A Peak At The Fragrance Foundations Second Annual Connections Luncheon!

I was so excited to be invited to the Fragrance Foundation Connections luncheon at Cucina 8 1/2 in midtown. Now in its second year, the Connections event is designed to bring together well-respected voices from diverse online outlets and magazines to celebrate New York Fashion Week, shine a spotlight on the integral connection between fragrance and style, and provide an update on #FragranceForwardTFF—which is the Fragrance Foundation’s sweeping initiative launched in October 2021 to advance industry DEI.

#FragranceForwardTFF continues to make significant strides through education and scholarship programs, real-time career development and mentorship opportunities, and by driving the DEI conversation into action by amplifying independent BIPOC fragrance brands. Many of these brands will be present at the Connections luncheon as TFF heralds Hispanic Heritage Month, showcasing those who are leading the way with extraordinary innovation and dynamism. At the helm of this iniative is FF President Linda G. Levy, who spent years as an upper echelon fragrance buyer for Macy’s.

The event was a mix and mingle with six cutting edge New York-based fragrance and candle brands, some of which are sold online and some of which are sold in upscale department stores like Neiman Marcus. I discovered the fragrance brand Brown Girl Jane for the first time and took away a discovery set so I can layer their fragrances depicting and named after different moods (that’s the true philosophy of the owners). In the photo above, you can see the BGJ CEO Malaika Jones and lifestyle expert Tai Beauchamp in front of the unique BGJ dome shaped bottles—mixing and mingling with guests including Deena Campbell, Linda Song, Adriana Medina and Polina Meshkova.

Before everyone sat down for an amazing lunch which was capped by an extra large and delicious pieces of house-made olive oil cake and tiramisu, Linda Levy discussed the different brands and how she first encountered them. She seem particularly intrigued that a lot do these brands started in people’s living rooms and basements and I was intrigued as well! Ms. Levy made truly lovely introductions to each brand and gave her humorous insight into the brands’ backstories.

One truly home-based business is The New Savant candles. Ingrid Nilsen and Erica Anderson—an ambitious and lovely couple from Gowanus—do everything from making their candles to doing PR to packing up shipments (with the help of one assistant). What makes these candles special is not only scents that are designed to bring back memories (like grandma’s cookies baking or a rose garden), but the fabulous mini paint cans that the candles are created in! I got the inside skinny by sitting next to them at lunch and The New Savant is available online and in trendy Brooklyn boutiques.

One person who is becoming a legend in the fragrance business is Chris Collins, most famous for his Harlem Nights EDP, pictured above. I got to spritz some of his newer scents and as you can see, some folks came over to toast his line with champagne. Chris Collins products are now available in Bergdorf’s, Nordstrom and Sephora and he built his successful company from the ground up, starting out as a one person operation. He is seen in the photo above with perfumers Adriana Medina and Linda Song of Givaudan.

This event was great for networking and finding brands to include in holiday gift guides (if you were an influencer) or new fragrance products for stores (if you were a buyer). It was fun to try all the fragrances on the table and meet the people behind the brands and learn all about their new products. Go to http://fragrancefoundation.org to find out about other FF events including the grandest one of all, the annual Fragrance Foundations Awards!

(Photos by Anne Raso of luxelifenyc.com and Rob Kim of Getty Images.)

Article by anne241

Hardcore NYer who loves to enjoy the good life here in the Big Apple and beyond!