Fashion and Style

You’ve Heard of K-Beauty. Now Try K-Perfume

Inside Elorea, a sleek new Korean perfumery in Manhattan’s NoLIta neighborhood, whose name is a portmanteau of “elements” and “Korea,” you will find paintings and pottery by Korean and Korean American artists, a cafe offering a chocolate and perfume pairing and shop attendants dressed entirely in black, eager to explain the brand’s gender-neutral fragrance collections.

“Even though I’ve never heard of a Korean perfume brand, I just figured it’s going to be on another level,” said Albert Chun, 36, a customer whose parents immigrated from Seoul to Oakland, Calif., in the mid-1980s. “We’re such proud people,” he added with a half-laugh.

“In our heads, in everyone’s heads, Korea is the capital of the world in terms of beauty,” said Wonny Lee who, along with his wife, Su min Park, founded Elorea as an online perfumery business last year.

And yet, when Ms. Park, 35, and Mr. Lee, 36, walked through a department store in Seoul in 2019, they were surprised to find a lack of Korean perfume brands.

“Korea and Asia in general have very deep and rich relationships with scent, but it’s just so, so underrepresented in the current market,” Ms. Park said.

With Mr. Lee’s background in e-commerce and marketing at Samsung, the gaming accessories manufacturer Turtle Beach and the direct-to-consumer footwear company Greats, and Ms. Park’s experience as a photographer and art director with clients including Ann Taylor, Alexis Bittar and Fekkai, the couple decided to create their own Korean perfumery.

But what exactly constitutes a “Korean perfumery”?

“We didn’t want to just slap, like, ‘K’ in front of it because we’re Korean founders,” said Mr. Lee, whose parents immigrated from Seoul to Queens in 1984. Ms. Park, whose family left Seoul for Brooklyn in 1998 when she was 10, agreed, noting how some beauty companies might call a product “Japanese” simply because they use cherry blossoms in their branding.

“We had to dig deeper,” Ms. Park said. “We have to talk about our history. We have to talk about our culture and what it means — what the scent means.”

The perfume called “Gentle Shower” is redolent of the Korean word “jambi,” which, according to Ms. Park, means a sudden rain that allows farmers to rest. One of the perfume’s top notes is perilla leaf, a minty, licorice-like herb frequently used in Korean cooking.

For Ms. Park, Elorea provides an opportunity to reunite with the country she was estranged from when she was young. “Part of me was always back at home,” she said.

More than just a perfume store, they hope that Elorea will provide an evolving, multisensory space to showcase and celebrate Korean culture.

“We want to work with entrepreneurs, we want to work with artists,” Mr. Lee said. “Because at the end of the day, their success will be our success.”

Sahred From Source link Fashion and Style

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *