How This Black-Owned Brand Is Shaking Up The Fragrance Industry


Brianna arps

As beauty editors, we come across hundreds of brands each year, which means for a brand to really stand out, it has to be pretty damn special. That was undoubtedly the case when we discovered MOODEAUX, a luxury fragrance brand that strives to uplift and empower through scent. Inspired by the incredible power of scent that evokes emotion and memory, MOODEAUX creates indulgent perfumes that slot effortlessly into your self-care routine.

It’s not just the incredible perfume offering, nourishing ingredients, or sustainable packaging that made us fall in love with the brand, Founder Brianna Arps had us girl crushing hard from the start. Brianna, although new to the space herself, is on a mission to diversify the fragrance industry and support other Black entrepreneurs on their fragrance journeys. As well as building what Brianna describes as “a global ecosystem of support,” she’s also donating profits from her merch to provide funds to other small brands.

We got the opportunity to sit down with the straight up trailblazer, Brianna Arps, to discuss her perfumes passion, the diversity gap in the fragrance industry, and discover more about her incredible Black In Fragrance™ initiative. Of course, we had to get all the deets behind her game-changing fragrance brand. Seriously, get ready for your next girl crush.

When did your love for fragrance blossom?

I’ve always loved fragrance, ever since I was a little girl! I used to always get caught playing in my grandma Minnie’s vintage stash – layering different scents from Chloé, Givenchy, Dior, just like she would. I wanted to dress, look and smell just like her; I guess you could say it foreshadowed my future with MOODEAUX.

What made you decide to create your own fragrance brand?

Let it be known, growing up I thought I’d be a singer (LOL) – not a journalist-turned-perfumer. Life’s wild like that, though. While the journey to getting here and launching MOODEAUX wasn’t planned nor easy, I wouldn’t change a thing.

To make a long story short(er), back in October 2018, I grew pretty obsessed with learning about the connection between scent, emotion, and memory. I had just been laid off… Was living on New York State unemployment, and given those life lows, I made sure to take a moment every day – between figuring things out – for some serious self-care.

It might sound silly, but still, I always felt wayyy better after a long quiet shower followed by a spritz of my favorite accessory: perfume. I didn’t even have to get dressed or go anywhere special — the whiff of a familiar smell alone was often enough to remind me that I’m worthy and that eventually, I’d be alright.


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Digging around online, I quickly noticed the lack of #1) Black-owned fragrance labels and #2) actual discourse – not hidden, subliminal messages – amongst popular brands around our sense of smell being able to trigger good thoughts, and in turn, influence our moods.

With that, although I knew little about this industry, I decided who I really needed to become: someone who shakes sh*t up – paving my own lane with MOODEAUX for beauty lovers, like hopefully yourself who crave different. I’m talking unique accords, “top-shelf” luxury. Products made with clean ingredients that help moisturize and lock scent to skin. Essentials you can travel with to Flaunt How You Feel.

After nearly three years to the date, I can confidently say launching MOODEAUX on October 1, 2021 was the best decision ever.

Until very recently, there have been few Black entrepreneurs in the perfume space, even more of a gap than in other beauty categories. Why do you think this is?

In my initial research, in 2018, there weren’t nearly as many Black-owned fragrance labels to shop from as there are now. And when I say shop, I mean I couldn’t just visit my favorite retailers – whether mainstream or niche, online or IRL –  and see us included among the mix.

Visibility has always, always, always been an issue. It’s not that Black entrepreneurs in the perfume space haven’t or don’t exist, it’s that we haven’t and often don’t receive the type of widespread support needed to foster our success.

Can you tell us about your initiative Black In Fragrance™? What inspired you to start it?

Black In Fragrance™ is our service component at MOODEAUX that’s aimed at building a global ecosystem of support among industry professionals, consumers, retailers and media outlets – each who pledge to help level the playing field for Black perfumers and Black-owned fragrance brands.

As BIF’s founder label, MOODEAUX leads the effort on the brand side, matching proceeds on limited-edition merch dollar-for-dollar up to $1,000 every month. 50% of revenue from each sale is paid directly to Black creatives on a rolling, application basis.

It’s been a very intentional venture, because I know first-hand how isolating it can be to try and break through an industry where there hasn’t been a visible “blueprint” for creating a household name — at least not for those who look like me. The modern day haircare world has Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter; the cruelty-free, vegan cosmetics world has Melissa Butter of The Lip Bar. The fragrance world has who??? While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend following in someone else’s footsteps, I do believe we as founders can all go so much further when we’re learning from one another and growing together.

Recently, MOODEAUX x BIF awarded three fragrance entrepreneurs with grants that’ll help them either launch their own brands or continue building an existing business.

Taylor Vinson | Founder of Taylor Rachelle

Taylor Rachelle is a luxury fragrance and lifestyle company specializing in premium scented products made with eco-friendly materials. “Our handcrafted body butters and coconut soy wax candles made with wooden wicks are intentionally designed to be uplifting while promoting self-care and expression,” she explains. “In the future, we hope to expand our product offerings and work more closely with artists and creative entrepreneurs.”

Taylyn Washington-Harmon | Founder of Starre Beauty Labs

Drawing on the spirit of fictional anime and pop culture heroines, or “starres,” Starre Beauty Labs is a scent-forward wellness brand, using fragrance to evoke memory, confidence, and fantasy with every spritz. “Whether your starre is a moon princess, a punk rockstar, or a warrior against 60 meter titans,” Washington-Harmon says, “Starre Beauty Labs can help you achieve her unforgettable essence that becomes your own.”

Amanda Nwobu | Founder of 8-12

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8-12 is a concept shop offering indie home and body fragrances from origins near and far, new and familiar. “Our curation centers founders rooted in deep convictions and refreshing perspectives,” Nwobu says, “and it is our intention to connect scents that broaden and reclaim olfactory narratives with people seeking to enhance the joy, reverence, and peace in the spaces they occupy.”

Aside from the grant, each entrepreneur has been invited to join the Black In Fragrance™ Network where we share additional funding opportunities as well as ongoing education, tools and resources. We’ll be publicizing details on how others in the field can get involved soon!

You do so much to empower other perfumers and entrepeneurs; what makes you feel empowered?

Knowing I’m actually carrying out this dream that means so much to me, despite ALL the setbacks… Knowing that at the same time, we’re helping to change how people view and love on themselves – that’s what makes me feel empowered. That’s what makes it all worth it.

Why is self-care important to you and what does your self-care routine look like?

There’s sooo much going on and happening in the world – much of which is completely out of my control. Yet, how I choose to love on myself is 100% up to me. It’s my job to make sure I’m as mentally, physically and emotionally equipped to not only survive, but thrive!

My self-care routine is the way I like to check in with myself and prioritize how I feel. Sometimes, it involves a long shower and a spritz of perfume  other times, it’s less tangible and requires some quiet time alone with my journal. The most important step, though, is reminding myself not to get too hung up on life’s highs or lows.

How would you describe your brand ethos? What’s important to MOODEAUX?

At our core, MOODEAUX is all about empowering people to flaunt how they feel. To want to get up, get dressed, look in the mirror and decide for themselves how they’ll show up in the world. With that, we’re more of a lifestyle brand than just beauty.

Your perfume ingredients are unlike any other on the market, can you tell us why you chose to formulate this way and its benefits?

There’s just something extra luxurious, sensual and intimate about oil-based perfumes. By nature, while they don’t project as much as products with alcohol, they do tend to stay put and last longer on the skin – which solves one of the fragrance wearer’s most common problems.

In launching our debut SUPERCHARGED SKINSCENT™, my main goal was bringing mass appeal to an alternative formula that sprays similarly to what’s been on the market yet offers a point of difference with its plant-powered ingredients.

At MOODEAUX, we believe whatever perfume you put on your skin should benefit it in other ways besides imparting a scent. That’s why we included: apricot oil (lightweight yet loaded with vitamins A and E to help restore skin and improve elasticity), grape seed oil (antioxidant-rich shield helpful against environmental damage), meadowfoam seed oil (forms a protective barrier that helps lock fragrance onto the skin), etc.

You really have to slow down and take your time with applying the product  which is also intentional.

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In particular, MOODEAUX’s debut SUPERCHARGED SKINSCENT™  was inspired by the moment between waking up and getting dressed  when you face your reflection in the mirror, repeating what we already know: “I’m Worthy.”

To me, that’s the ultimate “mood”  feeling worthy. Worthy of any and everything your heart desires, including a life well-lived where you’re your own muse.

The scent is honestly unlike anything I’ve ever worn before; it was designed (over a two-year process) to smell and feel like a big hug to yourself. As a warm, citrus-floral-woodsy scent, it combines accords that wrap the senses in a “cozy blanket” while also giving off some major sexy appeal. *wink*

We’re really excited to see what you create next! Are you able to give us any hints?

Yes! We’re working on a second SUPERCHARGED SKINSCENT™ as well as a few different ways to experience the product. Everything’s currently in development with at least one 2022 launch date; I’m really excited to spill the beans but not quite yet.

Honestly, we could talk to Brianna all day long! Stay tuned for more to come from Brianna, and in the meantime,  check out MOODEAUX here.

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.