Kristiansand meets New York City

Kristiansand New York

Kristiansand New York

A new fragrance embodies southern Norway’s relaxation with New York City’s fashion-forward lifestyle

By Berit Hessen

Norwegian American Weekly

The brand-new cologne Kristiansand New York was conceived when two Norwegians, Britt Hovde Ross, a former model, and actress Elisabeth Steen, met for the first time in Manhattan through mutual friends at a chic Soho store opening.

With Elisabeth’s background in cosmetics and fragrance marketing, and Britt’s childhood dream, the two friends set out on a mission. Britt has always dreamed of making her own fragrance.

“Even as a little girl I stole rose petals from my mom’s rose bushes, to try to make my own perfume,” chuckles Britt.

The two Norwegians decided to work with Drom Fragrances’ perfumer Pierre Constantin-Gueros, who created the cologne with careful detail in his Tribeca studio.

“It was clear to me that this fragrance needs to reflect the fascinating contradiction that Kristiansand New York stands for,” says Pierre. “Kristiansand New York embodies the modern, cosmopolitan and fashion-forward New York lifestyle while paying tribute to the founders’ native Norway, a rather quiet place with a lifestyle much closer to nature.

“The same way New Yorkers long for the peace of the ocean and countryside, Norwegians long for the excitement of the city,” says the renowned perfumer. Pierre points out that both places are equally fascinating.

In the creation of Kristiansand New York, elements were added to represent the elegant New York side. These include chic musks, expensive amber and sophisticated powdery notes. These collide with a wild side that embodies the natural impact of Norway. Masculine woods are spiced up with raw pepper and topped by crisp green notes and clary sage.  Kristiansand New York is classy meets wild. In this unique cologne, nature meets style, and the result is a sexy woody-ambery definition of masculinity.

“We decided to make a men’s fragrance, because there were few on the market we really loved, and we wanted to create something that would appeal to young as well as the more mature consumer,” explains Elisabeth, whose father is one of the leading pianists in Norway, Einar Steen Nøkleberg. They even picked one of Norway’s hottest male models, Marius Kjelsrund, to enhance the product. Yes, you guessed it, he is also from Kristiansand.

Britt and Elisabeth gather inspiration from the two cities they love the most! And what better way to create a fragrance than combining inspirations from both. They also add that their parents, as well as grandparents, and their zest for life, gave them the foundation, determination and drive to follow their dreams!

When asked what challenges they meet in their business, Britt says: “I think we face a lot of the same challenges many start up companies do. It’s challenging to create brand awareness, get solid publicity, to find financial backing and to get our product out in a competitive market.”

Recently Kristiansand New York was nominated for the CEW (Cosmetic Excecutive Women) Award for Best Men’s Scent Category. Their goal is to make the brand a world-renowned quality luxury fragrance. They also hope to create additional lines, and of course a women’s fragrance to complement their label.

When Norwegian American Weekly asked Britt and Elisabeth if they miss Norway and Kristiansand, they quickly replied: “Yes, every single day! This is one of the main reasons we decided to name our product Kristiansand.” They strongly believe that a part of their homeland is in every single bottle created.

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This article was originally published in the Norwegian American Weekly on Nov. 13, 2009. For subscription information and to learn more, email or call (800) 305-0217.

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