Interview with David Depuydt, owner of Haute Parfumerie Place Vendome

Haute Parfumerie Place Vendome, a great perfumery boutique from Belgium, is my favourite shopping destination from several years. Each time I want to enjoy a new Guerlain, Chanel or Hermes, I know that I have to contact them and place a new order.

Recently I had the pleasure and also the honour to interview via email the owner of this almost magical perfumery: David Depuydt.

Haute Parfumerie Place Vendome is from many years a privileged shopping place for fragrance lovers from all around the world. They are more than 30 years of passion for perfume, but also a lot of work. Which is the story behind this shop?

David Depuydt (DD) : When this shop was opened in 1989, the idea of Place Vendôme was to make a counterbalance with the raging discount shops and marginalization of the creations.

We wanted to protect a patrimonial fragrances from Guerlain, Hermès, Cartier, Chanel…., because the new launches and flankers and discounts were pushing silently the jewels of our métier into oblivion. Bit by bit, the sugar-water fragrances became more popular and market tests became more important than creativity and beauty.

PV ( Place Vendome) wanted to defend fragrances that represent luxury in the sense of food for the soul.

I am member of many online groups or fragrances lovers on Social Media. When somebody is posting that an order for HPPV was placed or arrived, we all feel that joy, that emotion, that wonderful feeling of being your customer. I know that your customer policy is absolutely what I do call excellence. How did you made your customer strategy? Thus I will call it customer seduction. We all fall in love with Haute Parfumerie Place Vendome. How you do this?

DD: Treat people as you want to be treated. This is the policy of our boutique. I remember, before I had a perfume boutique myself, I always, when I came back home with my bag of products I’d purchased, I did sit down on the sofa, going through every single item I bought and received. Every leaflet was read and every sample turned inside out, in a matter of speaking. So, I thought my customers would love that to. Instead of discounting or paying expensive publicities, I invested all that money into gifts, samples, miniatures…. A discount does not make you happy, a beautiful gift does.

How you will describe the boutique itself? I didn’t had the chance to arrive there up to now, but all the people who went for shopping in your boutique remained under the charm.

DD: PV is different from other shops in two ways. The first one being a shop with limited brands. Being selective means you do SELECT. The selection was not out of snobbery, but out of quality. You don’t put a Chanel N°22 next to Gloria Vanderbilt in a way of speaking. We are not a niche perfumery. We are a quality perfumery.

The second difference, and this one is even more important, we do perfume consults.

People can make an appointment for a perfume consult. This is an interview, a private moment, where we dig into the past of a person, assembling all the moments that made them happy, that made a difference in their lives. Remember, perfume is the most intense way of recollection.

We do ask also about what people love to eat, feel, etc… What we experience in life, what we eat, love to see, love to feel, is all determining what we love to smell and how we love to smell.

Out of a collection of over 900 fragrances, ultimately, we chose 3. Why 3 ? Well, because there are three states of being, three visions of ourselves….

The first one is who we are when we don’t have to be alert. For instance, when we are alone at home.

The second one is our social facet, the way we communicate with others, also through perfume.

The third one is the ideal version of who we would like and love to be. Beauty is about being the best version of yourself, both on the inside and outside.

Which are the brands that we can find? How you decide to add brands?

DD: As I already mentioned, we are not a niche perfumery, nor a commercial one. We want to sell quality… My experience with niche is that sometimes, niche is used as an excuse to sell at high prices. But even with the finest raw materials, one can make a disaster perfume. So, one has to stay vigilant, not being influenced by falls luxury.

If a product touches my soul when I smell it, that’s a good indicator.

This pandemic was and still is impacting us. How you felt this period? How your customers reacted?

DD: The pandemic, if there would be something good to be said about it, it would be that it did change something in the heart and minds of people. We noticed that people want to go back to the past, to a period that was more happy… People listen again to Abba, Prokofiev… They rediscover fragrances like Calèche d’Hermès, L’Heure Bleue from Guerlain, Must de Cartier, AND LOVE IT !

This also gives us such a feeling of reward when we can show these masterpieces.

People love good perfumes, let’s be honest. How do you feel this relation with the perfumes today? Are people more aware that behind a perfume there is a perfumer work and vision?

DD: People are in need of happiness, now even more that before. The definition of happiness has also been re-written since the pandemic. As Mademoiselle Chanel said : “Luxury is not the contrary of poverty. It is the opposite of vulgarity”

Because my readers also want to know you, the human touch behind this gorgeous boutique brand, tell me which are the favorite fragrances of you, Steven and David? What do you wear more often ? And nevertheless which are your top recommendations for this year? What we absolutely need to smell this year?

DD: Place Vendôme is also more than a  perfume boutique. Every month, an amount of money is donated to the organization Friends For Second Hand Paws, of which I’m vice-president. We are busy building a shelter in Romania where stray dogs can find decent food, and most of all, a home. Dogs are saved, cared for and we find homes for them in Belgium families.

We can not change the world, but we can change the world of each animal saved. And that makes a world of difference.

Top fragrances of David :

Angélique Noire Guerlain

Agua Mar de Coral Loewe (to go to sleep)

1957 Chanel

Cuir d’Ange from Hermès

La Panthère de Cartier

Néroli Outrenoir Guerlain

The soap of Royal Oeillet from Oriza Legrand (since carnations are my favorite flowers)

Top fragrances of Steven

Habit Rouge from Guerlain

L’Heure Bleue from Guerlain

Sycomore in Chanel

Rose Ikebana in Hermès

David is for sure a real perfume lover, but I was once more impressed about his involvement in humanitarian actions for dogs. I think we cannot grow as human without being in connection with nature and with animals. Reading his words, I really felt his emotion and I had the confirmation that behind this gorgeous brand he built there is a beautiful soul.

On my wishlist for the next 2-3 years they are for sure many perfumes to buy, but one of the biggest wish is to go directly in the shop Haute Parfumerie Place Vendome and enjoy a conversation with Steven and David. And I also intend to make a donation for what David is doing as actions for dogs in Romania. As you probably know, I am simply convinced that all the animals in the world are our warranty we still have a normal planet. They are the true heros of life today.

Thanks a lot for this interview!


Haute Parfumerie Place Vendome, o parfumerie de exceptie din Belgia, este de cativa ani magazinul meu preferat in materie de parfumuri. De fiecare data cand vreau sa ma bucur de un nou produs Guerlain, Chanel sau Hermes stiu ca trebuie sa iau legatura cu ei si sa plasez o noua comanda.

Recent am avut bucuria si onoarea de a avea un interviu pe email cu David Depuydt, cel care detine aceasta parfumerie.

Haute Parfumerie Place Vendome este de multi ani un loc privilegiat de cumparaturi pentru cei ce iubesc parfumurile din toata lumea. Sunt mai mult de 30 de ani de pasiune, dar si de munca. Care este povestea acestui magazin?

DD: Cand am deschis magazinul in 1989, scopul era sa contrabalansam piata magazinelor de discount precum si a celor ce marginalizau creatia in sine. Am vrut sa protejam acest patrimoniu Guerlain, Chanel, Cartier, Hermes. Toate aceste noi lansari, flankere si actiuni de discount duceau usor la uitarea bijuteriilor in materie de creatie olfactiva. Incet incet, aceste ,,ape cu zahar” aparute pe piata au devenit populare si aceste teste de piata devin mai importante decat creativitatea si frumusetea.

Place Vendome doreste sa apere parfumurile care reprezinta conceptul de lux in sensul de hrana pentru suflet.

Fac parte din multe grupuri de iubitori de parfumuri de pe Facebook. Cand cineva posteaza ca a facut sau asteapta o comanda de la Place Vendome, toti simtim bucuria, emotia, acel sentiment minunat de a fi client al acestui magazine. Politica voastra fata de clienti eu o numesc simplu excelenta. Cum ati gandit strategia pentru clienti? Eu o numesc seducerea clientului. Pentru ca toti ne indragostim de Haute Parfumerie Place Vendome. Cum ati facut asta?

DD:Trateaza-i pe cei din jur asa cum ai dori sa fii tratat tu. Asta e strategia noastra. Imi amintesc ca inainte de a avea acest magazin, cand cumparam ceva, veneam acasa, ma asezam pe canapea cu sacosa de cumparaturi si scoteam si analizam rand pe rand fiecare lucru. Fiecare leaflet, fiecare mostra primita era intoarsa pe toate partile. Asa mi-am imaginat ca vor face si clientii nostri. Ca atare noi nu investim in reduceri de pret sau publicitate, ci in cadouri pentru clienti. Un discount nu cred ca te face prea vesel, insa un cadou chiar te face fericit.

Cum ai descrie magazinul tau? Nu am avut ocazia sa ajung, insa am auzit de la cei care l-au vizitat ca au ramas fermecati.

DD: PV este diferit in doua sensuri. In primul rand este selectiv cu adevarat, cu un numar redus de marci. A fi selectiv inseamna chiar sa alegi. Nu a fost o selectie bazata pe snobism, ci pe calitate. Nu poti sa pui un parfum precum Chanel no.22 langa un parfum Victoria Wanderbilt. De asemenea nu suntem o parfumerie de nisa. Suntem o parfumerie de calitate, axata pe calitate.

A doua diferenta este ca noi oferim consultanta clientului. Oamenii se pot programa pentru o consultatie pe parfumerie. Si este un moment foarte personal. Discutam despre trecut, despre lucrurile care il fac fericit si care au facut diferenta in viata clientului. Sa nu uitam ca parfumul este cel mai intens moment de reamintire, de retraire.

De asemenea ne intrebam clientii ce le place sa manance, sa miroasa. Tot ce experimentam in viata, ceea ce simtim, ceea ce mancam, ceea ce ne place sa vedem , toate acestea determina ce ne place sa mirosim si mai ales determina cum alegem sa ne parfumam.

Dintr-o colectie de 300 de parfumuri alegem la final 3. De ce 3? Ei bine pentru ca exista in fiecare 3 forme de a fi, trei viziuni proprii a ceea ce suntem.

In primul rand este parfumul nostru cand nu suntem in miscare, cand suntem singuri acasa, sa zicem.

Al doilea este parfumul ce reprezinta fateta noastra in societate, felul in care comunicam cu ceilalti este si prin parfum.

Al treilea parfum este versiunea ideala a celui ce am vrea sa fiu si iubim sa fim. Frumusetea inseamna cea mai buna versiune a ta, in interior si pe exterior.

Care sunt marcile pe care le gasim? Cum decizi sa adaugi o marca de parfum?

DD: Asa cum am zis mai inainte, nu suntem o parfumerie de nisa, nici cu un scop comercial ci suntem centrati pe calitate. Experienta mea cu nisa m-a dus la concluzia ca uneori este un fel de scuza pentru a vinde foarte scump. Chiar si cu cele mai fine materii prime se poate face un parfum ca o catastrofa. E bine sa fii vigilent si sa nu cazi prada falsului lux.

Daca parfumul imi atinge sufletul am deja un indicator bun.

Pandemia ne-a afectat si inca ne afecteaza? Cum ai resimtit asta? Cum au reactionat clientii?

DD: Daca e sa zic ceva bun de pandemie este un lucru, ca a schimbat ceva in sufletul si mintea oamenilor. Am observat ca oamenii se intorc spre lucrurile bune din trecut, asculta Abba, Prokofiev. Redescopera parfumuri precum Caleche Hermes, l’Heure Bleue de la Guerlain, Must de Cartier si… I LOVE IT!

Este ca un fel de mare recunostinta cand putem sa scoatem la iveala aceste capodopere.

Oamenilor le plac parfumurile bune, hai sa recunoastem asta. Cum simti asta azi, crezi ca oamenii au idee despre faptul ca in spatele unui parfum exista un creator cu o viziune?

DD: Oamenii sunt in cautarea fericirii acum mai mult ca niciodata. Stii ce spunea Coco Chanel – ,,Luxul nu inseamna opusul saraciei. Ci opusul vulgaritatii.”

Pentru ca cititorii mei ar vrea sa te cunoasca si pe tine, omul din spatele acestui magazin minunat, spune-mi care sunt parfumurile tale preferate? Si bineinteles care sunt parfumurile preferate ale lui Steven. Ce porti mai des si care ar fi recomandarile pentru acest an.

DD: Noi suntem mai mult decat o parfumerie. In fiecare luna donam catre asociatia Friends For Second Hand Paws al carui vicepresedinte sunt. Suntem prinsi sa construim un adapost si in Romania, pentru cainii abandonati, pe care ii preluam si le gasim familii de adoptie in Belgia. Stiu ca nu putem schimba lumea, insa daca pot schimba lumea unui caine asta inseamna o mare diferenta pentru a schimba lumea in bine.

Preferintele lui David:

Angélique Noire Guerlain

Agua Mar de Coral Loewe (pentru dormit)

1957 Chanel

Cuir d’Ange from Hermès

La Panthère de Cartier

Néroli Outrenoir Guerlain

The soap of Royal Oeillet from Oriza Legrand (pentru ca garoafele sunt preferatele mele)

Preferintele lui Steven:

Habit Rouge from Guerlain
L’Heure Bleue from Guerlain
Sycomore in Chanel
Rose Ikebana in Hermès

David este un om pasionat de parfumuri, dar am fost si mai impresionata de implicarea lui in actiuni umanitare pentru caini in special. Eu nu cred ca noi putem creste ca oameni fara sa fim in conexiune cu natura si cu animalele. Citindu-i cuvintele, chiar am simtit emotia lui si am avut confirmarea ca in spatele unei marci de frumusete este un suflet frumos.

Pentru urmatorii ani clar am in plan sa mai cumpar parfumuri. Imi doresc mult sa ajung in parfumeria lui David si sa am ocazia sa il intalnesc, sa stau de vorba cu el si cu Steven. Si mai mult imi doresc sa pot face in curand o donatie catre fundatia de care se ocupa David. Cu atat mai mult sunt motivata sa fiu clienta lor. Cred ca pur si simplu animalele ne sunt garantia unei lumi normale. Ele sunt adevaratii eroii ai lumii de azi.

Thank you, Steven, Thank you, David!