Small business review: MB Parfums

My Facebook feed filled up with posts about Marina’s stunning new product range and brand. And updates on her astrophysics course. At the same time.

I knew I had to speak with her. Last week, she took some time out of her – ‘busy’ doesn’t quite cut it – schedule, to let me interview her.

But I also wanted to talk about her products. I’ve been using naturals since I was a kid. Chemical cleaners, soaps and shampoos just seemed so wrong. Why was everyone wondering why they were sick?

I’m 28 now so you could say I have at least 15 years’ experience of natural cosmetics and household goodies. I know a good thing when I smell it.

Background

Marina started her business in 2011, but I think it’s safe to say that things have accelerated in the last couple of years.

In 2016, she overhauled The Perfume Garden and created Marina Barcenilla Parfums – taking her award-winning fragrances to a new level of luxury.

Marina successfully crowdfunded her new candle range, offering her gorgeous new stock as prizes for pledges. That’s how I got my first MB Parfums candle.

Product review

Marina Barcenilla Candles

First, let me say that I’m not receiving any commission for recommending these candles! But Marina (like so many business owners) has expressed an abhorrence of promoting herself and what she does. So, I’m going to try to do justice to her products.

When I received my candle just before Christmas, I was really impressed. I love non-toxic products and I’m impressed by anything natural that can stand up to its synthetic opponents.

Natural wax candles can sometimes lack potency – but scent is Marina’s speciality.

When lit, the Lavender Dreams candle fills the room with scent, and burns long and clean, without leaving a sooty residue on its posh glass container.

That’s all I need from a candle. But it’s surprisingly hard to find.

Marina’s candles are perfect because even you don’t care for naturals, they’re superior. The fact that they’re pure is just a bonus.

Price-wise, the candle is competitive with others from the big perfume houses. But it is a luxury, and Marina herself will admit to that.

Her perfume products are not for every day. Perfume has, until very recently, always been made from the rarest and most precious ingredients. MB Parfums is about making perfume special again – not settling for cheap-and-cheerful substitutes.

She’s nailed it.

Marina’s Christmas candle is to die for, too. It’s how Christmas should smell.

Marketing

When it comes to marketing, Marina is ‘really bad at it, hates it, and doesn’t have the time.’

I want to know all about Marina’s marketing strategy, because I’m me and I find that stuff interesting. Marina, on the other hand, is a normal person. She hates marketing.

Like many of you, she’s multi-skilled. She created her own website using Squarespace (it’s beautiful – check it out).

Marina hired an industry specialist to tweak her copy – and it shows. She also hired my favourite photographer to create sumptuous product shots.

Like many of you, she doesn’t do much marketing, due to time constraints. The astrophysics thing is the best excuse I’ve heard, actually.

Her plan is to let the brand grow organically, not to pursue an aggressive marketing strategy.

Her view is that she does something beautiful, and she wants to simply share it with the world. This ethos is very close to my own heart.

Social Media

Trio of perfumes

There are two great things about Marina’s social strategy that I love:

  1. She doesn’t let social media run her life
  2. If she doesn’t believe in something, she doesn’t promote it

Marina does not follow a structured social media marketing strategy and she doesn’t post at regular, set times.

But, she does prepare for certain holidays (Christmas and Valentine’s Day, for example) a few weeks in advance. She refuses to do Black Friday promotions.

Marina posts to Facebook via her Instagram account, meaning that she creates just one post at a time and it is published automatically on a second account. I love this simple approach.

Many business owners feel obligated to post on multiple social media accounts on set days and at set intervals. But Marina wants to keep a balance between her business, her studies and her life.

The future for MB Parfums

So where does Marina see her business going in the future?

Well, she would love to become a more well-known brand and perhaps have her products stocked in a few select retailers. Considering the reviews she’s had, I don’t see that being a problem.

Marina is on a mission to help people rediscover the soul of perfume. Find her at MB Parfums, on Facebook and on Instagram. Her brand has just been shortlisted for the Beauty Shortlist Awards 2017. Read my interview with Marina here.