Meet The Mother-Son Duo Behind Sustainable Fragrance House Ormaie

3 min read
The mother-son duo that founded fragrance house Ormaie

One waft of an Ormaie fragrance is all it takes to be a fan for life. MOJEH sits down with founders (and family members) Marie-Lise Jonak and Baptiste Bouygues, to get the skinny on the secrets behind their thought-provoking scents

The fragrance universe is vast, awash with every scent and celebrity collab you can imagine. Few can proclaim their scents are made of entirely natural ingredients, and are cruelty-free and vegan. Ormaie fragrances are not only all of the above but can also declare their bottles are made using renewable energy, with the hand-polished wooden bottle caps sculpted in beechwood from responsibly managed forests. “We went with a different approach. Baptiste and I were not making natural fragrances because it is a trend, but because we wanted to have something exceptional – Baptiste having a passion for art and myself having made my career in houses of fragrance composition. I know by heart the different raw materials and especially the naturals,” says Marie-Lise Jonak, one half of Ormaie’s founding duo, who also happen to be mother and son.

An homage to men’s perfume, Le Passant features top notes of lavender and bergamot with base notes of tonka and vanilla

Much like their fragrances, working together comes completely naturally to the pair. “What’s great when you develop fragrances with your mother is that you share the same olfactive memory. When we develop a fragrance together, I can tell my mother about scents I remember about a place or a person and the chances are she will also remember it. I can tell her about the woods in my grandfather’s atelier and she will know exactly what I am talking about,” explains Baptiste Bouygues.

Ormaie is a family-owned House, where traditional craftsmanship and values are alive and thriving today. “In French bon and beau are very close words for ‘good’ and ‘beautiful’. If we wanted to make something beautiful, it had to be good. That is why it was clear for us that every step of what we did had to be ethical, environmentally and socially. On top of that, we are a family, a real Maison, and in a Maison you need to protect the people you work with,” states Jonak.

Ormaie describes Toï Toï Toï as a fragrance that “evokes the polished wooden boards of the stage and the dancer’s waxed ballet shoes,” in honour of the name’s origins – a German expression used to wish dancers luck before the show.

The level of detail that goes into perfecting these perfumes is awe-inspiring, with the two founders creating scents from their history, travels around the world and personal memories. “The best part about my job is when someone smells one of our fragrances and they are truly moved. When they are taken back to a moment, a place, or reminded of someone. That is why we do what we do,” says Bouygues, with Jonak adding, “Wearing a fragrance is comforting. If people are intrigued by our perfumes, it’s because they often evoke memories of places or people you love or have loved. They can be a smell of somewhere on the planet, a lingering moment in a kitchen, an evening, a person or perhaps the smell of the soil after a heavy rain.”

Ormaie creates sustainable fragrances with natural ingredients

Each bottle features hand-polished, sustainably sourced wooden bottle caps to seal in the equally sustainable concoction.

Ormaie is sold across the world in only the best boutiques and is now in the Middle East online at Ounass, both in-store and online at Bloomingdale’s, and soon in Saudi Arabia. Excited about their expansion, Jonak adds, “We believe there is a real culture of fragrances in the Middle East. People have a deep know-how of scents, it is a real part of the culture. We believe that is what they will enjoy, the exceptional raw materials and the poetry behind the fragrances.”

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