The A-list: Shirin Von Wulffen
When entrepreneur and former fashion publicist Shirin Von Wulffen settled down with her husband Frederic Fekkai in Provence, she fell in love with the beauty of her natural surroundings. Together, she and Fekkai revived the Aix-en-Provence-born, artisanal home beauty collection Bastide to share their way of life. Learn more about Von Wulffen and explore what inspires her below.
1. What inspired you to start your beauty company, Bastide?
Spending time in my husband’s hometown of Aix-en-Provence inspired us to renovate a beautiful old 17th century “Bastide”, a French country house, on the outskirts of town. Surrounded by lavender fields, olive groves and fig trees we wanted to create a collection for the home that was as magical as the nature around us.
2. Your experience as the Director of PR at Yves Saint Laurent and Director of Communications at Tom Ford undoubtedly provided you with a deep understanding of the fashion world. How has your fashion background influenced your work in the beauty sector?
I have always loved fashion and bought my first W Magazine with my own money when I was 10 yrs old. I grew up on a farm and my mother was a total tomboy, but my German grandmother had an incredible collection of jewelry and clothing and I used to spend hours in her attic trying on all her amazing pieces. I was lucky that my passion became my work and the experiences I had, first as Fashion Director for a German Amica and then working for Gucci, Saint Laurent & Tom Ford, exposed me to so many incredible artists and creators. Bastide really combines the best of both worlds for me because it is deeply rooted in nature, but we also have the chance to collaborate with incredible artisans, photographers, architects & artists for our store design, packaging and new product ideas.
3. Bastide is renowned for its commitment to quality and clean ingredients in the beauty industry. Could you discuss some of the key principles or values that have driven the brand's success?
We have always said that we only want to make products that are safe for our children to use. I have very sensitive skin and developed a fragrance allergy in my late 20’s, so when we created Bastide we did a deep dive to make sure we crafted formulas that are as safe as they are beautiful. Nothing brings me more pleasure than to see how much our 11yr loves to wash his hands with our soap. It’s a beautiful childhood memory to have. Bastide is a way to make everyday moments more special without worrying about the ingredients.
4. For customers who may be new to Bastide, do you have any recommendations for a product or kit that provides an introduction to the brand's offerings and benefits?
The Rose Olivier collection is my current favorite! It’s based on a love story between a rose bush that grows into an olive tree and the two live symbiotically together for the rest of their lives. The combination of sweet rose and woody olive makes this scent incredibly warm and soothing. I would suggest starting with the bodywash, handwash and lotion. Another favorite are the acacia tree resin scented crystals to place throughout your home wherever you want to add a touch of a beautiful scent. They look amazing and make every room feel extra cozy!
5. What advice would you give to individuals who aspire to create their own successful brands in the beauty industry?
Tom Ford famously said that he “only hires people who he enjoys having dinner with” and I couldn’t agree more. When you are on the same wavelength, collaboration flows organically and that’s where the magic happens. Also, trust your gut always and don’t be too nice! Teamwork is key but at the end of the day you have to be ready to make some tough decisions on your own.
6. In your opinion, what are some of the most exciting developments or trends happening in the beauty industry today?
We are seeing increasing consumer demand for clean ingredients, and it will be exciting to see how AI can help customers to decipher labels and personalize their beauty routines.
7. Are there any specific beauty or skincare products you personally can't live without?
FEKKAI Brilliant Gloss Anti-Frizz Oil Serum and Super Strength+ Collection, Bastide Figue Amour Eau de Toilette and Corps-a-Corps Body Cream, Charlotte Tilbury “iconic nude” lip liner, Merit Bronze balm in “Leo,” Cle de Peau cream blush in “perfect peach”
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