Sentier is a pioneering startup offering genderless perfumes, blending innovative scents to craft unique personal narratives.
Could you please tell us about yourself and introduce your startup, Sentier, to our audience?
I’m Alioune, leading the Marketing department at Sentier. Bringing a decade of expertise in the skincare and fragrance industry, complemented by a Master’s degree in Brand & Product Marketing Management from a prestigious French business school. Alongside my dedicated team, we leverage our diverse global experiences to redefine the world of scent.
Sentier, in March 2023, introduced a versatile genderless collection of scents. Rooted in the concept of the Perfume Wardrobe, this collection explores spaces beyond boundaries, blurring lines between the real and unreal, here and there, past and present. The term “Sentier” itself translates to “path” in French.
Each fragrance is designed to evoke confidence, enabling individuals to explore their true potential. Ranging from subtle to daring blends, our scents cater to those seeking to embrace their unique story.
Just as we carefully select an outfit to express our identity, choosing fragrances from the Perfume Wardrobe enhances mood and celebrates individuality. Sentier invites you to articulate your story through scent, shaping an olfactory identity that resonates with your personal journey. Our perfumes are tailored to manifest your vision into reality.
What inspired the concept of Sentier?
In 2010, a Harvard study uncovered that individuals spend 47% of their waking hours daydreaming. The team recognised the desire for escapism and harnessed the power of scent to facilitate this transition. Sentier is inspired by influential thinkers like Gaston Bachelard and artists such as Turner, whose work blends mythology, poetry, and the essence of travel.
Sentier explores the transportive world scent, utilising fragrance as a passage to transport individuals to alternative experiences and realms of imagination. Our fragrance development process revolves around three distinct dimensions: geographical spaces, abstract concepts, and poetic landscapes.
Symbolised by our logo — a window with diverging paths — Sentier extends an open invitation to explore and engage with the world around us. Through our curated collection of scents, we offer pathways to various forms of escapism, whether one wants to be the hero of a romantic saga or the villain in a thriller.
What motivated you to launch Sentier?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, while the world found itself confined within the walls of home, my team and I understood the desire for daydreaming and recognized the power of scents. This global crisis acted as a catalyst, to create a collection of scents that transports us on imaginary journeys. The desire to connect and provide escape through scent was the driving force behind Sentier’s launch.
Could you share the core vision and mission of Sentier?
Our vision is to connect with our community through storytelling and fragrance, believing in their power to evoke emotions, memories and experiences. We aim to build deeper, more personal connections through this approach.
At Sentier, we understand the desire for escapism and daydreaming. Our mission is to create scents that serve as a pathway to this transition.
Can you talk about the initial challenges and difficulties you faced while starting up?
Creating fragrances presented great challenges. One aspect was to absolutely avoid any staining. Another hurdle was effectively conveying the brand’s intricate and complex concept – viewing fragrance as a journey to explore emotions, places, and seasons, and making it relatable to our community.
Each scent has a character of its own, personality and evocations. The challenge was how to make each of these fragrances resonate with a larger group of people.
Additionally, addressing gender neutrality in fragrances proved tough. In an industry accustomed to categorising scents as either feminine or masculine, Sentier sought to break those traditional boundaries, aiming to make the scents appealing to individuals irrespective of who they are. At Sentier, we do not use the labels ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ when relating to scents, and our packaging tends to also reflect this approach.
Who do you consider the primary audience for your services?
Sentier targets a discerning audience – those who value captivating alternatives to mainstream brands. As a designer brand, it specialises in creating perfumes that narrate stories and provide a profound, meaningful bond with both the scent and the individual. Beyond merely presenting a perfume, Sentier endeavours to establish a connection with the fragrance, allowing individuals to express themselves.
What sets Sentier apart from other companies in the same field?
Sentier draws inspiration from thinkers like Gaston Bachelard and artists like Turner, whose works have a strong connection to mythology and poetry. They transport us to imaginary worlds while grounding us in the present and beyond. Sentier’s unique appeal lies in its ability to unlock reveries and forge connections beyond commercial trends. The brand delves into the wisdom of thinkers and philosophers, crafting perfumes that resonate universally. Sentier aims to create a collection of fragrances that speaks to everyone.
Could you describe a typical day at work for you?
I meticulously structure my day by following Dwight D. Eisenhower’s time-management method, categorising tasks into four segments based on their urgency and importance. Tasks deemed unimportant and not urgent are promptly discarded, while those falling under the important and urgent category become the focal point of his first-half workday. As the day progresses, I reserve time for tasks that are important but not urgent, ensuring they receive attention later in the day.
Delegating tasks classified as urgent but not important to colleagues allows for a streamlined workflow. Beyond the routine, I carve out a space for inspiration and creative processes, dedicating the late hours, typically after 11 pm, to develop new strategies or working on creative concepts. Importantly, I recognise the sanctity of family time and refrain from working when at home. Instead, I actively engage with my family, reserving work for the quiet hours after everyone else has gone to sleep, thus striking a harmonious balance between professional and personal life.
Where do you envision Sentier and yourself in the next five years?
In the next five years, Sentier aims to expand its product range, collaborate with creative individuals, and conduct scientific experiments on how perfumes can be linked to the brain and trigger emotions.
What are three pieces of advice you would offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Believe in Your Ideas, It’s crucial to have faith in your ideas; your belief will resonate with others.
Find a work-life balance that suits you. It’s important to spend time with your family and take some time for yourself.
Surround Yourself with the Right People, Choose people who share a common vision. Surround yourself with those who want to see you succeed.
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