Philanthropist Audrey Gruss Offers Hope Fragrance for the Holidays

Audrey Gruss and her Hope fragrance
Audrey Gruss and her Hope fragrance, Photos: HDRF

In August Southampton philanthropist Audrey Gruss held a White Tea Garden Party at her Southampton home, Fairwind, where she announced the September launch of her new fragrance, Hope. The four white flowers of gardenia, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley and tuberose compose the fragrance’s key notes; an all-white floral combination with a crisp note of verdant freshness. 100% of net profits from Hope fragrance go directly to Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF)—the nonprofit organization Gruss founded over a decade ago in memory of her mother Hope, who struggled with depression.

Twenty million Americans are diagnosed with depression each year, and 350 million people are affected globally—and “Hope” smells great—so you might well want to dabble some onto your holiday shopping list. The Hope fragrance collection is comprised of four products available at select Saks Fifth Avenue stores and at The products range in price from $40 to $115, and include Eau de Parfum, an Eau de Parfum purse spray, a Hand and Body Crème, and a scented candle.

HDRF’s mission is to fund the most innovative neuroscience research into the origins, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of depression and other mood disorders—bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety disorder and suicide. In 2010, HDRF launched its Depression Task Force—an outstanding collaboration of eight leading scientists at the frontiers of brain science from different research institutions across the U.S. and Canada.

Gruss had many insights to share about this precious gift called Hope that she has given the world.

Was the scent itself inspired by your mother’s tastes?
The scent was very much inspired by my mother Hope’s love of white flowers. She always loved the distinctive essences and surrounded herself by them. She said they made her feel very happy.

It smells great, is uplifting—do you feel that Hope has opened the doors for some sufferers to help them talk about their problems and seek help?
One of the reasons we developed Hope and launched it is to reach the tens of millions of sufferers who are afraid to talk about their depression and seek help. By seeing that the fragrance gives 100% of its profits to depression research, it absolutely might encourage them to discuss their issue since they see that it’s so openly discussed on the packaging and in the media where Hope has been publicized.

What has been the response to this product line?
The response to hope Fragrance at Saks 5th Avenue has been exceptional! During the first 10 days, we sold out of two products on

What are your favorite ways to use the products?
Wearing fragrance in the morning is a ritual. I never leave home without it. I always do two things in the morning—put on earrings and spray behind my ears and on my wrists. I also take the hope purse spray with me and reapply midday and late afternoon. I always wear fragrance before I go out in the evening. The hand and body crème is superb. It is made of the most expensive ingredients and leaves smooth-feeling skin with no tackiness. I apply it in the morning after my shower and in the evening, if I take a bath. The hope scented candle is simply beautiful. You can use it in any room and have the delicious hope fragrance around you at all times.

What are you most excited about regarding progress being made to combat and manage depression?
I’m truly excited that our Depression Task Force has worked together for five years in a collaborative way, and found three major new targets for potential new medications. They shared information and published a paper in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Review recently, which identified the three areas for further development. This means that we’re very close to developing new categories of medication for the first time since Prozac was introduced over 30 years ago. That is major progress.

Hope fragrance is the first in the field of fragrance marketing to give 100% of profits to a major humanitarian cause. According to the World Health Organization, as of October 2016, depression is the #1 reason for disability worldwide. That’s staggering! One of the reasons we developed Hope fragrance was to expose the word “depression” and the issue to the billions who use fragrance. So not only is it a new source of revenue for depression research, but this is a major effort to raise awareness about depression using a very common and positive vehicle—the beauty of fragrance.

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