maven46 meets: Catarina Åberg

An in-house Chemist from & Other Stories

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Words by Síomha Connolly
December 6th, 2016

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Catarina Åberg is an in-house chemist working at & Other Stories. Ahead of the Dublin store opening this week, we chatted to Catarina about her work, inspirations, and the creative process behind developing the new Paris Atelier beauty range. Until now, all of & Other Stories beauty products have come through the Stockholm Atelier, last month the brand released a beautiful collection which focuses on natural ingredients designed to take you on a sensory journey through France.

On her typical 9-5…

I’m following the product from idea to development into a finished product and it is both fun and frustrating. Just a minor tweak can completely change the formulation for the better – or the worse. Today, I get to work with an overall vision as well as a specific ingredient problem, my work is never boring. It gives me great joy to see projects like the Paris Atelier beauty spring to life.

On her interest in cosmetics…

Cosmetic products have always fascinated me, both on an ingredient and formulation level. Basically, my way to enter the world of beauty was through science. I have always enjoyed a great fragrance, a luscious cream and a long-lasting mascara, but was also intrigued by the science behind it.

On finding inspiration…

For me, inspiration is found everywhere, it could be memories from journeys, beautiful scents and rich textures. It can also be a specific need for a new product that sparks my imagination or working with our perfumer always gives new ideas.

On the creative process…

Our beauty team works closely together with our fashion design teams and share the same inspirations and mood boards each season. This process allows us to create products with unique stories. At & Other Stories we also have the luxury of an in-house team of creatives including designers, copy writers, graphic designers, chemists and product developers, all with the expertise that ensures a unique product and design. Together we evaluate ideas and try formulation and packaging samples.

And the selection process…

For me, every ingredient must have a purpose. The formulations that we create must make a difference, both in terms of texture, skin feel and scent. It is important to choose ingredients that are well documented and to use them in an innovative way to create beautiful textures. Sustainability is also an important factor and we strive to always be updated on all new findings in the field.

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On the new Paris Atelier beauty range…

We’ve been working on the Paris Atelier beauty range for a long time, so it’s magical to see it spring to life. The collection captures the spirit of the French coast, the forest and the herbal garden – three elements that are very close to our French hearts. Right from the start it was important to find local producers that shared our vision and with their help source natural ingredients from regions such as Bretagne, Provence and Gascony. Each product in the range has a formulation with a bespoke blend of hand-picked active ingredients with certified origin from France. Along with the development, the diverse group of people in our ateliers has taken part in the evaluation of the formulations and the fragrances.

On the influence of nature and surroundings…

It was important that our Paris Atelier beauty range was produced in France, with a high concentration of natural ingredients, together with actives harvested from Bretagne, Provence and Gascony. Each aspect of this range is infused with a French philosophy, starting with carefully selected ingredients from the region that inspired it. The coast products include calming Eau D’Ajonc and emollient algaes harvested in Bretagne. The herbal garden products feature antioxidant properties of saffron and rose extract as well as nourishing honey from Provence. The forest products present moisturising white truffle extract along with nourishing benefits of plum oil and butter from Gascony. The packaging and design explores the language and material of botanical books, capturing notions of romance and nature from France. Each theme has its own gold-foiled symbol and colour; the coast is blue, the forest is green and the herbal garden is red, celebrating the rich characteristics of vintage floral books.

On her top picks from the new collection…

For me, every product is a treasure on its own so it is difficult to choose. One of my personal favourites is the Bath Cologne that gives a luxurious and fragrant bathing experience. It is infused with soothing eau d’Ajonc, a traditional Breton symbol of renewal, and nutrient-rich fucus extract of brown algae.

And the gifts she’ll be giving this Christmas…

This year I will definitively choose the Paris Atelier for gifting and my picks would be the Eau De Parfum and the beautiful Body Cream. Another favourite is our gift sets with sparkling nail colours, that make beautiful festive presents for my friends. Some our most beloved fragrances such as Havana Blues and Punk Bouquet come as gift sets which are great for my family and relatives.

& Other Stories will open its first Dublin store this Friday 9th December at 26/27 Grafton Street. Shop a selection of the Paris Atelier beauty range below from stories.com.