A scent as unique as you are.
There’s no denying that our obsession for personalisation has reached a whole new level.
From sneakers to bags, to bespoke creams and formulated fragrances. Ex Nihilo Paris is not the first to offer a personalised service, but they have put it the core of their business model.
Ex Nihilo has invented the Osmologue, an exclusive technology that allows to personalise the Initiale and Babylone collections with the most exceptional raw materials of perfumery. This service is available in selected flagship stores in the world including Paris, New York, London and Dubai.
By blending the codes of the French Avant-Garde perfume making with the modern technology the young fragrance house offers something unique to the savvy customers, and Co-Founder Sylvie Loday tells us exactly what makes them stand out from the rest.
What is your first fragrance memory?
I was born in the USA and my parents (both French mathematicians) were professors at Princeton University. I just spent a couple of years there and I don’t remember any place or person from this early age, but I clearly remember the smell of maple syrup on pancakes. This is my first fragrance memory and until today, remains a delightful one. I suppose it still influences our creations such as the Lait d’Épice – a delicious home candle which smells like hot milk, cinnamon mixed with some hints of maple syrup that we have created with perfumer Shyamala Maisondieu.
What makes Ex Nihilo stand out from the rest?
Fundamentally to always consider ourselves as outsiders. We stick to our motto which centred around bringing back the French Avant-Garde in perfumery by any means, liberating creativity and using only the most exceptional materials. It means focusing on the best of French craftsmanship as well as bringing the best of technology with a focus on personalisation.
Tell us more about your take on personalisation.
Today, there is this super big, mega-trend of personalisation – you can personalise anything you want from your sneakers to your car. Since day one, we tried to stand out from the crowd. First, with the Osmologue technology that we have developed to propose an unparalleled personalised experience. Second, we stand out as specialists for fragrance personalisation in general: the super-imposing of oils like our Sublimes Essences or the use of perfumed hair mist the Sublime Mists. We are also always investigating and imagining what could be the future of personalisation. We always try to bring newness. I think too, the idea of never-ending innovation is something extremely unique to the brand. We want to push the limits.
Talk us through your personalisation service.
Our ritual is really an immersive experience into the core of fragrance creation. Through our exclusive technology, we mix a futuristic ritual with the best of French craftsmanship for a unique result, I would say it’s a Techno Craft approach. You can walk in or do it on private appointment (what I would recommend). They dive deeply into understanding what customers are looking for, which is done through asking questions during the appointment. It will be the occasion to smell absolute of fragrances like Rose of May, Iris Pallida, Orange Blossom in their purest form, and also to experience all our combinations which is according to the customer’s mood. All these combinations have been validated by our team of master perfumers here in Paris.
Once your choice is made we will proceed to the making of your scent with the Osmologue, the High-Tech robot we have specifically developed. It will weigh, blend and create your own composition only in a few minutes in front of you, so you will be able to leave with your own scent without waiting weeks to get the result. We will also give you a nominative certificate of authenticity and keep all your preferences into our database so we can provide the very best level of custom service.
If you can’t travel to one of our flagship stores, we would propose also a layering experience around our Sublimes Essences scented oils our Sublime Mists perfumed hair mists, a range of three perfumed oils you can combine with your favourite fragrance to make your own mix! It’s our concept of Do It Yourself Luxury.
Which scents do particularly well in this region?
Customers are very sophisticated and know exactly what they want, but they also like to be surprised. Agarwood is still strong culturally, however people are really open to exploring new olfactory creations such as our Fleur Narcotique which is based on the peony note. One collection in particular that is a hit in the Middle East is the Babylone Collection created by French perfumers Olivier Pescheux and Shyamala Maisondieu. Their evocative names such as Amber Sky, Midnight Special or the new Atlas Fever refers to the heritage (with woods, ambers, oriental notes) but also to a super contemporary Arabic world, very modern and futuristic mixed with our Parisian identity.
What fragrance-making rules is Ex Nihilo breaking?
I think doing a transfer of technology from the industry and transforming it into an ultimate luxury experience is quite unique. Personalising fragrances with raw materials and showing the backstage side of creation as well.
Perfumery is quite a conservative world, so we try to challenge stereotyped luxury and deliver a whole new luxury experience. Surprisingly not being perfumers helped us think outside the box and bring fresh and disruptive ideas about the fragrance experience as a whole 360° journey.
We found this classic image of the omnipotent creative director is quite outdated. And because you are more creative and efficient when you work with people who complete your own skills. Collaboration is in our DNA and we draw our inspiration from many fields in the artistic community such as fashion, architecture, design, photography.
What do you do in your down time?
I enjoy outdoor sports (running, skiing, hiking) to recover from intense travels and also clear my mind. I like going to museums and modern art exhibitions to get some new inspirations for our scents and of course shopping. I’m a shoes addict!
Describe the view from your window today.
Our Parisian headquarters offices are located between Opéra and Palais Royal, one of the oldest areas of the city. Our building was built in 1791. The view from my office is a long alley of Napoleonian buildings, and at the end of it, a lovely historic park with beautiful trees and a large fountain.
Where is your happy place?
In the French Alps – as much in the winter as in the summer.
What’s next for Ex Nihilo?
Stay humble but stay hungry, still focus on the best of French craftsmanship as well as bringing the best of technology with a focus on personalisation to our customers. If we were a car company, some of our competitors could easily be Bentley or Rolls Royce, I hope we would be a luxurious version of Tesla. And why not open EX NIHILO to other fields in the fragrance industry and beyond.