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An Interview with a Leader in the Natural Fragrance Market

June 11, 2016
Check out our interview with Wendi Berger, the President and Founder of the only certified 100% natural, fine fragrance company on the market, Pour le Monde.  They use only certified 100% natural essential oils and infuse them with a grain alcohol. Here, we discover the reasons why (if you didn’t already know) moms, mom-hopefuls, and moms-to-be should only be wearing 100% natural scents. Chemicals and additives to most other fragrances can really affect your body, as well as your child’s. 
Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 11.58.52 AMCan you tell us a little bit about why you chose to explore more naturally-derived fragrances? When I was pregnant, l became obsessed about what I was allowed and not allowed to consume. It was a long road for us to have a pregnancy that stuck so I was super cautious about everything. I started using 5 free nail polish, what I thought was a natural lotion (and later learned just because it says “naturals” in the marketing doesn’t mean it is!) and really thought I had my beauty regimen safely covered. Then my ob-gyn smelled fragrance on me and said I might want to look into not wearing any. I was pretty shocked because isn’t perfume natural to begin with? I mean doesn’t a flower smell like nature?

That may have been true over a century ago but sadly today it isn’t. When I read up on perfume ingredients and the risks they may impose, I got very angry and started to explore natural scent options. Nothing was exciting to me. Single noted scents and therapeutic oils weren’t my thing (nor were some even natural) plus, I like to spray on a fragrance, not roll on oils. Green beauty was just starting to blossom and I felt like there was a big hole in the marketplace.

How do you manufacture and make your scents safely? Creating certified 100% natural scents that smell beautiful and complex is extremely difficult. First, we only have about 350 notes certified 100% natural. When you compare this limited amount to the thousands in the artificial fragrance library, it’s incredibly challenging for perfume designer to make something pretty. We know. We’ve been there! You need patience, time and a good nose.

There were many moments when I was being directed to use absolutes which are generally safe, just not deemed 100% natural. We use the stringent guidelines set forth by the Natural Products Association, and they don’t deem absolutes as 100% natural, so we don’t use them. Pour le Monde are the safest scents on the market. We do not contain one drop of anything man made! We will not put out fragrances that aren’t a 100% natural, period.

What are your creative and style influences? When I worked at ELLE and InStyle, I’d always admire our fashion editors and colleagues and take cues from them. Living in Manhattan, I get my wardrobe ideas from the street—it’s pretty hard not to!

With fashion, I’m pretty classic and basic. However, I love having a unique statement piece; that one standout that subtly compliments my style. It could be a powerful lipstick, a huge bangle, sparkly drop earrings, an oversized clutch, a wild billowy blouse. I feel that way about fragrance too. Sometimes I want it to be a backdrop, sometimes I want it to be front and center.

I created Pour le Monde’s eau de parfums that way too. Our Empower citrus is invigorating and sporty it’s a great accessory to a pair of jeans, flip flops or yoga pants. Together is an elegant and sophisticated light floral background; a strand of pearls pares nicely with it! And that statement piece? For sure Envision. It’s bold, sensual and screams “I’ve arrived!”

What is the goal of Pour le Monde? Our goal is pretty simple: to give the consumer luxurious alternatives to synthetic fragrances while giving back to the world. While the fragrances are super tough to make, which is why we currently only have three, we have two in development that are fabulous! The goal is to introduce a new one each year.

What would you like to tell women who are pregnant, or who are planning to become pregnant about most of the perfumes that are on the market? We are bombarded with fragrance on a daily basis beyond the perfume we apply. I went to pick up some Swiffer duster refills and now they make them with Fabreeze! The bathroom in our office building has a scent plug in and the products they use to clean are all overpowering. There are scents for the car – even your dishwashing soap leaves an aroma in your glasses. That’s not even including the scents in your shampoos, hair gel and sprays, lotions, soaps, or the fabric softener stuck on your towel. Even “fragrance free” does not mean anything because a scent can be applied to cover up the other scent. That’s so much for us to be breathing in! What you inhale goes to your lungs and migrates to different parts of your body. And all of those so called “beautiful smells” are made from petrochemicals, including synthetic fragrances, which also contain musk. I LOVE how sexy and sensual musk smells an I used to practically marinate in it. But musk has been linked to endocrine disruption as it can really mess with your hormones. It also doesn’t decompose and has been found in aquatic life, streams, breast milk and breast tissue. Do I wonder if musk had something to do with my challenges getting pregnant? You bet. Has it been proven? No, but if something is ‘suspect’ why go there?

So I tell people trying to conceive, those who are pregnant and those with small children (little lungs take in those ‘naughty’ smells and can trigger asthma attacks), unless the fragrance/scent is 100% natural, please be conscious of scents in your products including your perfume. I’d also recommend the same thing if I had a daughter going through puberty. Many of the fragrances targeted to tweens and teens have a concoction of cheap and possible unsafe ingredients that could affect their endocrine system.

How can people buy your scents? Purchases can be made on www.pourlemondeparfums.com. If you want to try us out first, we offer sample packs. If you are near Northside Pharmacy in Williamsburg, we’re sold there. You can also find Pour le Monde at Credo in NoLita and New London in Chelsea.

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What are the types of fragrances women can choose from within the Pour le Monde line? Fragrance always set the tone how I wanted to feel while creating memories and moments. That said, I was ever loyal to just one. I created the Pour le Monde collection that way too. For something that makes me feel refreshed, clean and energized, I wear Empower. It’s a delicious citrus scent infused with spearmint, orange flower and cemented with a woodsy base. I call it my sunshine on a rainy day. It’s unisex and we find a lot of men go nuts for it too!

Our Together fragrance is a beautiful, non-overpowering floral. It is literally perfect for any occasion, any mood. It’s got berries and bergamot on top and the middle is this creamy mix of violets, lilacs, freesia blended with vanilla and woods. I am not a floral fan at all and I just cannot get enough of this scent. It’s very delicate and flirty.

Then there is that statement piece I was referring to earlier and that would be Envision. It’s adored by both men and women as it is an intense, sensual and spicy lavender woodsy mix. It’s perfect for Saturday night or the person that is type A for sure. All of the fragrances work with your own body chemistry, so they will constantly change as you wear them. It’s pretty amazing being able to smell each and every single note as the scent lingers!


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Wendi Berger is the Founder and President of Pour le Monde. Coming from a fashion background at ELLE and InStyle, she decided to focus on creating a safe, non-toxic, pure line of perfumes for those interested in maintaining health and well-being.