Dimitri Weber is the Founder and CEO of Goldfield & Banks, his quickly-growing niche fragrance house, inspired by Australia's flora and rich olfactory experiences. Dimitri brings a perfume-adoring childhood in France, many years of working with luxury fragrance houses and a love of Australia to the creative direction of his brand. More about G&B from Dimitri himself...
Q. What initially led you into the world of fragrance?
A. I remember that when I was about six, I used to choose my mother’s perfumes, and my teachers started asking me for fragrance advice when I was a couple of years older. I’ve just always had an interest in perfumes and the emotions they can create.
Q. What was the most important thing you learned when working for larger brands such as YSL and Tom Ford (not to mention Narciso Rodriguez, Issey Miyake and Jean Paul Gaultier)?
A. I learned so much! Things like excellence, determination, the passion to keep going, and the refusal to take no for an answer. This is a challenging and fast-paced industry, and you have to be demanding and have a sharp eye for details if you want your customers to experience real luxury and the pleasure of wearing a beautiful perfume that will be for them a memorable moment. Perfume is emotion.
Q. Why did you "leave it all behind" and relocate to Australia?
A. I have always been driven by my passion for perfumes so when visiting Australia for the first time and discovering its beauty and its botanical richness it made sense to me to settle down here and create from scratch a perfume brand using unknown Australian native ingredients such as Buddha Wood, Boronia and Blue Cypress. The country didn’t have a perfume brand featuring all these essences and celebrating all the beauty of this country, so I jumped on the opportunity and made sure to be the first Australian luxury perfume house.
Q. How would you describe the spirit of Goldfield & Banks?
A. Goldfield & Banks has always had a spirit of adventure at its core. Paired with the luxury of wearing Australia’s finest native botanicals on your skin, I think this captures the spirit of our brand. It’s exotic and probably the most transportive perfume brand in the industry, and moreover it’s the furthest away from all the other perfume houses geographically.
Q. Can you tell us about specific Australian plants that you find enchanting, from an olfactory perspective?
A. One that really captured my attention from the start was Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum). It’s a well-known ingredient in the perfume industry nowadays because Indian sandalwood was harvested to the point where it’s become endangered. Australian sandalwood has a rich olfactory profile that is unmatched by any other species, and it’s also such a characteristic smell of this country.
Q. Since you include special botanical ingredients in your fragrances, we'd love to hear your thoughts on sustainability and any advances you might know of in this area.
A. I’m glad you brought this up. Australia is in a unique position as far as sustainability goes, as growers here are regulated more than those in a lot of other parts of the world. We always ensure that our growers engage in sustainable and ethical practices – for example Dutjahn, which is 50% owned by indigenous people in Western Australia and has a real respect for the trees they grow and the land that nurtures them.
Q. We read that you grew up on a boat in France. Are there smells that make you nostalgic for that time, and do you reference any of them in your fragrances?
A. The scent of water on a river or the ocean in springtime – it brings me straight back to my childhood and makes me very emotional, especially after my father passed away. I don’t want to be reminded of these moments in my perfumes, but I sometimes search for them outdoors in nature. I know exactly when and where to find those scents that bring me back to all those beautiful memories of a united family.
Q. How does your creative process work when developing a new scent?
A. Ideas for new perfumes normally come to me when I’m traveling to meet local growers. It’s these times spent exploring the botanicals and their essences first-hand that I find most inspiring and enriching.
Q. You launched Goldfield & Banks in 2017 and it seems to have very quickly become a favorite niche house amongst perfume-lovers. To what do you attribute the fast uptake of the brand?
A. The soft launch in Australia was actually in November 2016, but we didn’t take off in the fragrance community until 2017. I like to think that the reason people have responded so positively to Goldfield & Banks is that the brand is built on genuinely inspiring exotic natural essences, and also that it encourages people to dream of this land far beyond the horizon.
I am so grateful for all the people who have contributed to the success of my brand. And there is no secret – perfumery is ultimately about the scent, and no matter how much marketing and money you put behind a brand, it’s the emotion that you offer that will make it successful. I create for my customers and not for myself.
Q. On a completely different note, what does a perfect day off in Sydney look like for you, and what fragrance would you wear?
A. I really love to relax by walking around the beaches near where I live, absorbing the sunlight and breathing in the marine scents of the ocean, which seems to smell slightly different every day. Pacific Rock Moss is of course the perfume I wear on such days because its beauty is enhanced by the natural scents of the sea.
Q. Can you tell us about any upcoming new Goldfield & Banks fragrances or other exciting projects?
A. I shouldn’t say too much, but I can say that we are launching Sunset Hour, a perfume currently exclusive to Australia, all around the world in February next year. We are creating some new perfumes right now, including a new addition to the Botanical Series [Silky Woods is the first in the series] featuring a pure, locally-harvested lavender from Tasmania, but you’ll have to wait a while for these new perfumes.