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30 Years of Inspiration and Passion for Fragrance

Embark with us on LAFCO New York founder Jon Bresler’s journey of self discovery, formative experiences, and enduring relationships that helped him create the brand you know and love today. This journey reveals an ongoing exploration into the possibilities of fragrance.


“I’ll never forget that intoxicating olfactory exploration – like nothing I’ve experienced ever before.”

1991

The Aromatherapy Revelation

Jon quit practicing law and began working and traveling in Europe. In Zurich, a fortuitous find in the Bellevue Aoptheke led him to purchase anti-stress aromatherapy bath oils. This began an extended odyssey around Europe exploring the apothecaries and purveyors of homeopathic tinctures. His quest to get more, learn more, and smell more began.

1992

The Beginning

Jon founded Luxury Articles & Fragrance Company with the intention to actively participate in the preservation of authentic European botanical and artistic perfumery practices. It was the start of a decade of importing and developing niche fragrance and beauty products for the U.S. market.

This was Jon’s first opportunity to work with European perfume houses to develop his fragrances and begin learning the art of perfumery.

1993

For the Love of Soap

In Porto, Portugal, Jon discovered a small, antique factory (est. 1880) with a rich history of artisanal soapmaking. Here, he developed the Claus Porto brand which included fragranced bar soap wrapped in historic art deco patterns – the first European luxury soap introduced to the U.S. market.

1993-1997

Natural Perfumery and Botanical Skincare

Jon learns all about botanicals and natural perfumery from the experts at the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella.

SANTA MARIA NOVELLA

The pharmacy dates to 1221 when Dominican monks began experimenting with herbal preparations and homeopathic remedies using botanicals from their monastic garden, eventually becoming a destination for devotees of its natural fragrances, balms, and elixirs. Soon after Jon’s first visit he started his 17 year relationship as the exclusive North American distributor.

“It was like home for me. I was there five times a year training with the chemists, absorbing everything I could about the process of botanical skincare and natural perfumery production. When I should have been in New York building my business, I was in Florence learning about orange blossoms and the use of arnica cream. I got very steeped in it all – I became a ‘Santa Maria Novella man,’ and I knew I had found my niche.”
“Perfumery is described in musical terms. Natural perfumery is like a string quartet and classical perfumery is a symphony orchestra – so big it’s often too much for some people.”

1996

The Art of Perfumery

While Santa Maria Novella represented the school of natural perfumery where fragrances are derived from a finite, much smaller number of ingredients from which scent can be extracted, Lorenzo Villoresi was a classical perfumer whose compositions were much more complicated, sophisticated, and robust. To create a rose-scented perfume using Lorenzo’s classical perfumery approach, for example, 15 different species of rose and hundreds and hundreds of additional notes are blended to compose a classical rose fragrance.

1998

The Store

Jon opens the first LAFCO New York retail store in Tribeca, lower Manhattan. It is the first Santa Maria Novella store outside of Florence, Italy. Jon is widely celebrated in the beauty industry for making what was thought to be the nearly unattainable attainable.

“Jon was the first and only person who ever came to us to learn about the integrity of our brand and products in order to carry on that tradition.”

- Santa Maria Novella owner Diana Stefani, W Magazine

“Alongside the classical and traditional brands in our portfolio, Eau d’Italie completed a triad of perfume traditions in our collection and cemented our identity as a purveyor of niche fragrances.”

2001

Modern Perfumery

Italian brand Eau d’Italie composed distinctively modern olfactory experiences in a contemporary Italian creative key. LAFCO New York launched the brand in the USA and a close bond was formed with the owners and creators.

2007

House & Home: A New Era

With more than 15 years of accumulated expertise in essential oil-based formulas, and both classic and modern perfumery, Jon launched the LAFCO House & Home Collection of luxury scented candles in colorful, blown-glass artisanal vessels.

It was the first-of-its-kind collection developed around the idea of combining scent, color, and design intended to transport consumers to a room, setting, or destination. The concept was to empower fragrance in candles to demonstrate how scent can transform a space and create an immersive sensory experience.

“Staying true to our natural roots, all our fragrances have a natural aromatherapy component and are produced with a non-toxic soy wax for a clean burning experience.”
“Whether evoking a mood, creating a scented ambiance or simply washing your hands, I want our fragrances and products to be considered tools for making the everyday extraordinary.”

2012

Bath & Body as an Art Form

Jon went back to Europe to work with small, family-owned businesses to make natural skincare products. This endeavor included a multi-year quest to create the perfect bar of soap, sulfate-free liquid soap, and hand cream based on highly reparative botanical oils.

2013

A Family Affair

Jon went from being the “cool uncle” to “boss” when his nephew Marty Shapiro joined the company as Chief Operating Officer. Over the next several years, Marty implemented a successful strategy to focus on distributing LAFCO-branded products only, leaving Jon free to focus exclusively on creating new products and fragrances.

“We have always taken great pride in the artisanal origins of our products and this collection makes that craftsmanship the focal point. Each fragrance is made from an absolute oil that is cultivated using time-honored techniques dating back to the 18th Century. This artisanal process is further enhanced by the intricate color designs of the beautiful blown-glass vessels”.

2021

The Absolute Collection

LAFCO launches a colletion that celebrates the core values that have defined the brand from the very start: Artistry, Integrity, and Luxury.