Find Balance Through Scent with Lola Tillyaeva’s New Collection at The Harmonist
Living in harmony with ourselves and the world around us is one of the keys to human happiness. A fact that Uzbekistan-born Lola Tillyaeva (Till) seeks to inspire and help wearers find balance through scent with her maison de perfumes, The Harmonist. An empowering female entrepreneur and wellbeing activist, Lola is also the author of the acclaimed self-care guide book Be Your Own Harmonist. And her newest collection of five unique scents, Yang, is now available!
Founded by Lola Tillyaeva (Lola Till), The Harmonist was inspired by the guiding principles of Feng Shui, and each scent is carefully crafted to help the wearer find balance, harmony, and well-being.
Striving for sustainability, The Harmonist uses recyclable materials at every touchpoint and offers refills for its beautifully bottled scents. In addition, Lola spearheaded the brand’s first charitable initiative, The Droplet, an art installation designed to raise awareness of the issue of water scarcity.
Read on and be empowered by Lola Tillyaeva (Till), The Harmonist, and the fabulous new Yang collection in this special edition of our Empowered Women Empower series.
The Story of The Harmonist
The idea to create The Harmonist was born out of Lola’s passion for ancient philosophies and her love for beautiful fragrances. And the story in her words says it all!
“Once, a long time ago, in a small apartment in Tashkent, back in those very Soviet times, when French perfumes were, indeed, the best gift for women, the aroma of expensive French perfumes was worn all over the entrance of a 4-story home. Our apartment was on the third, my mother and I were at home, as always, she was writing her dissertation, and I am left to myself to climb on the top shelves of the closet pushing a chair with my teddy bear so that “my friend” could see everything. I took my mother’s French Fiji perfume, which she so carefully kept on the top shelf of the closet, and poured it right over the head of my teddy bear. Back then, the smell of perfume was very concentrated.
“My mother often recalls this incident, “I was angry, but then I saw your big eyes hugging your teddy bear” and she could not resist and laughed. My unchanging love for jasmine in my collections of the Harmonist is embodied precisely because of my mother’s favorite perfume—Fiji, which my bear smelled of for the next 5 years.
“After living many years in Paris, I wanted to translate the language of Feng Shui elements into the language of fragrances. Then the long and sometimes difficult path of converting an idea into a working business followed. Building a good foundation is very important for a successful business. We’ve been preparing for the launch of The Harmonist for almost three years. Our unique product and professional team, who love what they do, have helped The Harmonist find fast and stable success in the market.”
Discover the Yang Collection!
“Golden Wood, Desired Earth, Velvet Fire, Matrix Metal, and Sacred Water are vibrant, assured aromas,” says Lola Tillyaeva of the Yang Collection.
“Warm and radiant, they are designed to energize and nourish the wearer, much like the sun’s light. While we are immensely proud of the collection, which was conceived in collaboration with my dear friend and nose Guillaume Flavigny, The Harmonist is an ongoing conversation. Fragrances must be allowed to grow and evolve, like people.”
The five elements—wood, fire, earth, water, and metal—are regarded as the building blocks of all-natural phenomena. Known as the Wuxing, they have been used to interpret everything from the cosmos to our internal bodies for millennia.
The Yang Collection channels these elements into five scents that capture Yang energy’s character and complexity. Using the original formulations as a starting point, the collection’s scents were reconsidered as parfums, a concentration that allows ingredients to better reveal their depth and character. The result, as always at The Harmonist, is a refined balance between the fragrance’s harmony and the individuality of each ingredient.
Continuing to lead the industry’s drive to sustainability, The Harmonist’s new packaging reflects the brand’s ongoing commitment to the environment. With no internal plastic, it is 100% recyclable! And, through a more streamlined design, the overall footprint of packaging has been reduced, so that fragrances may be shipped more responsibly.
An Lh Exclusive Interview with Lola Tillyaeva (Till), The Harmonist
Love Happens: As our name, and the tagline of our publisher KOKET denotes, at ‘Love Happens’ we are firm believers that you cannot achieve any level of success without love. When did your passion for empowering others to live a more balanced life begin? And how did it make you feel?
Lola Tillyaeva (Till): Ever since I was a child, “Who am I?” has been the biggest question underpinning my life enquiry. On the path I have since embarked on looking for answers, I met many brilliant people—spiritual practitioners, scientists, medical doctors, herbalists, and real gurus who helped me understand that the future of human progress lies in the merging of science and spirituality. Like two sides of one coin, they are closely related to each other and cannot be separated.
A couple of years ago, I took some time to pause and reflect on the knowledge I have accumulated throughout my life. I systematized the information and made it accessible and digestible for those who are searching for similar answers but may not have the time to dive deep and do the research for themselves.
That’s how my book Be Your Own Harmonist was born. The book is a compilation of theoretical and practical knowledge I have accumulated over the years. Presented to serve as a roadmap for those looking for ways to live a more balanced life. A life in greater harmony with themselves and the world around them.
Lh: What led you to combine your passion for self-knowledge with the power of scent and start The Harmonist?
Lola: Searching for answers to the fundamental question about human nature and my own being, I became interested in different ancient philosophies. Feng Shui was one of them. I was fascinated by its comprehensive explanation of cosmology (macrocosm) and human being (microcosm). This philosophy provides practical advice on how to achieve greater self-knowledge and inner harmony by balancing the natural fundamental elements of the universe—Water, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Wood. And I said to myself why not translate the language of Feng Shui into the language of scents? Today, with my wonderful team at The Harmonist, we made this idea a reality. And are passionately supporting people in finding balance and well-being through our unique and exquisite scents.
Lh: How did you meet perfumer Guillaume Flavigny? Tell us about your experience developing your first scent together.
Lola: We experience and understand the world around us through our five fundamental senses. And in my case, my sense of smell was always the keenest. Perfume fragrances have captivated me since I was a little girl. I remember I would try to concoct my own scent by mixing different perfumes. Years later, while living in France, I had the chance to come into direct contact with this magical world of haute parfumerie and see how important it is for a fragrance to perfectly suit the temperament and skin of a wearer.
I spent a long time exploring the fragrances on the market, trying to find one that suited me perfectly. But as I struggled to find the perfect match, I decided to create one for myself. It was a really fascinating process and the result turned out to be very successful—most people around me liked my new fragrance. So, I made the next step and created a fragrance for my friends. It was released as a limited edition and was very well-received too. That inspired me to create the first collection for The Harmonist.
I engaged a fragrance producing company Givaudan. They are a pioneer in sustainability and offer beautiful raw materials ethically sourced from all around the world. The company’s perfumer Guillaume Flavigny, one of the most celebrated noses in the perfume world, started working with me on this exciting endeavour.
Demonstrating incredible professional acumen and intuitively understanding the style and vision of our brand, Guillaume masterfully brought the idea of The Harmonist to life. Over the years, Guillaume and I have developed a common language that helps us create true fragrance works of art. When I’m working with Guillaume, I always learn something new and I very much enjoy our collaboration.
Lh: What empowers you?
True empowerment starts with stillness.
Lola: Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdoms”. “Know thyself” was written on a column once standing at the entrance of the Greek Temple of Apollo in Delphi. It is the foundation which we have to start with. It is not about finding your favorite color or music or even discovering strengths and weaknesses of your character. They are all just the qualities and tools of your mind.
Knowing yourself is diving much deeper. Only truth about yourself could bring you peace, harmony and, if you need it, it can empower you. And as a result, it can bring happiness to those who are around you. The only way to find the truth is to look within and to observe oneself. Since birth, we become accustomed to look outward. Therefore, we remain unknown to ourselves. Constantly being busy by multitasking and worrying about the past or future, we forget how to pause and simply be present in the moment. True empowerment starts with stillness.
Lh: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Lola: I cannot tell you what my greatest achievements are because I do not think in terms of goals and achievements. Life has its own flow and I try to enjoy it and be grateful.
Lh: Who is Lola Tillyaeva the founder of The Harmonist and the wellbeing activist?
Lola: Using labels of identification, such as “I am a Mother”, “I am an Author”, or “I am a Businesswoman” or “I’m an Activist” does not reflect the wholeness of a human being. These labels are nothing more than just mental constructs that we, our family, or our society build about ourselves. Every one of us is on a unique journey and these labels cannot reveal our true nature. We keep changing throughout our lives. Our bodies, emotions, and thoughts change and transform. It’s important to stay open to all of those changes and remain grateful.
Lh: How do you empower others?
Lola: Placing trust in people and accepting them for who they are, are the most influential ways to empower them. By trusting, we inspire confidence; by accepting we practice compassion.
Lh: What three pieces of advice would you give to someone looking to find balance in their life?
A good first step to greater harmony in life would be to fully accept the past and let go of past worries and preconceptions about the world and about oneself.
Lola: We need to understand that our body, mind, and soul inextricably interlink with one another and our overall wellbeing greatly depends on how our physical, mental, and emotional health. A good first step to greater harmony in life would be to fully accept the past and let go of past worries and preconceptions about the world and about oneself. This will release a huge amount of energy for the present moment. The here and now. The most important moment in our life.
In terms of practical advice, I find these three practices really helpful for someone looking for greater balance in life:
- Taking good care of your body. Harness it and caring for it through good, healthy, well-informed nutritional choices and exercise habits.
- Realizing that our mind belongs to us, and not our thoughts. Taking regular time for yourself. Letting go of your thoughts by meditating and consciously practicing gratefulness and self-love.
- Being true to yourself in every decision you make in life. Staying tuned in with your inner self is the best practice for a more balanced and fulfilling life.
Lh: Do you have any favorite empowering quotes?
The distinguishing characteristic of humanity is the capacity to love.Rumi
Lh: What’s next for Lola Tillyaeva?
Lola: I am always looking for new inspirations and ideas. In the future, I would like to be able to bring the idea of self-love and self-compassion together with the understanding of crucial processes in our bodies, minds, and souls to an even larger number of people to help them embark on their journey to greater wellbeing. I and my teams are working to explore a few directions of travel to carry this message through multimedia.
A Gallery In Paris
Another project, I am currently working on, is a gallery in Paris. A place where the best of Uzbek traditional and contemporary crafts and arts are presented to a European audience. We are developing a line of new hand-made luxurious silks which will arrive in Paris to please those, who appreciate Eastern cultures and those, who are eager to broaden their horizons and learn about the cultures of the Silk Road. In anticipation of a full re-opening after the pandemic, we are also working to turn the gallery into a cultural outpost and a place where people can meet, debate, observe and immerse in Central Asian culture and art.
At the moment, together with the incredible The Harmonist team, we launched our new perfume line in October 2021. This is an exciting opportunity to bring more beautiful scents to our clients and all perfume lovers. We have worked to encapsulate the immense beauty of our planet and the richness of nature by sourcing some of the most precious ingredients across the globe and packaging them into scents reflecting the five fundamental elements of the universe. The launch is an exciting next step for the brand.
The Yang Collection is part of The Harmonist’s existing fragrance range, which also includes the Yin Collection, the Prequel Collection, and Yin Transformation, thirteen complex and unique aromas that bring the wearer’s attention inward, so they can better perceive themselves and their surroundings. All reformulated Yang Collection aromas come in The Harmonist’s signature 1.7 fl oz. glass bottles and encased in the brand’s new packaging. The fragrances are available at The Harmonist’s flagship store in Paris and theharmonist.com, as well as at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Holt Renfrew, Bloomingdales, and The Conservatory.