Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"This Is The Moment To Do It" - Madalina Stoica On The Fairy Tale Beginnings Of Jul Et Mad


The story behind the creation of Jul Et Mad has 'PR gold' written all over it in letters so shiny, it's difficult to stop the cynic in you from questioning its truthfulness. But on the grounds that fact is stranger than fiction, it must be completely genuine. Its decisive moment took place when co-founder Madalina Stoica took a trip to... where else... Paris.

"One evening," she says, "I was just sitting at St Germain, for dinner, alone. And I saw this gorgeous guy on the sidewalk. And I thought, 'Oh, he's quite cute.' And he saw me too. So he decided to take a closer look. So he crossed the street. He thought he'd already reached the sidewalk, but he hadn't, so he kind of stumbled. And then he walked away. About an hour later, I finished my dinner, and I got up to pay and leave, and then all of a sudden, I saw a guy coming from the other direction, and I thought, 'That's the same guy. That's weird.' So I crossed the street to go towards my hotel, which was very nearby, and he was right in front of me, and he kept walking and turning back, and walking and turning. And I don't know what got into me... I didn't speak a word of French at the time, but I knew how to say 'Wait', so I just said, 'Attend,' and I stopped him. And we started talking... and we kept talking until 6 o'clock in the morning. He spoke English, by the way! It was so unexpected. It was meant to be. And we got married about 9 months later."

That encounter has now been translated into one of three perfumes which Stoica and her now-husband, Julien Blanchard, have released under their eponymous brand.

"Jul Et Mad is our love story, transposed into our fragrances," she explains. "Every single fragrance represents a specific moment in our personal love story. The first one, Stilettos On Lex, is about me, before meeting Julien, while I was living in New York City. It's a woman walking down Lexington Avenue in high stilettos and she's really aware that there are people looking. Heads turn. Hearts get broken. And as she goes away, the sound of her stilettos fades away, and she leaves behind this beautiful sillage of her perfume."

It was during her time in New York that Stoica had several opportunities to develop her love of fragrance.

"I'd always liked perfume. I was fascinated by it. I never got to have any, because for us, it was so unattainable, apart from local Romanian brands. I grew up under communism, so we didn't have access to perfume. 

"In New York, I went to the Fashion Institute Of Technology. I specialised in cosmetics and fragrances marketing. And to pay for my studies, I always worked in cosmetics and fragrances. I also have a make-up artist's licence. I'm a professional make-up artist, although I've never done the job. With that, I got to my first job, which was at Macy's, with Clarins. I freelanced and sold fragrances for Barney's and Bergdorfs, and I realised that I enjoyed it. And I needed to do internships during my studies, so I got involved with a small distribution company. They brought Annick Goutal for the first time to the US and Histoires De Parfums. So I got to see the distribution point of view and I really enjoyed it. And I always knew that one day, I'd have my own perfume brand."

After her fortuitous meeting with Blanchard, Stoica moved to Paris.

"I started working for L'Artisan Parfumeur, because I already knew the brand and I really loved it. They were still quite small at the time. I worked with them for almost 3 years. I'd open a boutique, recruit an entire team, train them, make it work, and then move on to another opening. Then I got recruited by Dior as the Operational Marketing Manager for skin care and cosmetics for Europe and the Americas. I didn't like it, so then I moved on to Marketing Manager For Fragrances for Asia and Pacific. I was always on a plane. I knew I wouldn't stay too long in that position because it was too much, I was away from Julien, and it got very tiring. So I decided to quit Dior. And then one day I woke up and I said, 'Julien, this is the moment to do it, to make our own brand. If I don't do it now, I'll never do it.'

"To make the perfumes we went to Robertet because of the naturals they use. They distil the most beautiful qualities. They really support small brands. On a human level, they're very nice, very open. At the beginning, we wanted a different perfumer for every single scent, because I was afraid that they would be too similar if we used only one perfumer. There was no written brief. We said, 'This is us. These are our stories. Have fun. There is no limit on raw materials or budget.' They don't get to do that too often, so they were excited. There were three perfumers working on our project. And then we got to choose which of the bases we liked best. And without knowing - it was a blind test - all three we chose were Dorothée Piot's."

Stoica reveals that although her brand's next scent won't be made by Robertet, it will still be created by a woman. "She's very young, she's very talented and she's really great."

Finally, she says she's enjoyed meeting the other players on the niche scene. "Oh, they're all fabulous. They shared their difficulties with us. If they'd made a mistake somewhere, they told us, to help us avoid making the same mistake or going in a wrong direction. We now have many friends in the perfume community, like Stephane Humbert-Lucas, François Hénin, Celine from Olfactive Studios, Andy Tauer. It's always such a pleasure to talk to them." 

[The three scents currently in the Jul Et Mad range are Terrasse À St Germain, Stilettos On Lex and Amour De Palazzo; all three are sold in extrait concentration.]

Persolaise

13 comments:

  1. Its all well and good to have unlimited funds to create perfume, but I thought at least they'd be part of the creation process itself! Getting less and less impressed the more I know.

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    1. Perfume Veil, thanks for your comment. Naturally, I can't speak for Stoica, but I suspect she wasn't any less involved than most other Creative Directors. She probably went through the usual process of smelling various mods, asking for tweaks etc. And the final approval would have come from her and her husband.

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    2. I feel disdain for this couple, partly because I am jealous and partly because they are just as so many celebrities out there, paying and sniffing, not creating.

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    3. Perfume Veil, just for the record, I suspect they're much more involved with the process than most celebrities are.

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  2. It is such a perfect story that I felt had to seek out her image to see if she really might be the kind of woman who could break hearts on Lexington Avenue and be a love at first sight sort of person - and I am pleased to say she is and they look like a really lovely couple! Now I feel I need to smell the work. The history of perfume is full of the stories of great fragrances inspired by love - I wonder if these will live up to the hype?

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    1. The guy's attractive. I am put off by the self-centered nature of the woman's story of the stilettos.

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    2. Bee, the perfumes are very rich and very Robertet. They certainly don't re-invent the wheel, but they're not without their charms.

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  3. I sampled all three fragrances and they are all quite lovely. Very high quality materials and 24 hour longevity. My favorite is Amour the Palazzo, a beautiful smokey, leathery amber. Stilettos on Lex reminded me of vintage YSL Paris, it has a lovely rose note. Claudia

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    1. Claudia, yes, I think ADP is probably my favourite too. I'd agree that all three are very well done, but none of them would cause me to scrimp and save for a full bottle.

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  4. Not at €230 a bottle. They are very nicely done but not wildly original. They offer a small purse spray when you buy a full bottle. Wish they would sell these separately, then I would have bought ADP.

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    1. Anon, I do agree that they're pricey and that they don't re-invent the wheel. They probably appeal to a certain, 'luxury' market.

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  5. The overall offer really stands out among everything else out there (50ml + Travel Spray 7ml). Definetely worth the 230€, which is quite rare for an extrait concentration.

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    1. Anon, yes, the price point is certainly competitive, compared to other extraits.

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