Magali Fleurquin Bonnard is the founder of Rose et Marius, a Provence-born brand that creates beautiful products for the home and body. We took a train down to Aix-en-Provence to see inside her beautiful store and learn how she has created her luxury beautiful brand.
A Provençal Childhood
The inspiration for Rose et Marius stems from Magali’s childhood and summers spent at her grandmother’s home in Provence. She remembers this period of time as one of laughter, fragrance, light and color.
Her grandmother lived in an old bastide with floors covered in traditional colorful cement tiles. It is these that inspired Magali for the design of her brand. From the labels, to the packaging, the soft-colored geometric designs have become her trademark.
But before Magali could create her own brand she had to learn elsewhere and travel the world. This is when she realized just how much she loved and missed her native Provence.
Learning The Trade
Having worked in the world of luxury with names such as Cartier, Piaget, Lacroix and Kenzo, Magali knew a lot about the world of luxury brands but little about how to actually create a perfume.
It was time to do the research. Magali spent a year traveling around Provence hunting down artisan creators and experts. Talking to people about her project and observing their individual specialities, she slowly narrowed down a few artisans that she wanted to work with. The wax for her candles, porcelain for her candle holders, design and packaging… each element was meticulously considered before beginning.
Ingredients Inspired by Memories
For the essence of perfumes for her candles, soaps and fragrances Magali instinctively turned to Grasse, the French capital of floral essence. Again, she took her time to hunt down the artisans she preferred, until she had her suppliers and also her perfume creator.
At Rose et Marius, the process of creating a fragrance is led by Magali’s memories. She tells a story, evoking the spirit of the mood that she wants to capture. This may be the smell of fresh mint and herbs, as she and her cousins ran around barefoot in the garden, or the sweet odor of the fig tree under which she used to take her childhood naps. She asks the parfumeur to create a scent that conjures up the picture she remembers. He gives her several suggestions, she picks one and they work on it together in the laboratory until she has the specific fragrance she was looking for.
The Luxury Standard
Magali has big ambitions for her brand and works to continual standards of excellence to be recognized as a true luxury Provence brand. When making her soaps, she researches which oils to use so that the soap is creamy and lathers well. For each candle, she uses different waxes according to its chosen scent.
Wherever possible, she offers sustainable options on her products. Refills are available for both her perfumes and her candles.
She chose to open her flagship store in Aix-en-Provence because, in her opinion, Aix is the most traditional and elegant of the cities in Provence. The store offers a beautiful selling space, and upstairs there are two rooms where Magali offers classes in perfume creation.
3 Rue Thiers,
All photographs © Anne Soulier
This article was originally published in the July/August 2019 issue of My French Country Home.
Photography & Text by Sharon Santoni