significance in the production of our candles at Harriet Allure. Renowned as the perfume capital of the world, Grasse embodies centuries of tradition and expertise in fragrance creation. Our collaboration with perfumers in Grasse allows us to access the finest quality ingredients and unparalleled craftsmanship, ensuring that each scent in our candle collection offers a beautiful experience that reflects our story.

    Grasse's contribution to our candles extends beyond scent; it represents our commitment to excellence and dedication to creating products that enhance everyday experiences. Through our partnership with perfumers in Grasse, we infuse each candle with a touch of luxury and sophistication, inviting our customers to indulge in moments of relaxation and sensory delight.
    By mentioning “Grasse” or “perfumers in Grasse,” we emphasize the level of quality, craftsmanship, and tradition associated with the creation of our unique products.

    With a focus on warmth, home, and travel, how do you ensure that each candle captures the essence of these themes?

    We try to translate the memories or moments we experienced into scents. So all of our scents are inspired by different memories that my business partner and friend Freddy and I have witnessed during our journey together or individually. Working with a perfumer from Grass was a fun experience as we got to translate our memories and feelings into each unique scent. Describing emotions and memories was quite challenging sometimes because we had to go through several scent notes that reflect the particular memories.

    We choose ingredients, such as floral, fruity, or woody notes, that reflect the desired mood or atmosphere. For example, warm and comforting scents like vanilla or amber may evoke feelings of home and nostalgia, while fresh and citrusy notes like bergamot or lemon can convey a sense of energy and vitality. By experimenting with different combinations of notes and adjusting their proportions, the perfumer creates blends that effectively capture the essence of the intended emotion or memory. For example, Ama is the name of Freddy's mother and pays homage to the warmth of home, motherhood, and childhood. It is a scent that should resemble the warmth of home, motherhood, and childhood. So we conveyed our emotions to the perfumer from Grasse, who guided us in trying and mixing sweet and flowery scent notes together which reflect the essence of Ama. This process could take hours, sometimes we would have to take a break to let the created scents marinate on us before coming back to evaluate them.
    We remember presenting the Ama scented candle to several unknown people who were unaware of our brand's values. They shared that the scent evoked feelings of home—a warm embrace, a sense of ease, and safety from their past. This made us happy  as it indicated that our intentions with the “hero” scented candle had resonated with them. Fragrances are highly subjective, so it was nice to see people connect with the message without prior knowledge of our intentions.

    Tartu CandleInspired by the nature of the Estonian city Tartu during our production visit. The scent should resemble calmness and balance.

    Faiyaz - Conveying a feeling rather than a memory. Like with anything in life, in order to achieve dreams, one needs to be determined. Such as stepping outside your comfort zone like our parents did. So we wanted a scent that embodies those attitudes.

    Minuit - Means midnight in French. Midnight usually signifies the unknown, as does a journey that you are about to start. Leaving our comfort zone comes with a lot of uncertainty, but you need to embrace it anyway.

    How do you balance maintaining the uniqueness of each scent while ensuring a cohesive brand identity across your product line?

    Balancing the uniqueness of each scent with maintaining a cohesive brand identity is paramount for Harriet Allure. We thoroughly craft each fragrance to tell a distinct story, drawing inspiration from a variety of memories and emotions. From the comforting warmth of “Ama,” reminiscent of home and motherhood, to the serene tranquility of “Tartu Candle,” inspired by the nature of the Estonian city, each scent embodies its own character and essence.

    To ensure a cohesive brand identity across our product line, we carefully consider the scent profile of each fragrance. While each scent is crafted to evoke specific emotions and memories, we strive for consistency in the overall sensory experience. This means balancing the unique notes and accords of each fragrance with a shared olfactory language that reflects our brand ethos.
    Thereby our perfumers play an important role in this process, expertly blending scent notes to create harmonious compositions that align with our brand's values and aesthetic. Whether it's the rich complexity of “Faiyaz,” conveying determination and ambition, or the mysterious allure of “Minuit,” evoking the excitement of embarking on a new journey, every fragrance is carefully curated to resonate with our customers while contributing to a cohesive brand identity that is Harriet Allure.

    What does the future hold for Harriet Allure, and are there any exciting developments or projects on the horizon?

    In envisioning the future of our brand, we see a continued journey of innovation and growth, driven by our commitment to producing more meaningful products. For now we want to stick to the scented candles and expand our collection a bit with new colors and scents which narrates different stories but keeping our signature organic shape. So for now that is the next step before we introduce a complete new product.

    Our aspiration goes beyond simply creating scented candles; we aim to redefine the perception of what a scented candle represents. Traditionally seen as ordinary, we seek to infuse our candles with a sense of excitement, luxury, and purpose.
    Moreover, our brand evolution extends beyond product development; we aspire to make a significant impact on the fragrance industry as a whole. By challenging conventional norms and pushing for inclusivity, and authenticity, we hope to inspire positive change within the industry.
    Overall our goal is to craft fragrances that transcend time, allowing individuals to revisit treasured memories and create new ones with every scent. But we don't want to reveal too much, stay tuned to follow our journey, we have some cool ideas in the pipeline that we are excited about sharing with you.