With ‘Nathalie’, a fragrance brand for body and interior, Nathalie Baeten, aka Mrs. Marc Coucke, wants us to feel nice and bring also a notion of chic. Anyone who gets the chance to unwrap a scented candle or home perfume from Nathalie will immediately understand what she means. Nathalie elevates gift giving to the status of art; the art of making someone celebrated and happy.
Text Anja Van Der Borght
How do ‘Nathalie’ and ‘Le Parfum de Nathalie’ relate to each other and how did your label come to us?
NBC: “My website, webshop and boutique in Le Sanglier des Ardennes – our hotel in Durbuy – carry the label ‘Le Parfum de Nathalie’ but the products have simply the brand name ‘Nathalie’. As a child I always had a fascination with perfume. The beautiful bottles, seductive scents and the entire atmosphere around them appealed to me, just like the world of decoration. As a child I liked nothing more than to keep redecorating my room. That is why I initially wanted to study as an interior designer, but eventually I chose pharmacy and became a pharmacist. That will come in handy now. I worked in a pharmacy for ten years, but it became too busy for my husband’s children and business. That’s why I stayed home for a while and traded in art. In recent years I have taken care of the furnishing and decoration of our hotels and that graphic feel and experience also comes in handy when developing the complete design of my fragrance line. I think it’s wonderful that I can combine all my passions in my own brand. I also really wanted to give something very personal to people, coming from myself. I wanted to develop a fragrance that lingers, that makes people dream away and that would remind them of a happy moment, such as the nice holiday they had in Durbuy. ”
What were you looking for?
NBC: “I wanted to put something of myself in our hotel. And that was possible through my products and my specific scent. So it could not be a feminine scent but one that appeals to both men and women. I also didn’t want the typical scent that you so often encounter. My scent is more oriental. But also the packaging, the way of presenting, the logo and the style of the entire concept,… everything had to be just right for me. The total picture is much more important to me than the volumes I sell. After a long search where I tested and tried many brands, I didn’t really find the perfect total package. And then the entrepreneur in me comes up. If I don’t find what I’m looking for, I’d rather develop it myself. The result of that is the Mountain Chic fragrance. My very first own scent that I have now incorporated into all my products. ”
Have you hired a perfumer for the fragrance?
NBC: “No. I started from four scents that I also like to smoke. That took me to our own pharmaceutical company, Ceres Pharma. In their labs we experimented by adding or removing ingredients or changing the concentrations until I had the scent I wanted. Thus we have arrived at a sultry, sensual scent of precious Oriental wood and velvet leather, with a warm note of nutmeg and cardamom and an enchanting floral heart that gives this perfume a refined elegance. ”
Nathalie Baeten-Coucke unveils the art of gift wrapping…
Why are you introducing the brand now?
NBC: “For years I have watched my husband do business and that has undoubtedly stimulated me. I learned from him that if you want to do something, you shouldn’t think too much and wait too long, but just go for it and take the plunge. Last year, for my birthday, I received a concept as a gift that allowed me to develop my own perfume. This made a dream come true. All puzzle pieces fell together. At that time I was busy with the furnishing of our hotel in Durbuy and was looking for products (shampoo, shower gel, body lotion and soap) for the guest rooms. Initially I did not intend to create a line around that, but the many nice reactions from guests stimulated me to build on that one fragrance. It started with the small hotel products, then followed my scented candles in black wax in the purest form with top quality cotton wicks, and recently my range also includes body care products, scent sticks and a home perfume. The Corona outbreak caused some delays in packaging and brochures, but the plan was to come out around the end of year festivities. Moreover, I am so perfectionist that I do not want to bring anything to the market until I feel it is one hundred percent OK and just perfect.”
Wrapping a gift and the overall look of the package is very important to you?
NBC: “A beautifully packaged gift can make me really happy. And when I hear that others experience my products in the same way … Last year my oldest daughter Chloé had given her teacher a scented candle at the end of the school year. Not much later I received an email in which the teacher described the entire process from receiving the gift to unwrapping and lighting the candle. Reading that message almost brought tears to my eyes. My product was just finished and when I read how she described how my gift had made her feel, I knew I had succeeded. It was for me the greatest pleasure that the teacher had felt this total experience in this way. Because that was exactly what I want to achieve with people. I want to make people feel good and happy and hope that I can bring them a little bit of luxury. I also think it is important to create a cosy and warm atmosphere in my home. After a working day, I first light the fireplace, then lit candles everywhere. I am a romantic soul and find conviviality very important. My husband and children also know how to enjoy this. ”
All your products are ‘Made in Belgium’, but what is still important to you?
NBC: “Everything up to and including the packaging is produced by Belgian companies and I’m proud of that now. When I started my project, there was no clue of the Corona virus yet, so I had no idea that ‘I buy locally ‘ would become so important. Quality and excellence are two other pillars that I strive for. My product really has to be totally honed and finished so that I as the creator somehow stand out. After all, there are so many brands that market candles, so it is not easy to find your way between them with a new product. But I really want to bring a part of myself to people’s homes with my line. ”
How do you see the future of ‘Le Parfum de Nathalie’?
NBC: “Today my daughters Alysée (13) and Chloé (16) are helping me with further developments. I think it is important that they give their opinion as young people. It is also my intention to develop a second fragrance with them later on. I secretly dream of going international. Today there are companies that already send my products around the world for their best customers or relations. But the ultimate would be that my products are for sale at Harrods in London, for example. That would make it all complete. ”