Theo Baloyi has taken the business world by storm and we are here for it. Not only has he established himself as the brains and creativity behind popular shoe brand Bathu, he has now launched his fragrance Avenue Exchange. We speak to him about the fragrance and its origins.
Your love for a good fragrance – where does it come from?
My love for good fragrances comes from just growing up living in the township, we’ve always had love for the finer things in life, looking good, going out to hustle and obviously wanting to complete that look with a signature smell. That’s basically where it comes from, I believe a great scent really defines your presence.
What has always been your signature smell?
Anything that is rare, dominant and overpowering, something that speaks about ambition. That is always my signature smell. It needs to exude presence, that Theo has arrived or was here.
The birth and the story behind Avenue Exchange
It’s a story that has always been a part of me. I believe that Avenue Exchange should’ve actually been my first business. It’s a story that is deeply rooted within myself as a leader because that’s where the entrepreneurial bug actually bit me when I used to sell perfumes door-to-door. More than anything else for me, that experience has taught me many other things. It was beyond trade and selling in the corners to make a living.
I lived in and sold perfumes in Alexander, where each and every street is called “Avenue”. During that time, everything for me was beyond a trade, every other experience, every other sale, was an exchange. It was an exchange of energy, ambition, vision and dreams. That’s where the birth of this fragrance came from. I thought to build a 1-stop boutique store where people can come exchange different experiences and create great stories.
What kind of scents do you sell and why these scents?
So our model is very different and unique from what your average cosmetic boutiques sell in South Africa. We go all over the world and source niche and unique scents and acquire licenses for them. We are the only company in the continent that has the rights to sell those scents so they are very niche and cater for different types of moods.
We have anything from your sweet summer ranges, more dominant, less subtle kind of scents. The unique part about our scents is that they are exclusive.
What makes a quality fragrance/perfume?
I think any smell, cologne that can really identify with the user or consumer. Often times people tend to mistake fragrances to be something of a high price or the packaging deceives the consumer to think that the cologne is unaffordable, however, it’s not really about that, it’s more about what it does, what it arouses in you, the kind of emotions it evokes from you, what it communicates externally. I think anything else that can really identify you as a person, reignite something in you but at the same time identifies with many other people as well and sends a message out there ,that is a good cologne.
What role does perfume play in your mood as a person?
Perfume for me is beyond something that you consume. Perfume is actually an art ,a sense of feeling that really brings the best out of you. It’s something that really identifies with a person as it says so much on your behalf before you even say anything. Like the saying ‘First impressions last’
What would people find exciting about shopping at Avenue Exchange?
I think what’s really exciting is if you look at our offering, our story, we have a very unique offering and our story really identifies with a lot of people. More than anything else, the customer experience at Avenue Exchange, we have state of the art stores that we’ve built that offer great customer service at an affordable price beating the misconceptions of luxury cosmetic boutiques. Avenue Exchange provides great products and exceptional customer service at an affordable price.
What would be your top 3 bottles from Avenue Exchange?
I really like the Anfar range offering, it’s one of my favourites. Number one from the Anfar range is Rituals of Anfar, I also like the Thuraya range, The Leather Oud Collection and many more. My signature smells are more dominant and on a more fresher side , something that is very nice and fresh would be our Estiara range – it’s sweet for a good summer’s day.
For a young business person who would like to enter the perfume business, what would be your advice?
Number 1, you need to be a good salesman, you need to understand your WHY and your products.
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Hi nounouche.online admin, Your posts are always well written and informative.