The beauty of a scent

Think back to a memory and one of the most powerful parts of that moment in your life will be the scent.

That’s what inspired Elise Pioch - the founder of scented candle company Maison Balzac - to begin her new adventure.

Elise moved to Sydney from France 12 years ago and worked as a fashion buyer, building a successful career before a bout of homelessness altered her path.

Four years ago, she wanted to go home.

“But there was so much going on in Australia with my fashion background and I’ve got the candle idea, so I brought France to Sydney,” she says.

It all started with Elise’s memories and developing scents to remind her of home from freshly squeezed orange juice her Mum made to walking through rose gardens to get to her grandmother’s house and a lavender bath.

“It was so genuinely my story, it wasn’t a marketing angle, I wasn’t trying anything, it was honestly what I wanted to remember every day because they were such happy moments,” Elise says.

She found a perfumer to recreate those memories and the rest is history with Maison Balzac candles now stocked in 120 stores Australia wide with 13 scents to choose from.

Elise says the power of scent is everything.

“Perfume is something so personal,” she says.

 “It’s an outdoor armoury, like medieval armoury that you have in between you and the people, it’s your clothes, what you smell like, the makeup you have and the accessorising you do.

“If you don’t want to smell like anything that also says something about you – maybe I’m so shy, I don’t want to disturb others, I’m too fussy, nothing suits me, but it’s always saying something,” she says.

Elise prefers a subtle scent and says it reflects her personality.

“It’s like a gentle way to say that’s my proposition, what do you think, but it’s not on your skin, it’s not on your face so I think that’s to show I’m more about humility and simplicity,” she says.

The same can be said for her sense of style.

“I’m not a typical girl, I love the masculinity in the femininity so I love that ambiguity and that unisex look,” she says.

“Definitely black because that’s the colour I’ve always loved because I feel like it’s the discretion again, but also I’ve got a 3 year old daughter so I can’t wear white and I love that I can just grab her, kiss her and she’s all scrubby and it doesn’t matter, so convenience and also symbolism."

Elise came to Canberra for a candle making workshop at the Canberra Centre and here are the 5 steps to make your own.

1.     Melt soy wax on a low temperature.

2.     Clean the vessel you’ll make your candle in and add your wick in the centre so it burns best.

3.     Mix the melted wax with your perfume - 10% scent to 90% wax for the best result - and pour into your vessel.

4.     Wait for the candle to cool and wait at least a week before you light it.

5.     Trim the wick to about 4mm above the wax.

For more about Maison Balzac click here.