Who: Bee Shapiro, founder of Ellis Brooklyn, a vegan and eco friendly collection based in Brooklyn, New York. Bee is also a New York Times beauty columnist, so knows what she’s talking about regarding scent.
Around the birth of her first daughter Ellis, Bee decided to launch a fragrance and body care collection that avoided the silicones, phthalates and parabens found in product (worth noting here that the laws in the US are less strict about what you can use than the European laws). Her collection of minimalist and modern scents are hugely wearable and have that New York, cool girl vibe about them, unfussy, chic and with great taste. We’re big fans.
Today I’m wearing Ellis Brooklyn MYTH layered with Ellis Brooklyn ISO GAMMA SUPER. It makes me feel like me! There is something so comforting and soothing and familiar, yet gorgeous about this cocktail. MYTH is this warm, skin scent with musk and jasmine and white cedarwood. It lingers close to the skin. ISO GAMMA SUPER is a molecule scent, which means it adapts to the wearer’s skin and chemistry.
It’s a woody note but also rings true and transparent instead of muddied. I also love that ISO GAMMA SUPER is completely renewable and made with green chemistry.
MYTH was the first scent I created for Ellis Brooklyn. It was the scent I dreamed about for years before I started the company. I wanted a musk that read sexy but in a very modern way. I think sometimes in perfumery you have a lot of men working with a lot of other men on how a women should smell like. This was a different take on “sexy.” The sense of skin is undeniably there but it doesn’t scream at you. I worked very closely with the master perfumer Jerome Epinette on this scent and in the end, he got it in one single try, which is almost unheard of in the fragrance world.
I always consider my body care and haircare as part of my overall signature scent for the day. I might also mix things up according to mood. I think all these layers and rituals we have throughout the day end up contributing to what is truly a “signature” scent. After I finish with these skincare, bodycare, and haircare parts of my regimen, I think of my eau de parfums as the accent on top—what I want to show to myself or the world.
I mist all over and then I also do my wrists and back of my neck. If I’m going on a date, then also my collarbone and maybe even behind my shoulders. Those are the places, particularly that I’d want a lover to smell.
Scent is an identity and home scent is very tied to all of who we are. So when I have guests or even if it’s just with my family, I want a vibe that reads fresh and welcoming. I also love the idea of changing scent between day and night. It sets the mood.
I definitely used fragrance during lockdown to help my emotional health. I found myself reaching for our WEST eau de parfum in the mornings during lockdown. It’s a bold citrus scent with blood orange and basil and ginger. There’s a zingy quality that cheered up my mornings when I needed it the most. Also, I developed our BEE eau de parfum during the pandemic. There’s no floral in it at all. Instead, it’s this boozy, honey, delicious concoction that’s laced with the addictive qualities of bran absolute (think freshly baked bread), cocoa absolute, sandalwood, and vanilla. I call it a fragrance for falling in self-love because it’s the kind of fragrance you can’t stop smelling yourself.
At the beginning of lockdown, I certainly panicked about the business. The New York City area was particularly hit hard last March and April. Those were scary and dark times. But we managed to pivot quickly and change our communications to online. We learned to tell stories about scent and why our sense of smell is so important for our health and well-being. And I’m thrilled to say that we ended up thriving during covid, though I like to say, not for lack of effort!
Because fragrance is so personal, we think about all the other aspects that fragrance touches. How does it make you feel? What clothes are you wearing with a specific scent? Are you looking for an escape and if so, how is that illustrated with one of our scents. We definitely talk about our notes but we also started talking about all the other parts that inform who we are and the scents we enjoy.
There are so many unusual and weird scents I like. I love the weird plasticky smell of the candy Swedish Fish. I also love the smell of new tennis balls. I grew up playing tennis and the strange smell holds such nostalgia for me.