Scent Master: Chriselle Lim of Phlur

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Chriselle Lim first became a YouTube influencer in 2010, where she shared everything from fashion tips to wedding planning and eventually cemented herself as a leader in the lifestyle space. Then, in 2021, Lim made a move to claim a greater stake in beauty, taking over as owner and creative director of the fragrance brand Phlur.

"I was introduced to Phlur a few years back when it was owned by a different person," she tells PS. "When I came in as the new owner, the first fragrance we launched was Missing Person." The TikTok-viral fragrance has sold out numerous times and has become somewhat of a hero product for the company.

"It was created during a time when I was broken, lost, and lonely – I was going through my divorce," Lim says. "I asked our perfumer Constance Georges Picot if we could somehow bottle something that would instantly feel like a warm hug. I wanted it to feel warm and cozy, as well as intimate and personal. I wanted it to evoke the essence of your lover's skin."

Since then, Lim and her team have created numerous other fragrances to mass acclaim — see: the Vanilla Skin Body Spray ($35), which is also typically sold out, as well as one of the new scents: Strawberry Letter ($99). The rest, as they say, was history.

Keep reading to learn more about Lim's journey to perfume fame.

POPSUGAR: How did your interest in fragrance start?
Chriselle Lim: I was born in Texas, but grew up in a small town called Danville in Northern California. However, for the better half of my childhood, I was living in Seoul, Korea. My grandmother who currently lives there is beauty-obsessed and is the one that introduced me to fragrance. I remember her always sitting at her vanity, doing her skin care, and spritzing her Chanel fragrance at the very end of her routine.

PS: Walk us through building Phlur as we know it today. What made you want focus on a niche fragrance brand?
CL: Phlur is a play on the French word, Fleur, which means flower. The name is intended to evoke a sense of nature and freshness, with a touch of elegance or sophistication, which aligns with who we are as a brand. I wanted to bring a fresh take on fragrance through storytelling – we all know how a certain scent can instantly connect you to a specific memory. Phlur is inspired by those moments and feelings – I want the world to experience our fine fragrances through that lens.

PS: How has your approach to fragrances evolved as you've continued your career in perfumery?
CL: The idea of having a signature scent has always been something that I believed in because that's how I was introduced to fragrance. Over the years, I've learned that fragrance is just like fashion; it can be dependent on your mood, where you're going, what you're doing, what you want to evoke, etc. It's no longer about having just one scent but rather, like fashion, having a wardrobe of fragrances. I see it as a great way of self-expression.

PS: Do you have a favorite Phlur scent?
CL: I don't have a favorite because they are all equally different, but the one that I naturally gravitate toward the most during this season is Father Figure ($29), [which] to me is the perfect day-to-night fragrance and is super versatile. Plus, it's light enough to wear in meetings or layer with another fragrance. I am constantly getting compliments whenever I wear this scent.

PS: What are you looking forward to regarding the future of Phlur as well as the fragrance industry at large?
CL: For Phlur, we have so many exciting things coming down the pipeline that I cannot wait to share with the public. When it comes to the beauty industry at large, I'm looking forward to seeing how it continues to evolve. With trends changing as fast as they ever have, it's forcing brands to become as dynamic and as innovative as possible and I cannot wait to see how this transforms the industry.

Ariel Baker is the assistant editor for POPSUGAR Beauty. Her areas of expertise include celebrity news, beauty trends, and product reviews. She has additional bylines with Essence and Forbes Vetted.