ST. Rose is a brand steeped in conscious luxury, with a suite of scents that are reminiscent of your fondest memories. Founder, Belinda Smith, is one of those extremely inspiring individuals - pioneering sustainable business in the perfume industry. Australian born and now based in the US, we chat to Belinda about the inspiration behind her brand, her new journey into motherhood &, of course, travel...
Tell us, where are you from & where are you right now?
Originally from Queensland, Australia I grew up in the US where I still currently live. I am writing this from our holiday home on the coast of South Carolina, a lovely beachside reprieve from the bustle of city life.
Your business and personal journey is so inspiring, tell us about your move from Australia to the US and how that inspired you to start St. Rose?
Thanks so much. I was little when my family moved to the United States. We were living on a property near the quiet town of Warren, located on the Macquarie River, in New South Wales before our journey across the pond. My first memories of life were being able to run outside my back door with seemingly endless places to explore. Roaming that wide-open playground cultivated my love for nature as well as a fascination with the aromatic essences of the Earth’s botanical plants and flowers … which later as I stepped off a plane in a strange new world became a way to embark on instantaneous travel back home. Growing up between two beautiful countries, the power of scent became a powerful transportive tool to close the gap between my worlds. Gum leaves will always smell really comforting and wisteria makes me think of my grandmother’s garden. A mandarin rind reminds me of sneaking one too many from my grandfather’s citrus trees. Perhaps one of my favourite attributes of fragrance is its ability to unlock memories, to make us dream and send us traveling back in time or to faraway places.
I was inspired to start ST. ROSE from my own experience as a consumer hunting for something I couldn't find. As a lifetime lover of fragrance, uncovering a whitespace at the intersection of clean, conscious, and luxury took me from being a customer to becoming a founder.
2020 and beyond has been an interesting transition for the world, what has the COVID Pandemic made you really appreciate about travel?
I was very spoiled before 2020 to spend a lot of time traveling both for work and leisure. I certainly had a perspective that the world was (and would remain) readily accessible … wherever and whenever we wished to travel was possible.
Then suddenly that changed almost overnight with international borders closing. Even worse, like so many Australians living abroad, I couldn’t get home and it’s been such a painful and even anxiety-inducing feeling to be indefinitely separated from a place and the people there that I love. I am so ecstatic that we can finally look ahead into the not-so-distant future when borders open again. I cannot wait to explore the world once more, a gift to not take for granted. I’ll certainly be savoring every moment … and likely planning to travel a bit more often and stay a bit longer.
You’re a new mum (congratulations!). What do you hope to teach your little one about the world and the importance of travel?
Thank you! It’s been the most magical adventure becoming a mum to this beautiful and very busy baby boy. I hope to teach him to never lose the wide-eyed curiosity and eagerness to experience that world that he has right now. I also hope to instill an openness to possibilities and to be receptive to discovering new interests, places, people, and cultures. Travel absolutely is the key to unlock that door of discovery, especially discovery of self.
How are you finding your new role as a mother? Are you taking time off from the business?
I absolutely love it! Truly the greatest journey of my life to become a mum. I am constantly amazed by this little bub and how quickly he is changing.
As a founder you don’t have the luxury to take time away from the business, but I am very thankful for our amazing teams both in New York and Sydney as things in my immediate have had to make room for this new season of motherhood. You learn so much about yourself through any change and motherhood is certainly no exception! It has been a complete shift in pace which I am meeting with a lot of grace. I have always been one to pack an unrealistic amount into each day so I am learning to be more lenient of expectations and to let go of perfectionist tendencies. Ha, there is truly just no time for the latter at the moment!
Favourite place you’ve travelled & why?
As an old soul I love the history of Europe. Paris and London are at the top of the list. I love wandering the streets of both cities and getting lost inside of their gardens and museums. South Africa might be my absolute favourite though and I cannot wait to get back. We did several incredible safaris on wildlife preserves. The flora and fauna are just out of this world. The definition of wild and learning from local conversationalists made me more of a passionate environmentalist. A trip that has left me forever changed. The best kind of travel, right?
And your dream destination?
Currently I am simply dreaming of sitting under a pandanus tree at the beach on the Sunshine Coast with my mum. Then after a trip home to hug my family and soak up my favourite sights, sounds and smells of Australia, I cannot wait to tick some new destinations off the list – Thailand, Japan and Spain have been high up on my wanderlust for some time now.
5 things that are always in your suitcase?
Sunscreen, sunnies, a good pair of comfortable walking shoes to explore in, my favourite leather jacket (just in case), and one of the many books I am aching to find time to read.
How do you bring the essence of travel into your home?
Always with scent. It’s the most magical souvenir. I’ve always loved stocking up on artisanal soaps while on holiday to fill my basin or even cupboard drawers with. Buying a perfume on holiday is also a fun way to bring the trip home with you and keep those blissful holiday vibes going with each spritz. My husband and I still have a huge stash of incense we purchased on our first trip to Mexico together. We both love lighting them when we want to feel ourselves submerged back under the sun of Tulum. It’s also really fun to purchase local spices or culinary treats to come home and cook with to fill your home, and belly with the holiday magic.