From positive quotes, to meditation, yoga, sleeping well and eating better, we want to do it all when it comes to maintaining calm and harmony amidst the chaos of life. But, what if we told you that you could add a perfume to your daily self-care regime that could help balance your energy levels and help you harmonize with your surroundings?
Meet Lola Tillyaeva, the woman behind the fragrance brand, The Harmonist, which aids people in finding their inner harmony through the medium of scent. The brand, which was first established in 2016, is inspired by the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui and the concept of Yin and Yang. The Harmonist has produced 11 fragrances, each made from some of the finest ingredients that nature has to offer, whilst embodying the 5 elements: earth, water, metal, fire and wood. Making purchasing a fragrance to find your personal element couldn’t be easier as The Harmonist’s website can do that for you with just your name, and date, time, and place of birth.
The Harmonist, Harvey Nichols Dubai
Not only does Lola produce exquisite perfumes that can lift your energy and mood, she ensures that her products are consciously produced and packaged in recyclable bottles. It doesn’t come as any surprise that she has a celebrity fan base, including Camila Coelho and Heidi Klum.
More than an entrepreneur, Tillyaeva, who originates from Uzbekistan is her country’s ambassador to UNESCO, and dedicates much of her time to philanthropic causes and we just had to speak to her about her story so far.
Tell us about The Harmonist. Where did it all begin for you and what is your brand philosophy?
Several years ago, I created a perfume for myself as I wanted to find a scent, I felt comfortable with. It was based on notes of white flowers and vanilla musk with ylang ylang at the heart and it was so popular with my friends that I decided to create my own perfume brand which reflects my philosophy of life. I wanted to create something new, something that the fragrance market had not seen before. My idea was to translate the 5 basic elements of nature and how they were connected to our sense of smell and that’s what The Harmonist is all about.
The Harmonist uses the concept of Feng Shui and energies, how does it tie in with fragrance?
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy of bringing your inner self into harmony with the world around you. The idea behind our brand is to breathe a new breath of energy into people looking for harmony, helping them achieve maximum results as they seek to create balance for themselves and others. Each of The Harmonist’s signature scents draws from one of the five Feng Shui elements regarded as building blocks of all-natural phenomena - metal, fire, earth, water and wood. These five elements constitute part and parcel of our everyday life and are present in everything around us. We often think long and hard about what we wear on certain occasions - we want to look right, to fit in, but we want to feel comfortable, too, and send out the right message about who we are. Wearing a fragrance is no different: when we ‘put on’ a particular scent, we are in fact entering the realm of the element it represents. We can say it’s like adding the missing ingredient to your aura, the element you need for harmony. The Harmonist scents were created in collaboration with French perfumer Guillaume Flavigny, who is one of the most celebrated “noses” in the fragrances world.
Perfumes are often described in many ways and come in many forms, and can sometimes be seen as "trendy". What does perfume mean to you?
To me, perfume is that sense of smell that has a powerful effect on our emotions and is intertwined with our moods and memories. A specific smell can plunge us into a flurry of memories from different phases of our life, invoking recollections so powerful and vivid it feels as though we have travelled back in time. The sense of smell can trigger deep responses in your mind, and plays an important role in balancing our inner energies. Perfume, just like your wardrobe choices, can express your personality and provide an important insight into it. When you wear a fragrance that is in harmony with your inner self and surroundings, it can have a dynamic and enabling effect.
What makes The Harmonist unique compared to other perfume brands?
The Harmonist is the first Maison de parfum which offers a fragrance attuned to your personal energy. Calling upon French savoir-faire, The Harmonist offers 11 delicate and exquisite fragrances which were created using the finest natural ingredients from around the world. These sophisticated signature scents reflect the concept of Yin and Yang, the philosophy of balance where two opposing yet complementary and interdependent forces coexist harmoniously. The Harmonist perfumes embody the five elements regarded as building blocks of all natural phenomena - metal, fire, earth, water and wood. By choosing the right fragrance, you add an ingredient to your aura: the energy of the missing element you need for personal harmony.
What inspires you the most when creating a fragrance?
Nature and the world around us are a great source of inspiration for me. Nature replenishes us, we can draw strength and courage from Mother Nature, and, most importantly, we can reconnect to our roots. Nowadays most people spend their lives closed off in cities or concrete jungles and we are losing touch with this vital connection to nature, to our roots. I try to spend as much time as I can outdoors, in the mountains or by the sea, and I like to walk barefoot whenever I can, too, as I find it really helps recharge my energy.
As someone who creates fragrances, what is your favourite smell?
It is very hard to pinpoint my all-time favourite smell, but I love anything infused with ylang ylang. My motto is: look for the pleasant and beautiful in any situation. I’m fond of aromas that are warm and comforting, that give me a sense of well-being and take me back to a moment of harmony or trigger a happy memory. For me, of course, the nicest smells, the ones I treasure most, are the scents that greet me when I come home and hug my children. The smells of our loved ones are usually the ones we hold most dear.
What would you say are the things that people should look out for, or understand about fragrance when they are looking for a scent that makes them feel good, and embodies their personality and style?
Smells and fragrances are very powerful as they have the energy within them that evokes emotions in us that can affect our mood which in turn can affect our behavior. A fragrance should trigger a sense of warmth, well-being and self-confidence. You mustn’t let yourself be swayed by the latest fashion or pick something just because your friend likes it. That’s very important because each person has their own unique odor, a so-called ‘smell fingerprint’, so the same perfume will release slightly different notes depending on each individual’s skin. Our own psychological make-up, childhood memories and other impressions associated with smells also come into play when we are considering a perfume, so our own, individual inner wisdom prompts us to make the right choice. You should dab a small amount of perfume on your wrist and wear the scent for some time to see how it reacts with your skin and how it affects your mood over time. Do you feel a sense of well-being? Does it give you an energy boost? Or do you feel tired or get a headache? With so many compelling perfumes to choose from, it is important to keep in mind that choosing the right one takes time. It is a very physical experience so you should go with your instinct, choose a fragrance that will express your personality and make you feel good; go for the fragrance that meets those criteria rather than the fragrance that is trendy. An amazing number of smells are used in the world of perfumery and each has its significance.
The Harmonist is big on sustainability and recyclable materials. Where does that come into play with the brand?
The importance that The Harmonist places on balance and harmony extends to the company’s concern for environmental sustainability, which it incorporates into many aspects of fragrance production. The botanic oils and natural ingredients used to compose the scents are sourced sustainably from around the world, while recyclable materials are used wherever possible, including for eco-friendly packaging. The Harmonist’s bottles are refillable: to replenish a favorite scent, clients can simply buy refill tubes that help keep packaging to a minimum. The Harmonist advocates an environmentally- friendly and responsible approach.
The Harmonist Hypnotizing Fire Candle
You are also a philanthropist, tell us more about that.
Helping children in need has always been one of my aims in life. The You Are Not Alone Foundation, which I set up 16 years ago helps orphaned children and children with special needs. We provide medical care and special education for children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, speech delay, autism, Down Syndrome as well as children with other learning disabilities. We also work closely with experts from the French Association, La Chaine de l’Espoir (Chain of Hope) to facilitate treatment for disadvantaged children from Uzbekistan suffering from congenital heart conditions, and this entails sponsoring emergency heart surgery in France. There is really nothing like the sense of happiness you get from seeing the bright eyes of a child whose life has been saved thanks to our Foundation. For me, this is the greatest reward. As Gandhi once said: being of service to others is the best way to find yourself. Recently I extended my charitable work to educational projects aimed at offering scholarships to young people from Uzbekistan to pursue their postgraduate studies in European universities. I strongly believe that education is the key to a better future. Twenty-two students who won our scholarships in the past two years are now studying at some of the leading universities of Europe.
As for The Harmonist, in accordance with the brand’s philosophy, we are committed to sponsoring philanthropic causes aimed at developing effective solutions to some of the most pressing problems, such as ensuring the durability of clean water sources, increasing community awareness about water conservation and developing training materials for education about sanitation and hygiene.
The Harmonist has launched an environmental project, in which each of the five elements of nature will be viewed through the prism of art. We started with the element of water, and last year unveiled our art project “The Droplet” designed to highlight the urgency of issues relating to global warming, water scarcity and conservation. The Droplet is an art installation designed in the form of a falling water drop which will travel the world for conferences, performances and awareness raising events spotlighting water issues of global concern. I believe that art has an incredible capacity to inspire, encourage and unite people around a cause thanks to its ability to touch a human soul.