After an extraordinary career as a corporate executive developing fragrances at Estée Lauder Companies, Veronique Gabai decided to launch her own line. In this article, Veronique shares her driving forces and motivations behind making her dream come true.
Inspiring Women: Veronique Gabai
Q: Since we’re celebrating International Women’s Month, we’d love to hear about any female mentors who’ve inspired you in your life.
Veronique Gabai: Many. I think women have in them the life force, the power of love, compassion, joy, strength, and resilience.
I was always attracted by strong and complex women. As a kid, my hero was Athena, goddess of wisdom, philosophy, and strategic warfare. I was fascinated by Cleopatra, her rise to power and her ambition. My mother was an extraordinary influence, for her determination and her demanding sense of aesthetics.
Then, women in our industry inspired me to take the path I am on today and certainly open the roads for all of us. To name a few: Estee Lauder, Evelyn Lauder, Chantal Roos, Jeannette Wagner, and many more. They might not know it, but they had a tremendous influence on me. And so, as I go on in life, I always try to give perspective to younger women and a safe place for them to express themselves, so they too, can find their own path.
Q: What was your driving force behind building your own fragrance brand?
V.G.: I had a very successful corporate career, and I loved what I was doing. But I had a growing desire to express my own vision. At some point, it became clear to me that my next logical step in the corporate world was not what I wanted.
I had offers, but just because you can do something does not necessarily mean you should. What was driving me all these years was actually very simple: the rewarding power of creativity and the joy of connecting emotionally with people through scent. I created my brand like an escape into the magical region I come from: The South of France. All my products are inspired by the Mediterranean, crafted around the best of its glorious nature for your well-being. I also wanted to bridge luxury with generosity, hedonism with humanism, welcoming people in, whoever they are, wherever they come from, and allow them to express their personality through scent. We do offer a unique method of layering that helps fine-tune the signature of any scent, as well as a personality test that helps curate a choice in a unique, personalized way.
Finally, as nature and people are at the core of what I do, social responsibility and sustainability became an essential part of the process.
Q: With this past year being so challenging, what has kept you motivated and positive moving forward?
V.G.: Launching your own brand is a lifelong commitment. As tough as this year has been, I would not give up on a dream and on a deep purpose just because life threw us a curve ball. Funnily enough, the values behind the brand, adding “sunshine for the senses and for the soul”, became even more relevant this year. Scent is an escape which we all needed during a year of restrictions.
During COVID-19, I felt scent was becoming important, not for its usual social usage or seductive power, but as a way to feel more relaxed, grounded and peaceful, and as a tool for self-expression. Additionally, the high-quality natural ingredients I use in my line connect you to the greater force of nature. They bring you the power of the plants they come from, they surround you with light and sensuality. They truly make you feel better. As if you were spraying sunshine…. sunshine in a bottle!
Q: What is one thing that you have learned from making mistakes along the way?
V.G.: You learn from everything. Mistakes, if you do realize them, allow you to reflect and grow. I learned to listen more. I am very driven but, sometimes, you must let life drive you if you don’t want to crash.
Q: What excites and inspires you?
V.G.: Nature, people, and art. I draw my energy from nature, my excitement from artistic expressions, and I am moved deeply by people and their life stories.
Q: What advice would you give to other women looking to pursue their own dreams and perhaps launch their own businesses?
V.G.: Know yourself, know what you don’t know so you can surround yourself with talent. Love what you do as it is that passion that will help you overcome the inevitable difficulties. Define what you can bring to the world, for that dream might be yours only at first, but it will become reality only if others want to join you in it.