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Women Who Launch: Raquel Bouris

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By Lucy Cocoran on 8th May 2024

In this edition of The Sybarite's Women Who Launch series we sit down with Raquel Bouris, the Founder and Creative Director of WHO IS ELIJAH.

The perfume world is a competitive one, meaning that carving out a niche is necessary in order to succeed. Nobody knows this better than Raquel Bouris, a Sydney-based entrepreneur who started her highly perfume business, WHO IS ELIJAH, from her garage in 2018.

Bouris had the idea for the brand just one year prior, having met a woman wearing an unforgettable scent at Coachella in 2017. In an attempt to recreate the perfume, Bouris created something else entirely, which she liked far better. This would go on to be the brand's flagship, gender neutral scent known as His/Her.

This decision to keep scents unisex has become a key part of the WHO IS ELIJAH ethos. Blending masculine and feminine notes has resulted in boundary-pushing fragrances which are equal parts unique and universally appealing. On top of this, scents is cruelty-free and vegan, each hand-filled and produced in small batches to minimise wastage.

Building this brand from the ground up has given Raquel critical insight into what it takes to be successful in a highly saturated industry, with passion and risk-taking chief among them.

Just five years after launching, Raquel took the brand global, introducing WHO IS ELIJAH to the UK market. It was no small feat, but felt like a natural progression given the brand's success on home soil. Given its arrival in the UK market, now is the perfect time to learn more about the expanding perfume empire, and the woman behind it.

Below, we speak to Raquel about what it takes to succeed in the fragrance world, the brand's UK expansion and life as a working mum.

Q:  What do you each enjoy most about running WHO IS ELIJAH and why? Has this changed over time?

A: Running WHO IS ELIJAH allows me to be unapologetically myself. I love the creative freedom. Over time, this joy has only deepened as I've seen our brand grow and resonate with so many people.

Q: Congratulations on expanding into the UK last year, I was so excited to hear the news! What was that process like and why was this an important market for the brand to tap into?

A: Thank you! The UK was  a natural market for us to explore, and one I have always wanted to crack. It was important for us to tap into the UK to reach a broader audience and share our unique scents with more people.

Q: You are a major player in the genderless fragrance movement - why did you decide to head in this direction and what makes this category unique?

A: We believe that scent has no gender. Fragrance is a personal expression of oneself, and limiting it to traditional gender norms felt outdated. We wanted to offer a range that everyone could enjoy, regardless of gender, and this has been a core value since the inception of WHO IS ELIJAH.

Q: The fragrance industry is a competitive one, so what has been your strategy for standing out?

A: Our strategy has been to stay true to our values and our unique approach to fragrance. We focus on quality, sustainability, and inclusivity, which has helped us stand out in a crowded market.

Q: What is it about the fragrance industry that continues to inspire you?

A: Fragrance has a unique ability to evoke emotions and memories. This constant evolution and connection to people's lives inspire me to keep creating and exploring new scents.

Q: Is there a particular business skill you are currently trying to master?

A: I am constantly learning for sure. I am so lucky to have built an amazing team around me, who are better able to do certain things that I am not! I am a big believer in not being the smartest person in the room. 

Q: As a working mum, how has it been raising two young children while also building a very successful business?

A: It's been challenging but easy at the same time. I couldn’t balance motherhood and a business without the support of my family.  Seeing my children grow up in an environment where creativity and entrepreneurship are celebrated makes it all worth it.

Q: You are both Founder and Creative Director of the brand, so what does a typical day look like for you?

A: My days are filled with a mix of creative brainstorming, product development, social media content, finance & more. No two days are the same, which keeps things exciting!

Q: What advice would you give to budding female entrepreneurs?

A: Trust your instincts, stay true to your vision, and don't be afraid to take risks. Surround yourself with a supportive network and never underestimate the power of resilience.

Q: You've hired a lot of women in your team which we love to see! Why was it important for the brand to champion female employees?

A: Women bring a unique perspective and strength to the table. It wasn't something that I planned to do, it was a natural direction of the business, and I love it! 

Q: What has been your proudest achievement to date?

A: My proudest achievement has been seeing WHO IS ELIJAH grow from a vision to a thriving brand that resonates with people worldwide. 

Q: Are there any mantras/outlooks which have helped you through challenging times?

A: Everything will work out, trust the universe. 

Q: Moving forward, how would you like WHO IS ELIJAH to evolve as a brand/what’s next?

A: We're constantly innovating and exploring new ways to connect with our community. I envision WHO IS ELIJAH expanding its range of fragrances, reaching new markets, and continuing to push boundaries in the fragrance industry.

WHO IS ELIJAH is available to shop in the UK here.

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