Her perfume empire began after the Coachella festival
A mum-of-two has revealed how she built a perfume empire from her garage after being inspired by an exotic scent she encountered on the Coachella dance floor.
Raquel Bouris, 27, from Cronulla in Sydney’s southeast, told FEMAIL she was introduced to a woman at the 2017 festival who “smelled amazing”.
“She was just carrying cheap perfume oil from India – when I got home I couldn’t find it locally, so I ended up buying 40 bottles in bulk,” she laughed.
Raquel Bouris, 27, from Cronulla in Sydney’s southeast started her fragrance business in 2018 after being inspired by a visit to Coachella
It has been a busy four years for Raquel who worked full time for the first two years as she built her business and also started a family – having two children with her partner Adam, pictured
After realizing that it appealed to almost everyone, Raquel decided she wanted to see if she could bottle the perfume as a perfume rather than an oil.
But creating an exact match was impossible due to the complex nature of the fragrance.
Far from being discouraged, the young woman continued to work with her perfumer, and they created His/Her, a perfume that she “absolutely fell in love with” – despite being completely different from the smell that had inspired.
This fragrance, which combines traditional masculine and feminine notes, became the flagship fragrance of his own company, ‘Who is Elijah?’.
His/Her was launched in October 2018 – it took three months to sell the first 150 bottles.
But Raquel was confident in her perfume and had already poured $20,000 into the business, so she was determined to make it work.
“I realized that it would be very difficult to sell a perfume based on a photograph and a very small social network,” she said.
Raquel is now self-employed full-time and sells 3,500 bottles of perfume every week
What are Raquel’s top three tips for starting your own business?
1 – Don’t expect everything to be perfect – When I started, the only thing that was perfect was the scent. The aesthetics of the bottle were definitely not and neither was the packaging – I stamped each box by hand!
2 – Ask for help and advice – but don’t be afraid to choose from what’s on offer
3 – Triple what you think you need for your budget – I didn’t get paid for two years because I reinvested everything in the business
Source Raquel Bouris, Who is Elie? founder
“But I wanted it to work, so I devoted all my free time to the business – always the lunch break and hours before and after work.”
The growth of the business was slow, Raquel still had to work full time to support herself.
She and her partner Adam had also decided to start a family after starting the business and now have a three-year-old child and a newborn.
This meant that she also had to consider her ability to support her family.
Raquel’s trip to Coachella, pictured at the 2017 festival with now husband Adam, inspired her to get into the fragrance business
Raquel, pictured here with Adam, was inspired after smelling ‘amazing’ oil at the festival
In 2020, when the world went into lockdown in response to the Corona Virus, Raquel approached David Jones to stock her perfume.
“They hadn’t had a new fragrance in a long time and decided to stock it in some of their top stores without even smelling it – because they loved the look and loved that it was all Australian,” he said. she stated.
Since then the business has grown much faster, in July 2020 Raquel was able to quit her full-time job to focus on her brand.
After two years of putting everything into the business for two, she was also able to afford herself.
In the second half of 2021, the brand exploded after being taken over by Adore Beauty – now she and her husband are both working full-time at the company and earning better wages than their previous jobs.
Raquel is pictured here with her daughter who was born on Christmas Day in 2021 and says raising a family and a business at the same time meant she had to sacrifice sleep
Raquel is thrilled with the growth of her business after putting so much time and energy into it.
“It hasn’t been easy, we have made a lot of sacrifices – mainly sleeping and missing events if I had given myself a hard deadline,” she said.
“We had the help of our family with our son and also put him in daycare.”
Being stocked at David Jones in 2020 was the mother’s first ‘pinch moment’, the second when she realized Adore Beauty would be placing weekly orders of $30,000.
“They love the fragrances, and so do their customers,” she said.
The company now sells over 3,500 bottles a week and has five flavors in its range.
“At the beginning, I reinvested everything, I invested in marketing, good packaging and in the development of other perfumes.”
His/Her remains the bestseller, but the recent addition “Nomad” is quickly becoming a favorite.
Raquel’s husband quit his full-time job and now works in the business – both are earning more than they were in their last job and are building a financially secure future
Raquel and her husband also sell in the United States – but because the perfume is classified as dangerous goods, it is difficult to ship.
So they are heading to the States – where it all started – to set up a local operation.
Although she was never able to capture the original scent of the oil she fell in love with at Coachella, Raquel is far from disappointed.
“I fell in love with His/Her and a lot of other people too – we sold a ton of them last year – so I believe everything happens for a reason.”
The scents are all unisex – Raquel says they’ve been described as “the most stealthy scent” on the market.
“Wives will bring it home and their husbands will use it as if it were their own.”