Luxury Leader | Dagmar Smit, Co-Founder & CEO, Elegantes London

In this weekly series, we meet a Walpole member chief executive to discover what makes them tick, how they define success, and what keeps them awake at night. This week we shine a light on Dagmar Smit, Co-Founder and CEO of the perfume house, Elegantes London.

As part of the husband and wife team behind Elegantes London, Dagmar Smit brings an extensive understanding of the luxury well-being and perfume industry to her role as CEO. Dagmar is expert on spa concepts, planning and design, spa procedures and spa products, with an in-depth understanding of health-fitness-diet disciplines with significant training from some of the world’s leading experts.

With a passion for perfume and its bottles since childhood, Czech-born Dagmar was first introduced to the world of design as a teenager, holding a summer job in a crystal artisan. Today she works with exquisite crystal.

At The Augustine Hotel, Dagmar acted as owner and managing director of both the development company and the hotel management company. Dagmar took over the Augustine Spa and passionately innovated the whole spa concept. Her dream was to introduce perfume as another dimension of a luxury life with style and for a unique guest experience. She advised and worked with prestigious international hotels and spa companies including Six Senses, ila Spa, Kerstin Florian and globally in locations such as India, China, Mexico, Beverly Hills, Austria and South Africa.

In addition to holding an M.Sc. in Water Engineering, from Czech Technical University, Dagmar speaks Czech, Italian, English, Russian and a working knowledge of German.

What does British luxury mean to you?

Luxury is increasing becoming a very overused word and is ‘popping up’ across the world.  Originating from Latin, luxury means ‘of excess and wealth’. However Elegance, another definition of Luxury, is more personal and has no price and no reason.

What’s your vision for the company?

The vision is to return the art of perfumery to its historic beginnings and traditions by creating a unique sensory experience. Elegantes London will become world renowned for possessing strong values, including honesty and integrity, working with talented craftsman and encouraging good manners and honour in everyone.

What do you see as the future of luxury?

The desire for uniqueness is impossible to measure and with the power of technology and social media, it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy something rare and unique. The only way to survive luxury is to support talented and young individuals by passing on cross-generational values and to support British craftsmanship. We need to distinguish the true value of luxury from a “need to have” to a “must have.”

What inspires you?

I learnt the biggest lessons in life from the development of The Augustine Hotel, turning this into a multi award-winning property with a rich history. This project presented a huge learning opportunity, understanding the quality of human craftsmanship and individual personalities. Thomas and I lived in the hotel for one and a half years and served guests 24/7. We experienced fame, love, happiness and birth. This really is the foundation to the creation of Elegantes London.

What piece of advice would you give to someone entering the luxury industry now?

Respect the heritage, create your own set of values and follow your dreams with a never-ending passion.

In a parallel life, what would you be doing?

Dancing and singing!

What’s your best luxury under £10?

Time; it is priceless!