For Acca Kappa president Elisa Gera, the process of creating a new fragrance is a romantic one.
“I live in nature. I try to find the fragrances in my garden, between my plants. I would bring flowers to the noses and tell them, ‘I want something like this.’”
Gera’s garden is vast—six hectares, she tells us—and, like their brand, it has been their family’s for years. It is home to 400 species of roses, herbs like sage and mint, grape vines, olive trees, lemon trees and linden trees, which inspired Tilia Cordata, one of Acca Kappa’s newest scents.
“They’re very big trees, you can find them in most villas. They blossom at this time of the year. They’re very nice. They remind me of my memories.”
It took them two years to replicate the scent of linden flowers. The result is a dreamy and slightly musky fragrance—a mixture of Italian lemon and bergamot, petit grain, neroli, linden blossom, magnolia, jasmine rose and cedarwood—that can be worn by men and women. “It’s fresh but floral at the same time,” said Gera.
She was wearing Tilia Cordata when we met her three weeks ago. Gera was in the Philippines to introduce Acca Kappa’s latest fragrances. “I’m very happy to be back. Whenever I come here, I really feel at home. I really like the Philippines, the people are very nice, very friendly,” she said.
Acca Kappa has been in the Philippines for 15 years now. “It’s important. It’s quite a big market for us. We like working with Rustan’s very much.”
On her visit, Gera was able to see Acca Kappa’s boutique in Central Square BGC for the first time. “It’s very nice,” she said.
Tilia Cordata is now available at the boutique and at Rustan’s The Beauty Source,with the other two scents she unveiled—Vaniglia Fior di Mandorlo and Black Pepper & Sandalwood.
Gera said, “The Vaniglia scent is very oriental and sweet. Black Pepper is a spicy, woody fragrance.”
Black Pepper & Sandalwood—a sensual and spicy mix of bergamot, davana, fir balsam, elemi, nutmeg, cloves, Damascus rose, cinnamon and black pepper—just won the independent category of the 2015 Art and Olfaction Awards.
The fragrances are good for layering—something Gera wants people to do.
“The Black Pepper & Sandalwood is nice mixed with the Vaniglia Fior di Mandorlo. It’s a very nice blend. I think layering scents is interesting because in this way everybody can create their own fragrance. It’s personal. If you want it sweeter, you can put more Vaniglia; if you want it more spicy, you wear more Black Pepper. The Black Pepper is also nice with the White Moss, it’s a very nice mixture.”
White Moss, Acca Kappa’s first fragrance, was inspired by Gera’s trip to Cyprus. Before her reign as president, Acca Kappa, which was established in Venice by Gera’s great-great-grandfather in 1869, was known primarily for creating quality hairbrushes.
Her decision to add fragrances turned out to be an inspired one.
The world—including the Philippines—continues to embrace White Moss, with many people claiming it as their signature scent.
“People just love it. It’s so fresh, it’s unisex. It reminds me of the summer and it has a mixture of herbs that come from the Mediterranean region—eucalyptus, juniper, lavender.”
Lifestyle of Italy
Today, the brand offers brushes, fragrances, hair and skin care products and so much more.
“Acca Kappa is a lifestyle brand, we want to bring the lifestyle of Italy, the Italian home to the world—the fragrances, the brushes, the candles, the shoes that you can wear at home, brooms… There are a lot of other products for the house, for the well-being that we want to include in our selection.”
Acca Kappa’s home fragrances diffusers are popular, too—and they just introduced five new ones: Vaniglia Fior di Mandorlo, Black Pepper & Sandalwood, Hyacinth, Foglie d’ Edera and Lily of the Valley.
“Some of the home fragrances are inspired by our perfumes, some are not,” said Gera. We’d be the first in line to buy Lily of the Valley if they decide to turn it into a perfume.
Gera said, “People can use different fragrances in different rooms. Softer in the dining room, more flowery in the bedroom… it depends on their taste and on the season. During Christmas time, it’s nice to use more spicy fragrances.”
Despite its continuous growth, Acca Kappa remains a family business, one that refuses to give in to the lures of big corporations. “They all try to buy niche brands. They came to us many times but of course, it’s not our interest because ours is a family business, it has been in our family for so many years that it’s not something that we can sell. It’s more than work, you know. It’s heritage.”
As Gera continues her quest to bring Acca Kappa to more countries while finding the balance between tradition and innovation, she is guided by the biggest lessonshe learned from her grandfather. “The most important value is the quality of the products. It’s really difficult to find products like this.Most products are part of big global companies and they just look at numbers. We don’t care about numbers, we just want quality.”
And have her two children shown interest in the business too?
“My daughter is 14, she’s very much into fashion. My 7-year-old boy, he’s already asking me, ‘Why don’t you make a fragrance like Superman?’ How am I going to do that?” Gera said with a laugh.
Find Acca Kappa at Central Square Mall in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, and Rustan’s The Beauty Source.