Shipping to
United States
Photography by Mr Michael Bodiam | Words by Mr Benjamin Seidler

Although Mr Ben Gorham started his perfume company Byredo in 2006, the house remains one of the freshest and most cutting-edge brands in contemporary fragrance. With scents based on the likes of ink and lipstick, Mr Gorham takes an artistic and personal approach to creating Byredo products, which sell in stores around the world and his own jewel box of a shop under his office in Stockholm. Raised in New York by an Indian mother and a Canadian father, Mr Gorham, 35, has an international approach to design that is reflected in the travel-friendly candles and scent cases he is now developing for the brand. Formerly a basketball player (unsurprising as he towers over his desk at 6'5", making the grandiose high ceilings of his offices look quite standard), Mr Gorham discovered the world of perfume after he left the court behind to study art. Upon a chance meeting with a perfumer called Mr Pierre Wulff, he decided it was scent, and not paint, that was the ideal medium to express his creative ideas. Now, he starts each fragrance with an abstract idea that he goes on to develop with world-renowned perfumers Ms Olivia Giacobetti and Mr Jerome Epinette. Here, Mr Gorham takes us around his office space and his new venture into sumptuous leather goods.

How did you find your space and why does it suit your work and lifestyle?
We looked for somewhere for almost a year and finally discovered the current space. It turned out it was used by the board of directors for the Swedish post office for many years, so that contributed to its grand character. It works well for Byredo because our organisation has grown so much in the past few years and it gives us the possibility to separate the creative studio from the daily operations. The ornaments and hand-painted ceilings are a constant reminder of the craftsmanship and attention to detail found in Sweden at the turn of the century.
How did you actually go about turning Byredo from an art project about smell into a business?
I started Byredo when I just graduated from the Stockholm art school. I met a perfumer called Pierre Wulff by chance and I wanted to create a project about smell. So he helped me translate certain memories into smell. One about my father was very personal, but I thought others could relate to it because of this idea of collective memories. This grew into an obsession and I decided I wanted to work with scent full time, and it made sense to create perfumes because of their accessibility. Perfume is something people can and do purchase, and so it made sense as a business.
Have you found it hard remaining private in the face of all your success?
Being independent means you get to do what you like. Byredo has always been focused on creative ideas. The business has been incredible in terms of growth, but it's been important to apply an artistic approach, even when there's a business that pays the bills. There's still a lot I want to do here.
Do you feel your sporting background has helped you?
Sport gives you a competitive edge in a crowded business, so it's about ambition and wanting to win and face up to challenges.
What is your favourite fragrance?
I don't actually wear fragrances, except when I'm working on one. Being surrounded by them on a daily basis, I'm always testing things and like to stay neutral.
How should a man choose a scent and where is the best place for him to apply fragrance on his body?
Choose your scent based on whether you have an emotional connection to what you smell. There are a lot of theories about where is best to apply a fragrance, none of which convince me. It's all about the reaction with skin. I just suggest putting the scent on your wrists.
What makes Byredo perfumes different from your average designer fragrance?
We use only the finest raw materials, and we stick to one design for all of our bottles, which was developed by M/M (Paris). We use the same typography and clean aesthetic so that the focus is on the scent.
How would you describe your style?
I love the easiness of a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, but have discovered the beauty of tailoring recently. So I have all my suits tailor made from Bauer just down the road from my office. They've been around for almost 150 years and they're the only real bespoke tailor left in Scandinavia. Those there now trained at Henry Poole & Co in London.
Why did you choose to do a leather travel collection for Byredo?
I spend more than 200 days on the road a year, so I know about the practical issues when it comes to travel. As for the leather, initially there was a relationship between leather and perfume, as, centuries ago, glove makers would use scented leather to mask body odour. So glove makers were the first people to sell scent commercially. I found that fascinating, so we started experimenting with scenting the leathers, and that became our angle.