A good brand is a reflection of it’s maker, and we love getting to know the people behind our favorite clean food and beauty brands. Bee Shapiro is the thoughtful and stylish founder of Ellis Brooklyn. I wear her RROSE almost every day (think musk, peony, rhubarb — and rose).
If you’ve not yet switched to a clean perfume, this is your reminder to give it some thought. Scent is one of the least regulated personal care products or ingredients and, as something you wear every day, it should be high up your priority list for a non-toxic swap. I find that so many people switch to cleaner products category by category. If that’s you, note that your perfume should be one of the first things you address. Learn the full story HERE.
Meet Bee below, and get inspired as we chat scent memories, perfumes and her favorite Brooklyn haunts…
Meet Bee Shapiro of Ellis Brooklyn…
Describe Ellis Brooklyn in a nutshell. We’re an innovative fragrance company with modern values.
Favorite product from Ellis Brooklyn: MYTH is the fragrance I created for myself and it still is my hands down favorite. It’s not a scent that screams at you. It’s a subtle white musk that lingers and invites you to come a little closer.
First scent memory: The smell of snow! We had moved from Taiwan to Seattle and I distinctly remember my first experience with snow on Mt. Rainier. There’s a picture of me somewhere hugging a huge snow chunk.
Favorite scents in general: I still love the smell of first snow. I also love the smell of baking and home—anything vanilla or chocolate. I love the crisp air on the mountains at the start of a ski day, or on the polar opposite, the smell of sunscreen with salty skin. If we’re talking perfumes, then I love bergamot and vetiver. They are two magical ingredients that I can’t get enough of.
Best way to make perfume last: The best way is to prep with an oil or super hydrating base. I like to think of it as self-pampering your skin before putting on scent. It makes perfume more of a pleasurable ritual. I’ve always thought of scent as deeply tied to pleasure so I try to incorporate as many sensorial elements as I can to the entire experience.
What I’ve learned in clean beauty so far: It’s not easy! There are reasons why beauty brands have done it one way for a long time. There are cost reasons but also stability, expected performance and more. It’s a battle for clean beauty brands to go against the grain of this.
What I’ve learned launching my own brand: As they grow, brands take on a life of their own. What you planned for and thought your brand was going to be isn’t necessarily exactly how it turns out. It’s very much like a child in that way. I like to call Ellis Brooklyn my third kid actually!
Three keys people should know about clean fragrance: Natural light notes like citruses are not meant to last all day. We’ve been trained that some fresh notes should last all day. If they are clean ingredients, they shouldn’t.
Clean fragrance to us is not a debate between natural or synthetic. The truth is, with what we can do in the lab today, the categorization between natural and lab-created is a spectrum. A lot of naturally-derived or synthetic ingredients are more sustainable and sometimes also safer. Natural does not mean safe or non-irritating. A natural fragrance ingredient often has more allergens.
Game changing skincare/beauty products: We launched the face cream of my dreams lately—it’s called Satisfying Skin Caring Moisturizer because it’s extremely pleasing to use—and I layer that over a serum. I like the SkinBetter Science Even Tone Serum or the Glo Skin Beauty EGF Drops that my dermatologist Dendy Engelman helped formulate. I’m a big fan of the Omorovicza Ultramoor Mud Mask. I recently tried the Ultraceuticals face wash and it’s brilliant—cleansing but not drying.
Top clean makeup picks: The Westman Atelier blushes and highlighters are so pretty. I use the Peau de Peche Super Loaded Highlighter all the time. Saie has gorgeous skin-enhancing products like their tinted SPF and the Glowy Super Gel. I use the gel on the tops of my cheeks and cupid’s bow. With the dry winter weather, I’ve been reaching for Ilia’s Balmy Lip Oil— so hydrating and not sticky at all.
Tell us why you included Brooklyn in the name: I was living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn when I founded the line and it was a certain era in time in Williamsburg then. New York has so many pockets of culture and action happening and each one of those has an era and timing as well. For me, so much of Ellis Brooklyn is still inspired by that moment in time. There were so many entrepreneurs. There were also writers, photographers, DJs, models, parents, kids and more. It wasn’t this super young neighborhood. It was a neighborhood of very successful creatives, many of whom were top of their field.
Fave Brooklyn haunts: Brooklyn has so many spots now! I still love Lilia (shown above) on a cold night for a cozy pasta meal. Rule of Thirds is newer, but just transportive. Hotel Delmano is still where I like to go best for a cocktail.
Best gift ideas this year: I’ll be gifting our gorgeous scented candles wherever I go this season. I also love gifting subscriptions because there’s a little reminder each month that’s coming from you. As we get older, I find it’s tougher with everyone’s busy schedules to stay in touch. I’ll be gifting wine subscriptions to Matthiasson, a woman-owned winery that’s a sustainability leader, monthly donations for a year to the Well/Beings Charity to save the Mangroves, and also the Goldbelly 3-month subscription that sends something yummy from some top food places. Wine, delicious food and amazing scent, plus a nod to mother nature is my gifting theme.