Every scent has a story, from the perfume of a loved one, to the freshly cut grass of spring, scent and memory are intertwined. No one understands that more than Tonya Kidd-Beggs, the founder of Stories Parfums.
After losing her childhood memories to trauma, Tonya went on a journey to unlock her mind through the power of scent. After spending time discovering herself, and the art of perfume making in France, she was able to reconnect with the happy memories she had lost.
A divine storyteller, through the medium of scent, we were lucky enough to sit down with Tonya to discover just who she is, and what Stories Parfums is all about.
Hey Tonya, thanks so much for joining us! You are a total perfume guru, so tell us, what’s your number one tip for getting the most out of your perfume?
You should always moisturise your skin prior to spritzing, this allows the molecules of the perfume to cling to your skin for longer. DO NOT RUB wrists together after spritzing as this ruins the scent by dispersing notes in the wrong order and can actually make the perfume smell very different. Fragrance is made in such a way to develop over time from the first spritz, top notes are the first aroma followed by heart notes, and then the notes that last on skin for a longer period of time are the base notes. Spray on pulse points and allow to dry naturally – not forgetting the ends of your hair.
So what’s your signature scent?
I remember every single perfume I have worn over the years, but of course now that I create scent myself, it must be STORIES Parfums. I have worn STORIES Nº.01 and Nº.02 for 6 years, and I am not bored with them whatsoever. I do layer them together on days or layer them with our scented bodycare. We are a fine fragrance and I created them in such a way that they complement and can be layered together.
Like Sarah, you started your business in midlife, what spurred you on to make the leap?
I am mum to 4 and chose to be a stay-at-home mum, but as my youngest, twin girls started to get a bit older, I went on pursuit of a hobby which took me to Grasse in the South of France. Fragrance was always something that connected me to those who were important to me. Fragrance connected me to my grandmother, who sadly I never got to meet. She was a businesswoman in Northern Ireland, she broke a lot of glass ceilings for women in her day. I grew up feeling I knew her because of the scent she wore.
It was only after this transformative trip to the heart of perfume-making in France, that I realised the power of fragrance to heal, release locked memories, transcend personal tragedy, and inspire happiness.
I had trauma in my life when I was around 12 years of age and sadly, I lost my childhood memories prior. Even though in later years I went through counselling to remove the root of the trauma, which was 100 per cent successful, I still did not have those good childhood memories. This changed when I began working with fragrance. I quickly learnt that our sense of smell is the most powerful one we have. Closely linked to memory and mood, what we smell has the ability to stir us, move us and immerse us in an instant.
Spurred on by this discovery, STORIES Parfums was born. Using the best raw materials and time-honoured traditional methods, I created each fragrance to capture a moment and unlock a memory significant to myself. Each bottle is a narrative woven together by a carefully orchestrated balance of notes; as our name suggests, it is a story in aromatic form.
What’s in your handbag right now?
I always keep my STORIES Nº.01 & Nº.02 15ml travel size bottles nearby for on the go top ups, the perfect duo to pop into bag and they are refillable! I also have a Victoria Beckham lip definer, gloss and lipstick. Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick – fabulous for touch up and Refy – cream blush. Car Keys, Tissues & iPhone of course!
Do you like a mini bag or a maxi bag, with enough room for your entire life and the kitchen sink?
It’s got to be a Maxi for work, since I always carry my laptop, and the kitchen sink… ha! I tend to go more for mini for going out, a smaller bag won’t get in the way at parties!
Had you ever seen anything like our restyle concept?
This is something I have never seen before and a fabulous concept. It is a genius concept to able to style with different accessories, giving a completely new look from day to night. Love it, sustainability at its best!
If you could design your dream bag, what would it look like?
It would be a bag that I could be used for every occasion with a premium leather, it would have many compartments to allow me to stay organised from my day in the office right through to an evening out.