She has been on the field for over 30 years. A versatile, charismatic woman for whom teaching has become as important in her life as the profession. She believes that natural can appear in everyday luxury, and that naturalness does not exclude everyday luxury. During our personal meeting I questioned Adrienne Feller the brands founder, about her profession, the healing power of essential oils, the exceptional natural treasures of Hungary, and the birth of Hungarian Spring collection, for whom beauty is a combination of health and the balance of body and mind.
Eva: Female beauty has always been the focus of your life. How did your career begin?
Adrienne: I studied the profession in Stockholm. When I finished my training as a beauty therapist, it struck me that I wanted to be an aromatherapist. I started teaching English aromatherapy in the Swedish capital and then studied French aromatherapy in France. At the same time, I became a natural therapist in Hungary, studying phytotherapy, kinesiology, passing the cosmetology master’s exam, and getting a specialist cosmetologists diploma. I am constantly educating myself, at the moment I am attending Károlyi Gáspár University for a course in mental health, and I am a psychodrama assistant, because I am not just interested in beauty but the whole human.
Eva: You have a wide portfolio, began building your own brand very quickly and had a positive experience very quickly too. Were you conscious from the beginning that the concept was accompanied by education?
Adrienne: I opened my first salon in Stockholm, the second in Budapest. Very quickly I became so popular that I had to make appointments for a year in advance. Later I inspired my clients to learn this by themselves, so soon students came around, due to this I opened my education and started teaching. I had not before had the feeling that I wanted to pass on my knowledge. After the first 17 students, 20 came for the second time, and it was a never-ending flood of students. I soon realized how much I enjoyed teaching. A lot of beauticians came to study with me and it became clear to me that these noble materials are very useful in cosmetics. First I started developing products for myself, then for my own salon, later my students would have got it. Here, it became clear that I had to set up a school, just as cosmetologists wanted to continue learning, and I had something to pass on to them because I had a lot of experience with a lot of work. I had the youthful enthusiasm and the desire to give.
Eva: Which came first: PANAROM or the ADRIENNE FELLER brand? We know, both were born with different missions.
Adrienne: One was born from the other. Our company was 20 years old and we had a very difficult job at the beginning. Aromatherapy was completely unknown to people. First the PANAROM Aromatherapy Institute, then the ADRIENNE FELLER Beauty Therapist Academy were created, and almost simultaneously PANAROM products, essential oils, and cosmetics were created. I mix every fragrance myself, I also learned perfume. The first product from essential oils was the Travel Set and from cosmetics product line was the Rose de Luxe. Initially, my cosmetics ran under the PANAROM brand, but over time I had to detach them and they became separate brands. It took me two years before I dared give my name to the products. All this was explained by the modesty of my Hungarian roots, and I was afraid people would find it too lofty. However, I realised that by using my name, I guaranteed the products. We have come into obstetrics with great force, because beauty is not only skin, but the whole human herself. We have done a lot of research in this direction, because beauty is really only a result that you are given at birth, later you have to preserve it. I also understood that I had to deal with both obstetrics and death. That’s why I worked as a birth attendant to understand what was going on there, but I also worked in a hospice. The shortcomings that we can feel at the moment of our death must be felt in life. I see what it takes to have a nice transition when I’m there. All of this became a natural part of my life, but I realized that it wasn’t in people’s lives. I wanted to understand what it meant to be beautiful, so I had to incorporate that into my education, and I had to develop special products to re-invoke the naturalness of our lives and to be present in our lives. This is how the PANAROM product line includes obstetric kits and baby care products or yoga products. Life must be viewed in unity and cannot be broken into slices of cake. Beauty is not a pretend something, it is a result.
Eva: As an aroma and beauty therapist, which ones do you use?
Adrienne: I really like Rose de Luxe. However for a long time Shine nourishing and moisturizing cream has been my favorite and its oil elixir. I use all type of yoga and body oils. From Hungarian Spring, the refreshing cream mask and deep cleansing mask, facial spray, elixir, hyaluron serum and eye cream are part of my beauty ritual. Light and White Essence are always in my bag, so is Uniq Balm.
Eva: Hungarian Spring, as a product line, was mentioned. How did the Hungarian thermal water come into your life? What we need to know about thermal water based products?
Adrienne: I’m a bather myself. I love bathing, I enjoy the fact that water is bubbling under us and these are healing waters. Bathing was an integral part of my life, I used to go to the bath several times a week, now I only have the opportunity only once a week. I personally experience that water is healing, so it was clear and obvious to me that I would make a product with thermal water. It should be noted that this is a very difficult process as the metal ions in the water are test the stability of the product – this would not be a problem for a synthetic product which is preserved for 3-6 years. However, with the concept of 100% natural, that we present to the market, where a product has so many ingredients, we have had a serious struggle.
Eva: Why did you choose the thermal water of Széchenyi Bath? How open was the bath to the idea?
Adrienne: The bath was very open, I worked with fantastic people. Hungarian thermal water ranks first in the world when compared to other thermal waters in terms of temperature and mineral content. It was evident that I would take the water of the Széchenyi Bath, because the mineral content is very high. It simply healed me all – my skin became beautiful smooth, good for the digestion and the nervous system. Here in the Carpathian Basin, we revel in the water, and God’s blessing is a treasure for us. Water is life. Hungarian baths are open to anyone, even a doctor prescribes bathing, unlike the Swedes, who cannot afford expensive spas in the absence of thermal water.
Eva: Let me ask you a personal question: What does your bath ritual look like?
Adrienne: Not surprisingly, Széchenyi Bath is my favorite. I go to six in the morning on a weekly basis, strictly alone. I pray during the whole bath ritual. It’s a two-hour program for me. First I get a steam bath and then dip in ice cold water. I let it affect me a little and then sit in 42 degree hot water. I repeat this circle three times. After that I buy a soapy massage. In closing, I sit back in the hot water and meditate for half an hour, followed by a 10-15 minute float. Then I get out and apply Adrienne Feller body oils to my hair and body. Finally, I wrap myself in a blanket, and then lie down and sleep for 20 minutes. During the whole ritual I also drink thermal water.
Eva: Hungarian Spring was the first cosmetic to incorporate medicinal water. Tell us a little about its story!
Adrienne: At that time we were already thinking about a product line, and the choice of name itself was an interesting story. My Hungarian origin is very important to me, which is why it could not have been a Swedish cosmetic, I had to come home to implement this project at my homeland and give it to others. Being Hungarian is a tremendous opportunity because we have a beautiful language, we have an incredible heritage, but it is also a tremendous service, because we cannot let go of the Hungarian folk spirit that carries the message for me to give love – I give it to people through my products. It’s not an emotional issue, for me it’s a duty. The name Hungarian Spring also comes from the fact that I work with Hungarian products and Hungarian ingredients, and it contains the joy of broadcasting, together with my Hungarian spirit.
Eva: What about Hungarian Bath Soaps, which are also based on thermal water? In its name, both are associated with Hungarian bath culture.
Adrienne: This is a separate story. It is different from Hungarian Spring and was made for those who choose Rose de Luxe, which does not contain Hungarian thermal water, to choose from a third family of products based on thermal water, that symbolize purity and regeneration. Here I would like to add that besides the Rose de Luxe, all ADRIENNE FELLER cosmetics contain the same amount of thermal water, as the luxury line Shine, and the Pour Homme, product line for men.
Eva: What is the concept behind each product line? Beside the power of thermal water, in which are these cosmetics different from others?
Adrienne: Each collection is made at the same time. Part of my concept is that I don’t have day and night cream, I like to talk about skin needs, so I recommend nutritious and moisturizing creams to my clients. For me, night skin nourishment is Aromazen aromaqua and facial oils, and daytime is the choice of a more substantial or lighter cream depends on the season. We also make extracts for each product, and when we look at our domestic raw materials and compare them with raw materials from anywhere in the world, there is no match for raw materials made in Hungary. What is created at home is rich in minerals due to the Carpathian Basin. Thanks to the thermal water, the earth is full of minerals. Not only is it a product for me, but I have found myself in it, this is my art, my way – all the details are important to me.
Eva: Hungarian Spring has been on the market in the country for 16 years. How did the Hungarian public accept the launch of a product made with domestic thermal water?
Adrienne: This is an interesting thing, when I started my career, the Hungarians were very fond of foreign products. They mainly thought in cosmetics that everything French was good and Hungarian less. I had to tell them why it is good to use Hungarian cosmetics, there was such a preconception. I wanted to cultivate a very high standard of education, the training of my professionals, and the packaging of the products. If you take a look, the product is natural, I did not use the natural packaging that was typical at the time the products were born. Even in the most humble of circumstances, a woman longs for a little luxury, which means she is precious and beautiful. By now, we have become aware of the fact that we have a thermal water based product at home. We have very positive results. Those who have tried my products have not bought anything else afterwards. I haven’t heard anyone stop using my products yet. In fact, famous people use and find us wanting to work with us because they believe in the product.
Eva: Are you planning to introduce the brand beyond the borders of Hungary?
Adrienne: Of course. Our production is currently moving to Jászfényszaru with a fantastic team. You have to know that such a process does not just work by having a recipe and then adding it up to anyone. It can only be made by a person who is so attached to it. Therefore, not only the ingredients and the recipe are important in the whole Adrienne Feller concept, but also those involved in this whole story. We went step by step. Company development is an art, you have to love and care for every detail. You need to be able to make decisions and to make good decisions. Now we are known to be known in several places in Scandinavia, we are already shipping to Slovakia and Romania, and we are even present in Germany.
Eva: Recently, you won one of the products at the “Joy Prix de Beauty 2019“. Which was it?
Adrienne: Yes, with Shine moisturizing cream we won first place in the luxury category. We have never left anywhere without an award, but it has been a huge recognition for me, so to speak, on top of everything. We have been competing with world famous products such as Dior, Chanel or Lancôme. It was a small Nobel Prize for me. Real great happiness. The jury members came up to me and said they loved every moment they used the product. They make me feel very good, as do women stopping in the street and thanking me for how beautiful their skin has been since using my cream. One of my most beautiful memories was when the Adrienne Feller Store Opening Ceremony in Mom Park was, and a mom with three kids came to me from the crowd. The lady traveled by train from the countryside just to personally congratulate and thank me for the fact that my products helped her little boy overcome his asthma.
Eva: You really like what you do … What perspectives do you see on the brand in the future?
Adrienne: … And I am very grateful to be able to do this, and all my colleagues are doing it with fantastic enthusiasm. There is no person here who would not bring the human quality that the whole company image wants to convey. I really think when these creams are applied to women because they are made with love, with the spirit we put in, she not only hydrates herself, but also receives a kind of confirmation that her existence is important. Like a pearl on the chain. We also considered using the thermal water of another spa. However, this is still the music of the future, which I dont want to talk about just now.