Maison Balzac is the brainchild of French-born, Sydney-based founder, Elise Pioch Balzac. The brand started with a simple set of candles inspired by the scents of Pioch Balzac’s provincial upbringing in the south of France. What started as a small idea in Sydney quickly grew into an internationally-acclaimed homewares brand known for its distinctive retro-inspired style, quality products, and designer fragrances.
Prior to her relocation to Australia, Elise Pioch Balzac was working in fashion in Paris for luxury label Hermes. Pioch Balzac was coordinating the iconic fashion house’s fashion shows, magazine editorials and interviews with then-design Martin Margiela. Pioch Balzac was so fond of Margiela that she too left Hermes when the designer departed the fashion house in 2003. The following year, Pioch Balzac booked a flight to Melbourne on an impulse without knowing any people in Australia, and without having a job lined up. Instead, the young French woman arrived in Melbourne with a burning curiosity and unfulfilled creativity.
Pioch Balzac spent the next several years in Australia working for various fashion brands as a buyer before she eventually founded her homewares label. Maison Balzac quickly became a coveted label known for exceptional branding, and exquisitely scented candles. The first set of candle scents came from a bout of homesickness that convinced Pioch Balzac to try to capture the effervescent experiences of her childhood. Pioch Balzac created her scents to evoke a sense of nostalgic romance, with a fondness for her childhood and family in the south of France. The brand’s name was directly inspired by Pioch Balzac’s grandparents who she says taught her a sense of style and balance which has permeated through her brand.
While the roots of the brand are inspired by its creator’s idyllic childhood in the South of France, Pioch Balzac proudly uses Australian essential oils and soy waxes to create her candles, working with Australian makers and perfumers to tell a story through perfume. The result is a product that fuses French savoir-faire with the boundless creativity that comes of living in an optimistic, youthful nation.
Australia is home to some of the best essential oils in the world, and there is something very recognisable in the pure botanicals grown in the country. They have a clean, strong and wild aspect that you identify after you have travelled in the bush once in your life. Pioch Balzac’s memories and experience with such perfumes have informed the distinctive, calming, and unique creations of such perfumes.
Maison Balzac’s distinctive opaque white glass packaging with simple, brightly coloured lettering reflects the branding and marketing skills that Pioch Balzac first learned while working at Hermes, then later at the Belinda, Marni, and Corner Shop boutiques where she worked as in Sydney from 2007 before founding her own brand. Pioch Balzac learned how to create and drive an authentic and unforgettable brand identity from Hermes, but she learned how to sell and finance that brand while working at Belinda. Pioch Balzac decided that she needed to find a very personal way to package her products to honour what personal stories each of her designs had behind them, which is how her unique, bold branding came to be. When Maison Balzac started and Pioch Balzac started pouring candles, she decided that three components would make her brand stand out, and they were the packaging, the perfume, and the glassware. Even from the beginning, Maison Balzac always needed to feel high end and bespoke, and Pioch Balzac began searching for artisan glassware, rather than machine-made designs. The goal was for anyone to pick up a Maison Balzac piece and immediately know the brand.
Pioch Balzac began scouting for the perfect bespoke glassware company to make unique and handcrafted vessels for Maison Balzac. One such company was based in Mongolia and specialised in a centuries-old tradition of glassblowing, with an historical practise grounded in glass blowing with colour. At Maison Balzac, every unit is made by hand, from pastel-hued carafes, opaque jade cups, and opalescent candle jars. For the Maison Balzac homewares range, Pioch Balzac has partnered with some of the most intriguing and traditional artisans from around the world for an heirloom worthy set of homewares and decorative designs. More than providing an aesthetic purpose, Maison Balzac designs are also purposefully functional, from beautiful sculptural style vases to delicate looking carafes and drinking glasses. Each piece is designed to mix and match yet provide a coherent style, like cups in a multitude of varying tones and shades, from amber to teal, pastel pink and soft jade green.
Here at Incu, we’ve handpicked a range of Maison Balzac homewares for you to curate your home with. Our selection of Maison Balzac candles, incense holders, essential oil burners, carafes, and glassware are small luxuries designed to turn any home into a sanctuary. Maison Balzac is a longtime Incu favourite and a recent collaborator, and each season the brand offers a range of uniquely designed, artisan-quality pieces inspired by retro shapes, and a distinctive European sensibility. Each season Maison Balzac designs are offered in an array of eye catching colourways, with pieces that are both functional and aesthetically appealing. Shop the range of homewares from Maison Balzac here at Incu and enjoy other items to complement your home design with pieces from brands like A.P.C. and 19-69.