CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH COCHINE
Tell us a little bit about the brand Kate?
“There are three words I’d use to sum up Cochine: evocative, chic and timeless. Our home fragrance category is where it all began and I knew I had something very special when I started discovering different types of flowers in Asia – such as champa jasmine, delentii orchid and water hyacinth. I used these and turned them into fragrances, but at the time, I had just moved to Saigon and started a new business, so I didn’t have the confidence to launch them as Eau de Parfum straight away. Instead, I put the fragrances into products for the home. This is what gave us our point of difference at the time, creating the candles and diffusers we’re now so known for. It’s what helps them stand out from the crowd. We try hard to stay true to our brand DNA at Cochine by listening to our customers and really taking on board their feedback. We’re lucky that, as a small business, we can adapt to meet our customers' needs.”
You mentioned unique scents, why is this so important to the brand?
“With Cochine, we wanted our fragrances to really transport you to somewhere in the sun. For me, it was life in the tropics, but with our fragrances, it could be the south of France, Italy or the Caribbean – wherever that place is for you, where you can bask in the warm afternoon sun, under the rustle of palm trees with the scent of jasmine in the air.”
Another key USP for the brand is affordability – how has Cochine done this despite the luxe credentials?
“We use the highest quality, sustainable oils, ingredients and materials in all our products, but we’re not greedy and try to keep our products accessible and reasonably priced. Our range has become very popular for gifting, so I’m happy we’ve managed to keep all the elements of luxury, while balancing that with accessibility, too.”
Speaking of gifting, what would you say is a popular choice from Cochine?
“I love giving my girlfriends one of our diffusers, as they’re a bit different to giving a candle. Plus, I think our diffusers give the truest experience of our fragrances which are all created as Eau de Parfum first, then professionally crafted for candles, diffusers and bath. Our diffusers look beautiful in the home, too, and people often comment on how long they last. We were one of the first people to launch diffusers as a luxury product and they’ve become a really cult product for us.”
Let’s discuss the new fragrances – this was in the works for a while. Why now?
“Launching our collection of Eau de Parfum is a dream come true. When I started Cochine in Saigon 10 years ago, I set out to bring the magic of that part of Asia to the world through fragrance, but as mentioned, at the time, it felt easier to do this through home fragrance. Now, thanks to invaluable feedback from our customers and a true longing to connect with that feeling of real, romantic escape – which we now need more than ever – we wanted to elevate Cochine to the fragrance house I always dreamt it would be. The perfumes we’ve now launched are the embodiment of everything we’ve held at the heart of the brand for so long, and I am so excited to share them all."
You collaborated with scent extraordinaire Maurice Roucel to develop these new fragrances – tell us about the partnership…
“Even in my L’Oréal days before I moved to Asia and started creating fragrances, I loved Maurice Roucel’s style. I love how he juxtaposes notes you wouldn’t normally put together and then builds a fragrance around them so they become this beautiful, all-encompassing, complete scent. I met Maurice in Asia a few years ago, he loved what we were doing at Cochine and agreed to work with me on a new signature scent to capture my favourite time of day in the tropics – the evenings, when you come out onto the terrace, the brush of white linen against sun-warmed skin, the whirring of a ceiling fan, the sound of cicadas, the rustle of palm leaves in the warm evening breeze and the intrigue and anticipation of the night ahead. I wanted to use rich, heady florals at the heart of the fragrance, but then combine these with notes you wouldn’t expect, which is why Maurice first used sandalwood and then added rich leather notes to give that element of mystery. The result is Tuberose Absolute & Sandalwood, a fragrance that is modern yet timeless, as well as feminine and alluring.”
If you had to choose, which is your favourite fragrance from the new line-up?
“White Jasmine & Gardenia has always been one of our most popular scents, and I can see why, but if I had to pick, the new Eau de Parfum we’re launching this summer – Tuberose Absolute & Sandalwood – is my go-to. I created it with Maurice and it’s the scent of exotic, heady nights. It combines the purest, most alluring tuberose – my favourite floral – with rich leather notes. It’s so addictive and I’ve been wearing it since I received my first sample. I’ve had so many compliments, I can’t wait for everyone to try it."
Say someone wanted an ‘under-the-radar’ scent – which would you recommend?
“Without doubt, Vanille & Tabac Noir. The key note is tobacco flower, which is grown in the north of Vietnam and has a really beautiful, unique fragrance. We use very high-grade vanilla and blend it with the tobacco flower, patchouli and rich spices like cardamom, nutmeg and basil. It’s chic, sophisticated and a great choice for evening.”
As for ingredients, how do you source for the best possible potency?
“My travels around the tropics is what inspires each scent in the Cochine range. I love finding new and different flowers, as well as oils, then using them in our fragrances to transport people to a place or feeling. The jasmine we use in our White Jasmine & Gardenia scent, for example, is called ‘Champa Jasmine’ and it is from Southern Vietnam. I used to smell it every morning when I cycled to the bakery at the end of our road – I remember the feeling of that warm morning sun on my back and the sunlight beginning to come through the dappled trees and the crunch of gravel under the bicycle wheels. I wanted to create a pure and elegant white floral that carried you to carefree summer mornings in the heat. Each of the key notes in our fragrances is inspired by life in the tropics, while the sustainable oils used ensure maximum potency, as well as longevity on the skin.”
Are there any bestsellers that stand out to you?
“White Jasmine & Gardenia is a consistent bestseller for us, as it is our signature scent. Another is Water Hyacinth and Lime Blossom reed diffuser which is a fragrance that’s truly unique to us as a brand. We also have a limited-edition Christmas candle – Orange Amère & Star Anise – which we bring out each year between October and December. Without fail, it’s always a bestseller for us because it’s different to every other Christmas candle that drops at that time of year.”
The range is really concise – do you have plans to expand further?
“Having a concise, curated collection of fragrances that we have real conviction in has always been our aim. We spend years working on each fragrance to make sure they have that uniqueness and great wearability. I think this has really benefitted us. Customers like that we have a small range – just 10 standalone fragrances that speak for themselves.”
Finally, is there anything you wish everyone knew about Cochine they perhaps don’t already?
“Mainly that we’re a female-run business. At Cochine, we’re a small, passionate team doing what we love while juggling the realities of life – small children, Zoom calls on the school run, late night calls with overseas distributors and so forth. We are all living through the same struggles as our customers, so our aim is to bring a bit of luxury and calm through our products, without asking people to break the bank. Another thing I’d like people to know about is our partnership with One Tree Planted. We started working with them over a year ago and I love what they do. It’s a non-profit organisation focused on reforestation with plantation projects in Asia, including Vietnam – which is where we work with them. For every product purchased on our website, we donate money to One Tree Planted, where a tree will be planted in Vietnam. The projects they work on are creating jobs and providing sustainable, long-term incomes for communities so people and forests can live together in harmony.”
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