As a fashion design and merchandising graduate, with a decade of fit modeling experience as well, Amanda Meyer may not strike you as a typical fragrance brand owner. Then again, her mission with Elia Parfum goes beyond the product. The brand’s first scent, Elia No. 1, (available in a perfume oil and candle format) is a floral blend of orange blossom, gardenia, jasmine, tuberose, musk, and amber—and 10% of every sale is donated to A21, a global nonprofit working to combat human sex trafficking. It is a far cry from the fantastical and aspirational focuses of fragrance. The industry has seen a rise in socially conscious brands like The 7 Virtues and Sana Jardin, which support local communities through business initiatives, but Elia Parfum is the first fragrance company to draw attention to sex trafficking.
BeautyMatter sat down with Meyer to discuss lockdown revelations, products with purpose, and upcoming launches.
What inspired your shift from fashion to the fragrance industry?
To me, fashion and the fragrance industry go hand in hand. When it comes down to it, it’s really about how you feel in what you’re “wearing.” As a fit model, I got to try on hundreds of outfits a day, and I would also know which clothes would sell out because I remember how I felt wearing them.
But, while I love fashion, I knew that there was meant to be a deeper purpose for my life. In creating Elia Parfum, I wanted to develop a fragrance that not only makes women feel their absolute best, but also enhances their mood and uplifts their spirit. A 10% donation from every sale is donated to A21, a global nonprofit working to rescue and restore the lives of human trafficking victims. I felt called to do more and, in the end, that is what motivated me to make the shift.
Why did you decide to specifically focus on the cause of sex trafficking?
This is a tough question, because I know it’s a very difficult subject. The short answer is that my heart absolutely breaks for the women and children victimized. I just can’t imagine my body being used against my will and having control of my life taken away from me … could you? I have a burning desire deep in my spirit to help end human trafficking. I know this desire is a gift from God. He has fueled me with the will and dedication to make an impact on the lives of women everywhere!
Often fragrance is built around the concept of fantasy and escapism, but Elia Parfum keeps a firm grip on reality with its ethos. Were you nervous about launching with such a strong message?
I was nervous launching PERIOD. It took me four years to build up the confidence to launch Elia, and I can’t even take credit! It wasn’t until COVID, when the fashion industry just closed and I had a lot more time to look inward and ask myself some deep questions. “What do I want to do with my life and how am I going to get there?” The lockdown really helped open my eyes and follow the passion that was inside my heart.
What is the one thing you think the general public does not know about human trafficking?
It’s everywhere! I think a lot of people aren’t aware that human slavery still exists, and it is shockingly prevalent. There are some general signs of human trafficking, but many of us don’t know how to recognize those signs or, if they do, may choose not to “deal with it” or get involved. My hope is that more of us become informed to identify the signs, raise awareness, and NOT walk away from doing something about it! You never know, one day you could save a stranger’s life.
How did you create the debut fragrance?
Lots of time as well as trial and error. I’ve always loved wearing perfume as a way to express my mood. When I first sprayed Elia No. 1, I went out to dinner and couldn’t even make it to our table before a few people stopped me to ask what perfume I was wearing and where could they get it—I knew then and there that I had created something special and bottled it immediately!
Is the perfume all-natural or a blend of natural and synthetics?
We are paraben, sulfate, phthalate, phosphate, and gluten free. We are also vegan as well as cruelty free. Our fragrance is a blend of clean synthetics. We’re also proudly made in the USA.
How does No. 1’s scent profile empower women?
I sincerely believe that when you smell your best, you feel your best! The scent profile of No. 1 starts off fresh with a top note of orange blossom. The floral heart opens with intoxicating jasmine, tuberose, and gardenia. Our base notes of musk, amber, sandalwood, and vetiver ground out the fragrance so you feel confident and fabulous. The best part is knowing your donation is going to help rescue women and children from sex trafficking.
How did you fund the launch?
I had set aside some money from when I was a fit model. It’s also important to start small and scale from there. I’m a huge believer that success will come when you have a great product and if you really believe in it. You don’t need a lot of money to make money. Follow your dreams and stay determined!
What has the feedback been?
Amazing. Some days I have to pinch myself when I read the reviews from our customers. I had one woman call me to say the perfume changed her life, and that conversation literally brought tears to my eyes. It was so moving to find out that I was actually making a difference in someone’s life! Since we are sold online only, it’s difficult to try the scent, which is why we offer the mini—our version of a sample—so people can test it out. It’s an easy way to sample Elia for only $20, we offer free shipping, and 10% is donated to victims of human trafficking.
What projects do you have planned for the future?
More fragrances and more products! I’m so excited to launch a new scent this summer inspired by my summers spent on the Amalfi Coast. We also have a new holiday fragrance launching at the end of 2021. Stay tuned!