Meet the founder behind our favourite summer scent - Belinda talks sustainability, giving back & the future of St Rose with Public Figure Founder Bella Zito.
Public Figure Founder - Bella Zito: I spent a summer in university working at a cult Australian cosmetic empire (you know the one). One of the first areas I was drawn to was fragrance. It has a unique ability to create connections and enhance memories. The most stunning fact I learnt was the lack of natural, sustainable perfume options - It seemed to be the one area of cosmetics that hadn’t caught up yet.
When I was introduced to St Rose I was amazed to see a perfume label so deeply rooted in sustainability. It comes as no surprise Belinda’s considered approach comes from years working in the luxury cosmetics industry in New York. Rigorously selecting each ingredient culminating in the perfect composition of 6 perfumes.
Months into our partnership, I have completely updated my perfume collection to St Rose and almost exclusively wear Circa 91 and Vigilante.
I love Circa 91 for its evocation of European summers. The androgynous scent has a fresh feel with top notes of bergamot and lemon uplifted by a heart of patchouli, iris and jasmine.
My evening scent Vigilante is darker and more sensual. With a fresh top notes of bergamot and Cypress, it is complemented with upcycled rose concentrate, Ylang Ylang and jasmine.
We chatted to Belinda herself about sustainability, giving back & the future of St Rose.
BZ: What is most important to you in running a slow perfumery?
BS: I truly believe you cannot rush art and fragrance is inherently a slow artform. The journey of our natural parfums begins with a seed. From field to the bottle, each botanical essence on our perfumer’s palette is then carefully selected and blended to achieve a harmonious composition. Finding the perfect balance of these individual aromatic notes can take months, even years.
Working in harmony with nature has always been paramount to me, that intention is what inspired our name – for the Patron Saint of Gardeners. We are guided by that ethos in being mindful about both how we create and in what we choose to put out into the world …
BZ: How do you ensure your ingredients are sustainably and ethically sourced?
BS: From day one transparency and traceability have been pillars of our brand. We prioritize working with ingredients that are sourced directly from cooperatives and farmers at origin. Sourcing at origin not only ensures that we support farms and their communities that cultivate in a way that aligns with our values, but it also secures the supply chain and the quality of these natural ingredients.
BZ: What is your favourite ingredient to use in fragrances and why?
BS: Sandalwood, not only is it an incredible aromatic material to work with but it also has beautiful ancient spiritual meaning. In fact, we currently have six distinct scents from fresh aromatics to sensuous woods in our collection and they share a common note which is our signature sandalwood that we proudly source from a sustainable Western Australian farm that is 50% indigenous owned. Choosing to anchor our collection with this gorgeous natural ingredient was a mindful decision at the beginning of our brand’s journey after meeting our friends at our sandalwood farm and discovering the incredible rich history of this aromatic note - burning the wood in sacred rituals, the smoke is believed to calm and protect mind, body, and soul.
We’ve distilled the ancient wisdom of sandalwood’s transcendent and protective properties as a signature note as a simple way to not only support this incredible community but to also ground the beautiful philosophy of connection with self, soul and nature into one’s daily ritual.
For every ST. ROSE purchase we proudly donate to the farm’s local community through the K. Farmer Dutjahn Foudation. Our hope to use our platform to share the inspiring history of our friends at Kutkabubba and the significant environmental impact their cultural and ecological knowledge is having on climate change.
BZ: How does nature and travel inspire your work?
BS: I love travel and have been really lucky to have had the opportunity to explore the world since I was a small child. I have a big appreciation for culture and especially the local foods and historic arts tied to a specific place. Travel always reinvigorates me. I could simply be a voyeur walking around a new place with eyes wide open to have my creative cup filled for months. While experiencing new geographies and discovering the sights, sounds and smells unique to a locale is the greatest inspiration, nature is absolutely my biggest muse. The smell of the air just before a rainstorm, the earthy greenness of a forest, sweet florals of a garden …I don’t know if you could be in this industry without a grand love affair with nature.
BZ: What is your most worn ST. ROSE scent?
BS: Truly I love and wear them all but Desert Nomad is a favourite child in the collection because of how it was inspired and the intention behind it. Named in honour and with permission of our friends at our sandalwood farm, the Martu Indigenous community, whose ancestors are the last known nomadic people living in the vast central desert of Australia.
I am also layering Desert Nomad and Grand Larceny at the moment which is pretty dreamy.
BZ: We love prioritising self-care at Public Figure. What is your favourite form of self-care?
BS: Listening to music, long walks outside, yoga, an ocean swim, or being in the garden.
I’ve also started putting into practice a concept learned from reading “The Artist’s Way” which is to have creative dates to reinspire, or often in my case a way to release some pent-up energy. Visiting a gallery, taking a painting class or a nature walk with an old film camera.
BZ: What is your proudest achievement?
Becoming a mum earlier this year. It has completely rocked my world in the most beautiful way. Career-wise, being nominated for The Fragrance Foundation’s Indie Fragrance of the Year Award, the industry’s top honour for olfactive works of art. To sit beside such iconic names as such a young brand was definitely a pinch-me moment.
BZ: What change do you want to see in the perfume industry?
BS: More transparency, I’d love to see other brands also share their ingredients more openly with the spirit of sustainability in mind. I am also excited to see more innovations around packaging, single use sampling in particular.
BZ: What’s in the future for ST. ROSE?
BS: We have some really exciting projects underway and I cannot wait to share them. There will be new scents and even within entirely new categories continuing to build our brand within the intersection of beauty and wellness … for both people and planet.