A Rose is a Rose
In conversation with the founder of luxury fragrance house St. Rose, Belinda Smith.
St. Rose, a conscious luxury brand born in Australia and crafted in New York, embodies a deep connection with nature. Committed to sustainability and transparency, the brand, founded by Belinda Smith, offers gender-neutral fine fragrances formulated from responsibly sourced ingredients.
Inspired by the Patron Saint of Gardeners, each composition uses high-quality natural ingredients to deliver long-lasting, cleanly formulated perfumed products that draw inspiration from art, travel, and Australian heritage to uplift and ground.
Its vegan, eco-responsible fragrances consist of over 97 per cent natural origin ingredients sourced transparently from global farms. These richly seductive essences create long-wearing, skin and Earth-friendly perfumes, pushing boundaries in green science with upcycled raw materials.
Here, Winning Magazine sat down with Smith to talk about seasonal scents, the brand's origins and the role of design identity.
Could you share with us the inspiration behind the creation of St. Rose, and how your journey began in the world of scent and fragrance?
It’s the story of a customer turned founder - with my Australian roots I have always been more inclined to natural beauty but I when it came to fragrance I couldn't find a perfume that was both cleanly formulated and sustainably principled while also maintaining performance and sophistication (to each their own nose). My career working in both luxury and high-street fashion, where I acquired a keen understanding of a product's creation process (that is too often at a cost to people and planet), gave me the added desire and also know-how to create something better.
St. Rose is both named for and inspired by the Patron Saint of Gardeners and with the ethos to create in harmony with nature. Our compositions are crafted with the highest-quality and responsibly sourced natural ingredients to deliver luxurious, long-wearing and the most cleanly formulated perfumed products possible.
St. Rose seems to embody a unique blend of elegance and sustainability. How did you manage to strike this balance in your brand's ethos, and why was it important to you?
I think it’s what today’s consumer wants, or even expects. That uncompromising expectation is what led me down this path in the first place. Our desire is for customers to first discover the ST. ROSE collection by falling in love with our products and fragrances and then becoming brand loyalists because of our clean formulations and conscious approach from seed to bottle.
The fragrance selection in your perfumes and candles is truly captivating. How do you go about choosing or formulating the scents that become part of the St. Rose collection?
The idea for a new scent comes from so many different sources of inspiration - travel, art, films, music, and always being in nature. Selfishly new products often start from something I personally wish existed in the world and as we’ve grown we also really lean into our engaged community.
Being highly visual, once I have an idea in my head I always start working on a mood board which helps me translate the vibe I am hoping to achieve. I also love working with playlists as music is the other invisible art form and a powerfully transportive tool like scent.
I feel so blessed to with some of the most talented perfumers in the world, with me creative directing a concept and allowing the artists to wield their fragrant paintbrushes to bring the compositions to life.
From the beginning there is always a discussion on raw materials, both notes that will play a starring role and also how we can most leverage the sustainable library of aromatic materials on the perfumers’ palette.
The collaboration process of fine tuning a composition can take months to years before a scent is ready to launch into the universe. Once I cannot stop wearing a particular mod, is typically when I know we have a winner.
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the world of consumer goods. How has St. Rose integrated sustainable practices into both your product offerings and your brand's operations?
Our collection of conscious luxury perfumes and candles are composed using over 97% natural ingredients of the highest-quality and with responsibly sourcing. Every ingredient we use is ethically harvested, organic when possible, and sourced with traceability from its native region for the purest quality and minimal environmental stress. We also incorporate the innovation of green science, including our exclusive palette of upcycled raw materials, with the use of skin-safe aroma molecules when there is a hypoallergenic or environmental need. Our products are all vegan, cruelty-free & Leaping Bunny Certified. Consumers can find every ingredient in our formulas online at st-rose.com.
We are also a female-founded and female-led 1% For The Planet business on a mission to rewrite an outdated beauty narrative as a wellness story for both people and planet by giving back to conservation groups for every bottle sold.
St. Rose's packaging is as beautifully designed as the products themselves. Could you tell us about the design process and the role it plays in conveying your brand's identity?
Thank you! I personally still design all of the components of our packaging. Knowing I wanted to offer gender-neutral fragrances it was important from the beginning to create a product that could sit on anyone’s shelf. I also wanted a very pared back design inspired by our desire to highlight the purity of the composition inside.
We prioritise eco-friendly and responsibly sourced packaging materials resulting in a renewed approach to modern luxury. The parfum glass bottle, metal cap and pump are crafted in Nice, France. Labels and boxes are constructed in the USA and cut from FSC Certified paper ensuring no virgin forest are ever used.
Scent is so innately personal to each individual. When it comes to selecting a scent that will embody one's spirit, or fill ones home or personal space, what are some tips for choosing the right one for us?
Such a good question! Discovering a new scent can be very much like dating, it’s best to take one’s time and while first impressions are always key - stay open to surprises beneath the surface. Perfumes are actually constructed with three layers often presented as a pyramid of top, middle, and base notes.
These top notes, middle notes (also called the heart) and base notes unfold over time, with the immediate impression of the top note leading to the deeper middle notes, and the base notes gradually appearing as the final stage. Sometimes the full character of what a perfume will ultimately smell like doesn’t fully emerge and reveal itself for up to 20 minutes. Patience is key and don’t be too quick to make an initial judgement.
The other key is that a particular perfume will perform differently on each individual. Our own unique pH will hold and carry a scent uniquely. Be sure to actually try a perfume on. I love revisiting fragrances throughout the year as our skin’s pH changes with the seasons.
How can we preserve the life of our candles?
Another great question. A few best practices …
1. We suggest to allow the candle to burn after the very first light for two hours in order to allowing for an even pool of wax.
2. Enjoy subsequent burns for between one and four hours at a time for best results.
3. I personally prefer to smother the flame using a candle snuffer.
4. Center the wick after extinguishing the candle and keep candle wick trimmed to ¼ of an inch at all times to both reduce soot and a high flame.
5. Repurpose the vessel by freezing the candle for a few hours, before removing and discarding any remaining wax.
Do you cycle through scents seasonally (or with your changing mood/location, etc)? What are your favourite springtime fragrances or scents?
All of the above! I love, wear, and rotate between all of the fragrances in our collection. My mood absolutely sways what I spray on each morning. For something calming I love the grounding woods in Desert Nomad. For an invigorating scent I reach for Gypsy Cowboy but I also feel like perfume for me has always completed an outfit. If I’m wanting something classic it’s Juliet In White, sexy then Vigilante, to dress up my daily jeans + t-shirt ensemble I wear Terre Rouge.
Our fresh offerings of Circa 91, Grand Larceny, and Flower Tuxedo have been favourites during the warmer spring and summer months.
All photographs courtesy of St. Rose.