Maison 21G is a Singapore-based start-up specialising in bespoke fragrance creation.
Its new 2.1 Haute Perfumery hand sanitiser is a hand-crafted scented sanitiser made with added 100% natural essential oils that offer protection from germs and bacteria while keeping hands moisturised.
The 15ml bottles range from S$15 ($10.50) to S$20 ($14) and can be purchased in a set of four for S$55 ($38.60).
“I know there’s a shortage of alcohol right now and I have tonnes. I’m probably not going to sell a lot of perfume in the coming months, so I wanted to use it to do something useful,” said founder Johanna Monange, who was formerly IFF’s fragrance creative director for Asia.
Drawing on her deep knowledge and expertise of perfumery, Monange formulated the 2.1 hand sanitisers to offer protection from germs and bacteria – with just a hint of pleasure.
“In times like this, we need comfort more than ever. Why just be functional when you can make it pleasurable too? Just because it is functional, doesn’t mean it should smell bad,” said Monange.
Monange added that she saw an opportunity to share the history of perfumery and its association with medicine in the past.
“Today we buy perfume for social status or seduction… In the past, you would find perfumes in the apothecary, sold like a medicine because the essential oils used have super benefits for your skin and for your mood.”
In particular, she was inspired by scents like l'eau des 4 voleurs, or Four Thieves Vinegar, which dates back to the time of the Black Death.
Legend has it this vinegar protected condemned criminals from infection as they were sent out to bury those that died from infection.
“There’s so much history to perfumery and I’m so sad that we have lost a lot of it. It’s important to know the past to create a future,” said Monange.
Monange told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that she was acutely aware that some may criticise her decision to launch such a product at a time like this but said it did not bother her.
“If you are Bernard Arnault [of LVMH], you can make hand sanitiser for free, but as a start-up you need to find a way to be creative to stay alive.”
Like many other businesses, Maison 21G has taken hits from impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and launching hand sanitisers would help them tide through this crisis.
“This sanitiser will help me to continue to run my boutique and my website. It will also help me to pay the salary of all my employees. I have 14 employees and I haven’t laid off anyone,” said Monange.
Monange noted that she does not think the pricing of the scented hand sanitisers are “atrocious” considering she uses premium ingredients such as lavandin oil, which costs $500 a kilogram.
“I think $15 is acceptable. These ingredients are 100% natural and my customers know the quality of my ingredients and are very happy to walk out of my shop with something they can get for that price. And this can also be used as a perfume, its really two products in one.”