• 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.


  • jewellery Ole Lynggaard

    caftan dress Sidenkompaniet

    stockings Swedish Stockings

    shoes Anny Nord

    photography Peter Gehrke

    fashion Jahwanna Berglund

    Fragments: An Interview with Alicia Agneson

    Written by Natalia Muntean by Filippa Finn

    People keep saying I was brave, but I think I was just precocious,” says Alicia Agneson. Her story is one of determination and courage. Growing up on a farm in Eskilstuna, Agneson was always passionate about the stage - and as a child, she remembers seeing her dance teachers more than her parents at one point. They were the ones who inspired her to seek a more international career. At just fifteen years old, she moved to London to pursue her acting dreams and chase after bigger stages. It was not an easy path for her, but she never gave up. Her breakthrough role came several years later when she played Freydis, a queen in the hit TV show Vikings. Since then, she has starred in various TV and film projects, such as Little Kingdom, Clark, and The Courier, venturing into different genres and subjects.

    Beyond her acting career, Agneson is deeply committed to making a difference. She actively works with Hope for Justice, an organisation that fights human trafficking and assists victims of modern slavery. She also wears another hat as Breitling's Scandinavian Ambassador, bringing her passion for storytelling and dedication to the brand. Whether on screen or off, Agneson continues to inspire.

    I believe that I always keep something from all the characters I play, locked away somewhere,” she reflects on the characters she has portrayed and the projects she has been involved in. While her recent focus has been more on acting in front of the camera, Agneson thinks that she will go back to her first love - the stage. As she playfully says, “they’ll have to drag me off it!”

    Natalia Muntean: What inspired you to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?
    Alicia Agneson: I think it wasn't that much of a choice. I was just drawn towards that like there was nothing else. And I started doing ballet when I was three, and then I think my parents kind of tried to stop me from going into it so much. By the age of nine, I was probably taking as many dance, singing and stage lessons as I could. Then I started doing musical theatre, moved to London, got into TV and film and onwards.

    NM: You moved to London when you were 15. How do you think this experience changed your path?
    AA: At that point, I'd done a lot of shows already across Sweden, so I was already working, which was probably quite unusual for a lot of people my age. I think I would be in a completely different place if I wouldn't have done that. In this industry, it's very much learning by doing, at least that’s how I developed. And it can take a while, you have to work. So for me, it's the greatest gift I've ever been given, first of all, to get the allowance to move away so young, and start working so early. But there were, of course, challenges. I think, in my head, I was very driven and I didn't understand that I was that young. Moving to London was a big change for me, as I had to adjust to a different way of life. My parents drove me all the way to London, and I'll never forget taking the tube to Piccadilly Circus, coming up and seeing the lights, the West End and Shaftesbury Avenue. I remember standing there and feeling more than ever that I was in the right place!

    NM: Was there a specific moment when you realised “Oh, I want to be an actress?”
    AA: I always wanted to be in musical theatre, I had always loved it and that is what I worked towards. When I came to London, I got the opportunity to perform in a show called Cinderella where I played the lead role. I became very close to a fellow cast member who suggested that I should try my hand at TV and film. I thought it sounded like fun and decided to give it a go. I started doing more TV and film work, including commercials, with my agent at the time. However, I quickly realised that acting on the screen was very different from what I was used to. It was a more introverted style of acting, with a greater focus on emotions and drama. I found this fascinating and decided to pursue TV and film further. When I approached my musical theatre agent about my interest in TV and film, they said I had no experience or education in that area and they could not help me. It wasn’t that long ago, but back then we used to post our CVs, so I sent letters to every agent in London and one out of a hundred, probably, picked me up. I was still very young at that point, probably 18 when he started sending me to castings. After a couple of months, I signed Vikings.

    NM: What was it like being part of such a popular show?
    AA: We had an amazing time on the set of Vikings. It was an incredible journey for me, as I started with a very small role and had no prior experience in TV and film. I wasn't supposed to come back, but the writer felt that I had amazing chemistry with my screen partner and wanted to bring me back as a queen. It was a surprise, but I was excited to learn and grow. On my first day on set, I had to learn basic industry terms by doing. It was a challenging but fun experience from the first day until the last. I was very shocked when they called me and told me that they wanted to make me queen. I think many people often overlook the fact that I was still very young at the time, even if I had been working incredibly hard for many years in London, trying to get that one chance. I remember calling my father because Vikings was a show we loved watching together back then, and it felt surreal to tell him.

    NM: Do you prepare differently for when you’re on stage and when you’re in front of the camera because you mentioned the difference in acting?
    AA: Massively! Doing stage, first of all, you and your ensemble will do lots of rehearsals together. Usually, you would do rehearsals for months, up to six months. And on stage, you act throughout what you're doing, what you're saying, what you're singing, your dance moves. In comparison, acting in front of the camera is completely different. And often in the productions that I've been in, I don't meet my co-stars until the day I'm on set and that can be impactful, as you act differently in regards to who you act with. So it's a whole different process, especially doing the character work. In the recent Netflix series I was part of, Clark, I portrayed a woman who's still alive. So obviously, this required me to learn the appropriate accent, movement, and behaviour of people from that era. It's a whole different mindset. So that's sort of just me being isolated for weeks somewhere, preparing for the role. I always feel a responsibility towards the characters I portray, whether they are real or not. It's important to me to do justice to their story and struggles by portraying them in the most realistic way possible.

    NM: How do you choose the characters you're going to portray?
    AA: I wouldn't say that I have a definite preference when it comes to acting roles. It usually depends on my current mindset. I work very closely with my agent who helps me select interesting roles to audition for. I used to play a lot of queens and princesses, but now I'm exploring more complex and darker characters. It's really fun to play characters that are completely different from what you're used to. I'm starting my next feature film in just two months, which is a romantic comedy - a genre that I have never worked in before. That's the exciting part of my job - getting to explore new characters and genres.

    NM: Is there something that you learnt about yourself with each role?
    AA: For sure! I believe that subconsciously, you tend to pick up things about yourself, even if you try not to. You may make comparisons or memories may pop up or situations that you've been in before, and that's how you learn things about yourself that you didn't remember or didn't know. So I think with each character, you always learn something about yourself and keep something from all the characters you play, locked away somewhere. For instance, in Vikings, I had many scenes where I was pregnant and lost my child. I had to scream and cry to get over the loss, and that stayed with me for a while. I think your brain is aware that what you're doing is not real, but you are pushing your body to extreme emotional boundaries. I believe every project I've been a part of has had an impact on me. Different characters in different projects have also challenged me to find different aspects of myself.

    NM: How do you prepare for such intense scenes? And then how do you unwind and separate yourself?
    AA: I like to prepare myself by researching and learning about the historical context of the character I'm playing. For instance, if I were playing a woman from the Viking era, I would try to find out what it was like for a woman to give birth during that time. Did she have any support? Would she be at home, or would she be out and about up until the due date? This helps me get into character and understand the challenges my character might have faced. One of the most emotionally challenging roles I have played was in a feature film called Little Kingdom. I portrayed a woman who lived during the Second World War and lost many children due to stillbirth. It was tough emotionally, but I spoke to many elderly women, including my grandmother, to learn about what it was like to give birth during that period. It was devastating to hear their stories about the lack of medication and support during childbirth. However, this research helped me build my character, and I was able to bring her to life on the screen. During the filming of Little Kingdom, I cried nonstop for three months. It was emotionally draining, and it took me a long time to come out of that headspace. But I felt grateful to be a part of telling these untold stories of women and bringing these characters to life. It was a humbling experience, and it gave me a greater appreciation for the challenges that women faced during that period.

    NM: Sounds like a privilege and a responsibility to bring those stories onto the screen! Do you have any tricks that help you snap out of character and become Alicia again?
    AA: When I step into my dressing room, I take off my character’s clothes and do a little ritual. I hang her clothes and take off my wig and my makeup, so I have a completely clean slate. Then I put on my clothes, rings and other things that make me me. I try not to overthink and bring it home with me. But that’s easier said than done.

    NM: Was there any moment in your career up until now when you felt you made it?
    AA: I would say it was when I was part of the cast of Vikings, which was a really big show. I remember feeling like things had changed when someone recognised me on the street and said, “Oh my God, you're Alicia Agneson!” It was a new experience for me to have fans, extras, and crew wanting to take pictures with me on set. Another big change was when I started travelling abroad and being recognised in a different country. It was surreal to realise that people from a completely different part of the world knew who I was. This all happened quite early on in my career, so it was a big deal for me. It’s a strange experience, but also really cool.

    NM: What do you do when you’re not acting?
    AA: I've always been a farm girl at heart, and I quite enjoy being on my own with my family on my farm. That's where I'm happy and where I thrive. I try to be at the farm as much as possible. I love building, driving my tractor, planting and growing herbs and carrots. I love farming. So I try to do that as much as possible because I need the contrast between farm life and London.

    NM: But if you weren't an actress what what do you think you would have become?
    AA: I would be digging bones somewhere out in the desert and doing archaeology. I love history, treasures, and adventures, I love nature in general. And I like being alone. So I think I would be out there somewhere with a little brush, finding old birds and bones.

    NM: What advice would you give to younger people trying to make a career in this area?
    AA: I think first of all, I don't have a plan B. Once you have a plan B you've accepted that plan A won't work. And in this industry, you have to love it, you have to want to put in the work! You have to be mentally strong to handle the rejections. There are very few jobs in the world where you can face thousands of rejections, a normal thing in our industry, and still believe that you are meant for it. Loving it and wanting to work for it makes it all or nothing!

    NM: Looking ahead, what do you hope for yourself? The actress and Alicia, the person?
    AA: Acting-wise, I'm looking forward to a challenge, there's so much this year that I'm so excited to explore. Something to really sink my teeth into. And for myself… I'm very happy. I'm just very content right now, and I hope that I'll be able to stay that way for a little while.

    dress Zamina Scillasdotter

    caftan dress Sidenkompaniet

    jewellery Ole Lynggaard

    dress Michael Kors Collection

    body worn underneath Understatement

    jewellery Hermès

    total look Loewe

    dress Sofia Ericson

    heels Cristian Louboutin

    necklace Rare Jewelry - Nymans Ur

    watch Breitling Chronomat Victoria Beckham

    total look Loewe

    dress Zamina Scillasdotter

    jewellery LWL jewelry

    belt Hermès

    dress Max Mara

    necklace & earrings VANBRUUN

    bracelet Tiffany & CO

    watch Breitling

    dress Zamina Scillasdotter

    jewellery LWL jewelry

    cape Zamina Scillasdotter

    shirt & shoes Christian Dior

    skirt Ahlvar Gallery

    jewellery LWL jewelry

    photography Peter Gehrke / LUNDLUND

    fashion Jahwanna Berglund

    makeup Jessica De La Torre

    hair Martin Sundqvist

    photography assistants Malva Hellman & Mattias Sätterström

    special thanks to Gray Studios, Thomas Hägg PR & Millesgården