How Lily Aldridge Is Making Buying Beauty Products Online Less Wasteful
"I love trying new beauty products, but I would get so frustrated by all the extra packaging and waste that was coming to my house."
Welcome to Beauty Boss, a reoccurring series in which we spotlight the power players driving the beauty world forward. Consider this your chance to steal their get-ahead secrets, and grow from the real-life lessons they’ve learned on the job.
The sign of a really good fragrance is finding one that smells so intoxicating, everyone around you wishes they were wearing it, too. One such perfume is Summit, the second scent from model Lily Aldridge's eponymous fragrance brand.
"I went to the Met Ball with Richard Quinn this year and I was spraying Summit all over myself while getting ready,” she tells InStyle. “I was wearing a very edgy outfit with a lot of latex. Richard thought it smelled so good so I was spraying it all over him and the backseat of the van we were in before we walked the red carpet. That’s a memory of Summit I’ll never forget.”
Memories are the core inspiration behind Aldridge's brand, which will include four fragrances in total. While Haven — the scent she launched the brand with earlier this fall — has floral notes inspired by Aldridge's home in Nashville, Summit is a nod to the Smoky Mountains with spicy and cozy notes including tobacco and leather.
Aldridge's personal approach when it comes to designing her fragrances is what makes the brand feel authentic and stand out among all of the celebrity and designer perfumes out there. And the importance she's placed on making her brand as sustainable as possible, from how the notes are sourced to insuring minimal waste packaging, proves that she's an innovator in the field.
Here, we caught up with Aldridge to talk about why she wanted to start a fragrance brand, the inspiration behind Summit, how her beauty routine has changed since becoming a mom, and so much more.
What drew you to creating a fragrance brand?
I’ve always been super intrigued in starting a beauty line, and fragrance was the first opportunity that made sense and I was able to do.
Is there a specific scent memory that inspired the brand?
I have so many scent memories in my life. That's why I love fragrance so much and appreciate the art of it. For example, picking lavender reminds me of picking lavender with my grandma in her garden and making little sachets to keep in my drawers, and the smell of incense reminds me of my father.
Jason Wu taught me a lot of about all of the work that goes into creating the bottle when I worked with him as the face of his fragrance. So, my fragrance brand has been a long time coming and I’ve loved every second of it.
There's so many fragrance brands out there. What sets yours apart?
Even though there are so many brands out there — whether it’s designer or celebrity fragrances — they’re all so different. I think if you love a brand or a personality, you know their vibe and trust what they’re promoting or selling. I love Goop and things that Gwyneth sells because I trust her taste, or if something’s at Whole Foods, I trust that. So I think if someone is a fan of me or my style, they’d be intrigued to try one of my fragrances
What surprised you the most about the process of making a scent?
The variety. When you go into a fragrance house and meet the noses that create the scents, you tell them what you want it to smell like. Take a rose for example. They’ll present you with a hundred variety of roses and then you have to try to figure out exactly what it is about a rose that you like. Do you like the smell of roses that have been picked for a few days or the smell of a fresh rose? The possibilities are just so endless. To pinpoint what I want my scent to smell like, I like using adjectives like “fresh,” “happy,” and “cozy” and to see what the creative and talented people I work with brought back to me based on my descriptions was so interesting and really fun.
How many versions of Haven, your first fragrance, did you go through until you landed on the final scent?
Honestly, Haven has been my easiest one because I knew I wanted to create a floral. I’m drawn to rose floral perfumes in general, so it was a no-brainer for me. I probably smelled 80 to 100 varieties of all of them. One of my favorite fragrances now is going to be the last one that comes out. I had discarded it when I was doing all of the samples because you’re smelling so much at one time. Then, my daughter Dixie really loved it for some reason and started spraying it all over our clothes. One night she was snuggling with me, and she just smelled so good. I emailed the fragrance house to try to find out which sample she was spraying because I was now in love with that scent because it reminds me of my daughter.
Summit, your new second fragrance, is quite different from Haven. How did this scent come to be?
All my scents are very different, because what’s the point of making four scents that are all florals or have similar notes? Summit is an spicy, edgy, moody scent with leather and tobacco. It’s supposed to represent the feelings of being in the mountains and just being cozy during the wintertime. It’s also a more gender-neutral scent that I want to wear, but so does my husband. When I was younger, I always used to buy perfumes and colognes — I don’t really think it matters what the name is because it’s the smell that you’re drawn to, really. It was fun to make something so different than what I’m usually drawn to and I winded up loving it so much.
Why was it important to make both the scents and packaging sustainable?
I’m an online shopper and this is an online brand. I love trying new beauty products, but I would get so frustrated by all the extra packaging and waste that was coming to my house. When I was creating this, I wanted to make sure there was as minimal waste as possible while still getting the package to arrive to customers in one piece. There’s still so much more I want to do to make my brand more sustainable, from the ingredients to the packaging. It’s been a huge learning process and I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from fans and just people on online, so I can’t wait to keep evolving by trying to do more and do better. This is just the first chapter and I’m really proud of what we did.
VIDEO: 6 Tips & Tricks to Make Your Perfume Last All Day
How has your beauty routine changed since becoming a mom?
Once you become a mom, your beauty routine gets different because it happens whenever you have time to do it. I’m still nursing so I’m using really clean and natural products. I generally always lean towards these types of brands, but there are definitely some that aren’t that I have and love in my routine. As far as fragrance, it’s always been a part of my routine. I have about 10 fragrances (including my own) that I love and I wear for different occasions. I wear Haven more for my day-to-day life and Summit feels more appropriate now that it’s fall.