A Moment With | Almira Armstrong
Almira Armstrong, founder of Lumira, believes scents can transport you to a vivid memory, taking you to places worth dreaming of. Ever since she was a little girl, the power of scent has been a passionate force in her life - she remembers playing with her mother's perfume from a young age, captivated by the smells. It was in these moments her love for fragrance was first ignited, and it's the same passion which still drives her work today, producing her wonderful products. The Lumira collection includes luxury lifestyle fragrance essentials in scents such as Cuban Tobacco, Tahititian Coconut (our absolute favourite!) and Sicilian Citrus. We caught up with Almira to find out more about her journey.
Hi Almira, tell us about the journey to where you are today - how did you first get into making your beautiful candles? I've had a love affair with fragrance since I can remember and whilst at university I used to make candles for friends as gifts. After university, a career in marketing kept me in creative circles and offered the valuable opportunity to live and work overseas. I worked in the fashion industry to begin with working on brands such as Marcs and Diesel and eventually becoming the General Manager of Sun Studios across Sydney and Melbourne. I always knew I wanted to have my own business and becoming a mum prompted me to rethink the path ahead.
What is your earliest memory of scent? As a child, I loved playing with my mother’s perfume bottles. I would spray them all over and then open the bottles and mix them. Mum wasn’t happy about this, but she did love that I was experimenting!
What is it about scents, especially in the home, which make them so special? Fragrance for me triggers the senses, a memory and even one's emotional state. The thing I really love about fragrance is the power it has over other senses and even our emotional state. I definitely have feelings and memories that are triggered by certain smells, which I find so wonderful. Certain scents have this effect on us through the experiences we have with them, and the emotional state we associate with them.
When we take the time to notice how certain fragrances affect our mood, we can then use those scents to enhance certain experiences or even alter our mood. For me, the smell of jasmine anywhere reminds me of home at summertime, because the gardens around our neighbourhood are full of jasmine. For this reason, I’ll often use jasmine during the colder months of winter to remind me what it feels like to be warm! For a lot of us, citrus notes are energising, which makes our Sicilian Citrus candle perfect during mornings. On the other hand, we just launched a candle called Darsana which contains frankincense and is fantastic for unwinding after a long day.
If you had to choose a favourite scent from your collection, which one would it be? Tuscan Fig has to be my favourite scent as it reminds me of the time my husband and I travelled through Italy together. It was an easy scent to bring to life as the visual and scent memories were so vivid. And it’s now available as a perfume oil, so I get to wear it everyday!
What do you love most about your job? I'm appreciative of being able to balance my work and my kids. I have a six-year-old boy and three-year-old girl. The juggle is real, but it's rewarding to be able to make time for the kids, yet dedicate most of my day to work.
What’s the biggest overall lesson you’ve learned in running a business? The first few months of any business are uncertain but exciting. I spent a lot of time experimenting with our range. This is something I still do, in fact. Initially, I turned to friends and family for valuable feedback, which I used to refine the range before agreeing it was ready to go to market. During the early stages I wore a lot of different hats; one minute you’re working on product development, the next you’re doing a budget, then pitching a potential customer. As I’ve said, while this can be frustrating I think there’s a huge amount of value in getting to know each role when building a business, without letting your time get consumed by the minutiae. As manufacturers of luxury goods, the challenge of scaling the business to support growth, whilst maintaining strict quality standards and attention to detail is never ending!
Which scent are you most proud of? Every scent has a different memory or emotion associated to it but our latest collaboration, The Vow by Lumira x Nicole Trunfio is one I am very proud of. Nicole and I came together over a shared love of scent and the belief that it can evoke emotions and even a particular energy.
As Nicole so eloquently says: 'The Vow could be the vow of love you share with your partner, your family, your children - but most importantly the vow of love that you share with yourself. Self-love harbours lifetimes of happiness and prosperity, inspiring growth and positive change for the world around you and the generations after you'. A sensual blend of rose, magnolia, sandalwood and tobacco, lightened by a citrusy lemon and grapefruit. Deep floral notes combine with a delicate woody spice sure to transform any space into a relaxing sanctuary. The scent was developed with mothers in mind - to celebrate the intrinsic and unconditional love they have for themselves and for others – but more importantly, as a reminder to find a moment of still for themselves.
What’s your no-fail-go-to when you need inspiration or to get out of a creative rut? Go for a walk as you never know what is around the corner. There is so much inspiration in nature, streets, people and more.
What are you most looking forward to in 2018? I have a work trip planned for July and I have a week off in Puglia so I am looking forward to enjoying the Italian coast and eating some amazing food!
I usually wake up at: 6am.
My perfect day would involve: A swim in the ocean.
I am inspired by: Nature.
Best advice I’ve ever received: Trust your instincts.
I couldn’t live without: My family.
My favourite daily ritual: Coffee.
On my wish-list: Rag & Bone Ankle Boots from Net-a-Porter.
I’m currently reading: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur.
And listening to: Need You by Flight Facilities
My guilty pleasure: Chocolate.
My mantra is: When the answer is no, there is a better yes around the corner.