Fragrance trail is a section dedicated to discovering imaginative perfumery spaces from around the world.
In the inspiring atmosphere of the Spitzenhaus store – which boasts of a sophisticated mixture of history and modernity – is where I was taken on a journey through the global landscapes of sensorial adventures with truly excellent products. Christof, managing deputy director and partner at Spitzenhaus was so kind to offer expert consultation and his solid specialist knowledge, and a comprehensive understanding of the market as he had me engulfed in the wonderful fragrant world within the store. We went from one rare perfume to another and one unique brand to another. Spitzenhaus Perfumerie a place that surprised me and excited me about rediscovering niche scents in a new light in this saturated world of retail with numerous commercial offerings that possess no distinct soul or memorable character.
The perfumery Spitzenhaus is a very special place. Hospitality, expertise and excellence in terms of service are housed under one roof. With an enviable assortment of exceptionally high-quality skincare and niche perfumery brands, where each one is based on a highly individual, sophisticated concept, it is their selective approach that sets this boutique apart from conventional perfumeries many of which I have myself been to. New brands from around the world are brought together with unique product lines in an environment reeking of class and sophistication. I experienced the best of the newest generation skincare products, that are both sustainable and natural and also had the chance to explore their exclusive assortment of fascinating fragrances to find ones that I found rare and truly inspiring.
Deputy Managing Director and Partner at Spitzenhaus Mr. Christof Hoefler speaks to TLN in exclusive interview and shares about the conception, philosophy and values -
“A distinctive scent subtly underscores each individual’s personality. It sparks associations with the beautiful moments in life and enhances our wellbeing. I’m particularly intrigued by the endless variety of fragrance raw materials: their special magic and expressive possibilities knows virtually no bounds. Introducing customers to these very personal and singular olfactory experiences is fascinating. It constantly inspires me, always in a new and different way, turning my passion into arguably the best job there is.“
Tell us how Spitzenhaus was conceived?
The soul and Founder of the unique concept is Werner Abt, who was the General Manager of a well know Perfumery (Osswald) in Zurich. For over 17 years he and his team were positioning “Niche” on a very high level, the majority of his team is now present here as partners with enormous expertise and knowledge which if counted together amounts to almost 100 years of experience.
The fact that “Niche” became more and more common and available, Spitzenhaus developed a new way to select and choose Brands, both in Skincare and Fine Fragrances.
We call it a “Curated Selection”. It is not about offering clients everything available on the market. The point is to choose and present a selection of highly potential and unique concepts. Those selected products, paired with a very personal and empathic approach from each one of us makes this concept inimitable I am very confident that everyone who is able to visit our beautiful, sophisticated boutique will definitely experience something on a very new level.
Tell us about the décor of Spitzenhaus and the idea behind the way the space looks and feels.
Our shop is housed in a magnificent building from 1884 where beauty is a time-honored tradition. It all began with Grieder Les Boutiques, purveyor of fashionable attire to the Belle Époque gentry of the day, until the growing business moved its premises to the nearby Paradeplatz in 1913. The sales space has retained its original historic character from 1883. The building is a listed historical monument, and thus subject to a strict conservation code, outside and inside.
For its reincarnation as a perfumery boutique the interior elements had to be put under heritage protection – by combining built-in display cases, decorative stuccowork and wainscoting with woodcarvings in the Louis XVI style and these were painstakingly restored to their original condition, with loving attention to each and every detail.
The result is a space that radiates warmth and modernity: with its subdued colors and elements of
historicism and Art Deco in a refined environment for luxurious cosmetics and exclusive fragrances.
What is the philosophy that drives brand selection at Spitzenhaus.
I am personally very convinced, that nowadays a very precise look on each and every detail is the most important. In a very fast turning “fragrant world”, so many new launches of brands disappear within no time. Our main focus is on quality, sustainability and the story behind a brand.
We are personally in touch with most of the owners, we know many perfumers individually and therefore are well versed with their style, their credo and most importantly, we maintain a partnership which is based on a sustainable and long term focused collaboration.
The world is full of brands that have neither a soul nor a memorable concept behind and so it is a challenge to pick the right brands. The more brands available, the less quality is involved.
And this is exactly where our curated selection concept works extremely well!
What makes Spitzenhaus a unique place to shop for perfumes/skincare in comparison to
other boutiques in the world?
I must admit, there are certainly some very good and interesting shop concepts in the world with carefully selected portfolios. However, I would say that the combination of products, the environment where they are presented
and the “faces” (and their expertise) behind Spitzenhaus transforms every visit to our space into a top notch experience. Our concept is based on expertise and background knowledge. Take for example the evaluation
process of finding a matching perfume or skincare product: We are able to curate a selection, based on your very personal needs, experiences and lifestyle.
Tell us an interesting experience that happened at the shop.
We have many locals as customers, but also a decent percentage of international clients. I am personally very proud that we can amaze even the most sophisticated of customers (who I believe know everything that is available on the market) with both, rare and unique products but also with the “wow-experience” based on the way we treat them. And at the risk of briefly compromising my humility, there are of course those moments when you have the wife of a top notch Hollywood moviestar in your shop who would spend hours shopping for the most exclusive (and expensive) skin care brand housed at Spitzenhaus, we are both proud and amused!
Which parts of the world do your customers come from?
Zurich has the biggest community of Expats in Switzerland. Based on this fact, we are so proud to have so many different nationalities visit us. This mixing and coming together of various types of customers with our valued clientele based locally is key in transporting our philosophy with friends and families in Zurich and throughout Switzerland. During high season we have noticed that our concept is extremely well loved by Arabian customers. Royal families travel from the middle east to Zurich/Switzerland for medical treatments
and spend several weeks, even months here. They find a good opportunity to experience our concept space during those long stays, and many of them return to our shop several times before they eventually travel back. We have many returning customers, especially from the UAE.
What specific advantage does being located in Zürich offer to your shop?
Zurich is probably the most strategic location within Switzerland. It is the financial center of Switzerland.
As I mentioned we have a lot of international visitors, who travel both for leisure and business, as many global companies are based here in the greater Zurich area and Zurich itself
Besides, Zurich has its very unique “Charme” that is easy to get to within no time by train from Paris, Milan, Munich and other major cities in Europe.
How did you get into this line?
As less as my personal background to do with Perfumes or Skincare, the more passionate I am when it comes to the fragrant world. Working as an Interior Design Project Manager for more than 13 year, Perfumes were always my passion since my early childhood. In those 13 years I had a customers from a global travel agency, based in Switzerland for which I was in charge and had to manage the construction of their Zurich based Flagship store.
During this period it was my idea to also develop a “Signature Scent” matching their new Corporate Identity. I collaborated with a perfumer who I was briefed my idea to and shared my vision of this Corporate scent.
This was also the time I started a 2 year training in a perfumers lab with raw material and basic
lab works, before I founding “olfactron”, a consultant company working on fragrant projects. Due to success of olfactron and my own projects, I basically now hold 2 jobs in the fragrant world, which means: I wont ever get bored…
What are the new fragrance trends to watch for in 2018?
If we are talking about “Trends”, we must also talk about ephemerality. Trends in my opinion are seldom sustainable. There are certainly trends in the established perfume businesses, however the more artisanal a brand the less dependent it is on trends. I see many fragrances on the market which are surprisingly “simple” in their composition. I wouldn’t say they are “Mono-Scents”, meaning showcasing a single note, but many of them feature only a few main ingredients, maybe a fancy captive and that’s about it…For sure the “Molecule-Hype” started it all. But is Molecule trendy? Maybe it was years ago. Now it just gets copied a thousand times which makes me feel “Copy and Paste” has become the main “inspiration” in the commercial perfume industry, unfortunately. On the other hand I see a more and more smaller brands attempt or follow a natural ingredient approach to perfumery, especially those who can afford it due to their small batch production.
Though in no way does it mean an “All natural” way is the only best way, and excitingly we have many brands which have a rather big amounts of high quality natural essences, mingled with high quality, modern molecules, giving us wonderful concoctions.
Image courtesy - www.spitzenhaus.com
Parfumerie Spitzenhaus AG
Börsenstrasse 14, CH-8001 Zurich, Switzerland
Tel. +41 44 222 02 14
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A fresh new approach to perfumery from the eyes of a wanderer and an artistic explorer by bringing unique perfume presentations that remain true to the eclectic spirit of TLN.
I am Avantika Bedi.
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