In The Hothouse with Tonya Kidd-Beggs
As spring dawns and the bulbs bloom, STORIES Parfums creator Tonya Kidd-Beggs joins us to discuss transporting our minds on a journey through scent and the most inspiring women in her life for this International Women’s Day.
Tonya talks about the key role flowers play in her creative process and the importance of being surrounded by strong women.
Photography by Johnny Frazer and Julian Ward
Do you have a favourite flower and why?
White Hyacinths – They are beautiful to look at but they have a lovely note of green floral with a combination of sweet and spice.
What do flowers mean to you?
Flowers are always part of my home – fresh and dried. When I buy new flowers, I usually dry them out and place in vases around the home. Flowers stir us and move us in an instant, they are mood boosting and uplifting. They are an important part of my life.
“Flowers always impact my work. In perfumes I do not like sweet floral but I do like sweet floral in fresh flowers placed around my home. I always remember the certain smells of flowers from my travels.”
How do you like to display flowers around the home? Do you have a favourite vase or place for them?
I have lots of different glass vases in different shapes and sizes. What I tend to do when I buy or receive a large bouquet is divide them into different size vases around the home. When they dry out, I place them in ornate vases in hotter rooms in the house. They always remind me of the time I was given them or who gave them to me. I have flowers displayed still from 3 years ago and lasted with a house move. Every time I look at them, I am reminded of our old home.
Photographs by Tonya Kidd-Beggs
What flowers do you like to send as a gift?
Roses – usually avalanche roses… or dahlias, but then to those who love a heavy scent I send something like Tuberose.
What kind of flowers do you like to receive?
All of the above… I usually send the flowers I love to other people.
“Flowers stir us and move us in an instant, they are mood boosting and uplifting. They are an important part of my life.”
Florals and parfums go way back, how have flowers influenced your work?
Flowers always impact my work. In perfumes I do not like sweet floral but I do like sweet floral in fresh flowers placed around my home. I always remember the certain smells of flowers from my travels. I am always taking in the aroma on my walks and travels and imagining what they would be like in a fragrance.
What are your favourite florals to feature as ingredients in your scents?
When I blend a fragrance, I blind smell notes and it goes from there. I work a lot differently than most perfumers and creative designers – whereas the main focus is not on ingredients/notes but on how does the note make you feel. STORIES Nº.01 has cooling Jasmine and powdery Heliotrope in the refreshing citrus/woody fragrance. STORIES Nº.02 has Bulgarian Rose and patchouli as part of its story – this blend is a classical amber woody fragrance.
Photographs by Johnny Frazer
What exciting things do you have in the pipeline for STORIES Parfums that you’re able to share with us?
This year we will be moving into home fragrance and increasing our line of luxury perfumes and body care. We will continue to introduce exciting new collaborations and continue to grow our unique Scent Discovery Masterclass around the globe where we will empower men and women to connect to fragrance in a slightly different manner than they may have been accustomed to before.
Photograph by Johnny Frazer
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Incredibly important… I am surrounded by strong women in my family and my work life. STORIES started because of my maternal grandmother whom I sadly never met, as she died before I was born. My mum always told me she wore one particular fragrance, and that fragrance which lives in my mind is what connects me to her today. I have memories of playing with her necklaces and some special clothes my mother had kept and I have a vivid memory of her smell because of the connection I had to her favorite perfume. She was an extraordinary businesswoman and broke a lot of glass ceilings for women in Northern Ireland in her time. I want also to empower my twin daughters to be empowered to do the same.
Who will you be celebrating this International Women’s Day? / Which women are you inspired by?
My grandmothers, my mother, my sisters, my aunts, my nieces, my colleagues, and my beautiful daughters. I celebrate them all… I will raise my daughters to be leaders and warriors as I have.
What are your top tips for flowers and home fragrance when entertaining?
I set flowers around the home and on the dining table… in small vases along the centre… such a beautiful setting and you can experiment with different colours and themes. I use my perfumes for spritzing curtains, throws and cushions. I have perfume for my guests in every bathroom – along with hand and body wash and lotion.
All white or colourful flowers?
Neat or wild arrangements?
Pretty, dainty flowers or big, showy blooms?
Three words to describe your style?
Sleek, sexy, casual
What are your favourite pieces from our Spring Collection?
The Brontë – STUNNING
Photographs by Julian Ward