A new adventure
A passion for perfume wasn’t exactly a natural career progression for Pierre Donie and his wife Josiane. Pierre actually spent 24 years in a finance career finding his way through the twists and turns of the banking industry.
At the age of 47, Pierre Donie walked away from the stressful world of finance. Far from throwing in the towel, he saw an opportunity to turn over a new leaf. Pierre and Josiane started to teach themselves the tools for a whole new trade. An innovative adventure out of the ordinary: Senteurs d'Ailleurs.
Their daughter, Laurence, soon joined them, bringing her commercial expertise and formidable managerial talents to the project. She soon identified the demands and characteristics of the clientele, she observed a real need for innovation, creativity and exclusivity in the customers who stepped over the threshold of the store.
Together, they came up with the Senteurs d’Ailleurs concept as we know it today: the exact opposite of so-called “selective” perfume sector.
4 decisive steps
- 1997: Opening of the first Senteurs d'Ailleurs boutique
- 1999: Refinement of the concept to focus on exclusive brands
- 2000 - 2004: Arrival of a large number of leading brands
- 2011: Inauguration of the two spaces Place Stéphanie
The Donie family
A story of passion
Pierre and Josiane have a passion in common: Provence and the scents of the South. Logically enough, their first idea was to create a space in Brussels that was totally dedicated to products that live and breathe the light and fragrances of the Mediterranean. The original suppliers and layout of Senteurs d’Ailleurs were picked out on the basis of this criterion alone.
So it was back in 1997 that they took the leap. It was a considerable financial risk, a huge challenge in terms of management, and quite a gamble for the future, but they truly believed in their plans.
The first Senteurs d'Ailleurs boutique opens on Avenue Louise and distributes three strong brands: L'Occitane, Esteban and Comptoir Sud Pacifique, three emblematic lines of southern fragrances.
“We think that although the road is a long one, we are thrilled to be able to offer rare and unusual products that will perhaps help to give the art of perfume-making the historical edge that it is in the process of losing, both in terms of the companies that perfumes represent and the products themselves.” Pierre Donie
A tailor-made service
And exclusive brands
Ever since it was founded, the business has been keen to offer something different. Since 1999, the store has been honing its concept of originality and exclusivity, setting itself apart from any brands deemed to be too commercial. In the early 2000s, the Donie family joined forces with other more prestigious Houses such as Diptyque, Serge Lutens, Annick Goutal, Mizensir, Creed and Kiehl's.
2011 is a year for change, almost 14 years to the day after the first store was opened, a new space an even bigger one located Place Stéphanie, more ambitious, to continue this exciting story of passion.
Senteurs d'Ailleurs has a criterion well beyond the commercial. The number one priority of the Donie family today is not to do what everyone else is doing, to stand out from the crowd both with its knowledge of products and the relevance of its advice, the quality of the services it offers, the excellence of the products and the exclusivity of the brands it represents.