Who: Romy Kowalewski, founder and creative director of the contemporary, Barcelona-based fragrance brand 27 87. Romy was born in Berlin on a 27th in 1987, hence the name of her perfume brand 27 87. She told us this personal connection helps her demonstrate transparency in her fragrance creation process and highlights the intimate connections involved in creating perfume.
It was when she moved to Barcelona to study business administration that she discovered the world behind fragrance creation. She developed a passion for perfumes, enjoying the endless creative opportunities and the emotional aspect surrounding the craft. She trained her nose in the different cities she visited in Europe and studied the industry before deciding to take the plunge and create her own brand.
We love Romy’s energy and individual point of view, she wants to create fragrances that are relevant for her generation. As she told us when we met her ‘I don’t want a fragrance that smells of some perfumer’s memory of his grandmother, what relevance is that to me?’ She’s got a very good point. Instead she creates scents for the here and now, grounded in the moment, we caught up with her to talk about her new, yet to be released fragrance.
Today I am wearing a new creation to be launched this summer 2021. I have been working on this perfume with Mark Buxton for the last few months. Mark is one of the most talented perfumers I had the chance of getting to know. He proposes perfumes with an astonishing modernity and his style is rich and full of contrasts. He fuses a hint of contemporary dandy with an offbeat energy that casts off luxury notes with impertinence. I am extremely excited to launch it.
It is a dizzyingly present, visionary and a tad melancholic scent, which makes me feel grounded, allowing me to live in the now and enjoy the exoticism of everyday moments. Without saying too much, it is understated and encapsulates both warm and rich floral notes with a green, faintly bitter boozy note. For me, it is highly addictive and due to its contrasts, it is also mysterious.
The idea and inspiration for this new fragrance came during the first Covid lockdown here in Barcelona. It was the strictest lockdown one could imagine, as we were not allowed to leave the house during three seemingly eternal months. The only “freedom” we had was to go to the supermarket for absolute essentials or to walk the dog many times a day, if you had one. Any social or physical activity was reduced to almost nothing and I felt there was an urgent need for the freedom of basic necessities, such as taking a walk outside and wandering through the streets with no destination, time-limit or plan.
Appreciating details and living in the moment and looking for the spectacular in the commonly obvious is exactly what I feel we have lost over this time, but it is so worth living for. It transpired I had discovered a traditional fragrance concept that fits perfectly to our current time, but it needed a little reinterpretation. As my perfumes are inspired by the here and now, because there is no scent like the present, I felt this mindset needed an olfactive interpretation.
Fragrance follows me everyday in everything I do. I suppose it is obvious as I have a fragrance brand as well as an olfactive marketing agency and all my friends know me as the perfume girl. I love what I do and hence I see and feel the world very much through my nose. I also would not want to have it any other way.
My scenting rituals are fairly simple, every morning before I leave for the office I choose my scent of the day depending on how I am feeling and what I have on my agenda. At noon I might have another dose before I head out for lunch or a meeting. I always have travel sized perfumes in all of my handbags, I feel incomplete without wearing perfume, so I make sure to always have some with me wherever I go.
The sense and the power of smell is still very much underestimated in the world of marketing, hence I created an olfactive marketing agency where I give a scent identity to brands and specific spaces that creates a long-lasting bond between these brands and their customers. In my private life I also take great care in “representing” my home and my personality and I have a special collection of scents that I use to fragrance my house, depending on what event or occasion I am hosting.
My lockdown fragrance was Wandervogel. I just needed the mint, the freshness and the energetic vibe to help my mindset bring me into the “good mood” that I was lacking on many days. Wandervogel is my “good mood” scent and it definitely helped me wander in my thoughts to far-away places and gave me a certain tranquillity that one day soon life will turn back to normal and travel and freedom would be possible again. I even made a whole story on Instagram about it.
Business has been different, challenging and exciting during lockdown, to sum it up in a nutshell. Different, because I usually travel all year round and am always on the go. It took me some time to adapt to being in my house all the time, working from home, eating at home. Challenging, as there is of course fear of what will happen and how things will progress in the world and in my business. Exciting, as I have created an even stronger bond on a more personal level with the people I work with, such as my suppliers or distributors. Covid had an impact on all of us and I feel like it has shown the vulnerable side of people, which can make relationships so much more personal, going through it all together.
I believe an online perfume sales experience can never be the same as smelling the scent, touching the bottle, appreciating the detail in every bit that goes into a product and of course trying it on skin and experiencing the developments of the different notes. The beauty of perfume is that it is such an intimate and abstract moment, which I think is best appreciated on a personal level. However, we have a discovery kit, with which you can try all our scents at home.
I love the smell of gasoline, it is addictive to me. And perhaps a little weird, but the smell of roasted onions with garlic makes me happy – and HUNGRY.
Find the 27 87 collection here