Female Founders to Follow: Bee Shapiro, Ellis Brooklyn

This International Women's Month, we're celebrating like-minded brands with strong, creative, inspiring female founders at their helm.

Today, that's Bee Shapiro, founder of Ellis Brooklyn, a fragrance brand that combines clean ingredients, sustainable sourcing and unforgettable scents. We asked Bee to share her brand's story and a few of her own favorite things.


Dudley Stephens: Your brand is all about bringing the same clean standards we’re seeing elsewhere into the world of fragrance. How did you crack the code on the undesirable ingredients lurking in fragrances, and figure out how to replace them with cleaner possibilities?

Bee Shapiro: I was covering beauty and celebrity for The New York Times when I was pregnant with my first daughter Ellis and living in Brooklyn. I was always passionate about fragrance—it's this completely different way of storytelling to me—but I became even more so when I was pregnant. It gave me pause to what I was applying on my skin but also what I was breathing in.

Were there any surprises in that process?

In the beginning, it was tough to get the fragrance houses on board! Our no-no list was such a novel new thing that I had to a lot of convincing to get Ellis Brooklyn off the ground.

Where do you get inspiration for your fragrances?

Fragrance-making is super personal to me so each fragrance reflects a mental state of where I was at that point in time. For example, BEE eau de parfum was when I was going through a personal moment on inner self reflection. I also am influenced by writings, books, letters, poems and just the beautiful freedom of travel.

We love the names of your products, inspired by literature and your love of words. How do you think being a writer has informed the growth of Ellis Brooklyn, and vice versa?

I love the impact of words and I think that helps tremendously with names. Having to write for newspaper column inches, you have to be very efficient with your word space. That's how I think of our scent creation and naming as well. There's a lot of noise out there, so how do you break through with something that conveys exactly what your message is.

What's your morning routine?

I am so fast on a usual morning out of necessity! Ellis Brooklyn has a moisturizer that we're not known for but that I love. It's the perfect amount of hydration for me. I put that on as a moisturizer and primer and then I like to do the Dior Glow foundation. It's transfer proof and medium to light coverage, which is ideal for everyday. I also like the Saie tinted spf as well if I'm going to be outside. Then I do a flick of liquid black eyeliner and brows by Anastasia. I'm into creamy blush sticks right now and I love those by Chanel. If I want a touch of highlighter I love the Saie Glowy Super Gel. If I need bronzer, I like the Makeup by Mario sticks. Then, I'll spritz on fragrance according to my mood. Right now, I'm into our newest—FLORIST eau de parfum—which is like a spring bouquet.

Do you, yourself, have a signature fragrance?

My all time favorite would be MYTH. I created it for myself. It's this clean white musk scent that smells like fresh laundry with a dose of sun-warmed skin.

What’s your favorite spot in Brooklyn?

There are so many great spots, but I'm so charmed by Rule of Thirds. It's impeccable Japanese cuisine but also so hip.

Your favorite Dudley Stephens style?

I adore my Prospect Pullover. It's breezy, sporty and, with the high neck, chic at the same time.

How do you spend your downtime?

When I'm not going to hockey games for my girls, my favorite thing to do is take a tennis lesson just for myself. It's like a little treat and a super way to get stress out!