I love that phrase: all those that wander are not lost… I especially loved it when I was in SoHo a couple weeks ago because I discovered something amazing! It was fun, pretty, chic, and I came out smarter and smelling nice! I am winning! And now, I’m sharing..
The scent bar at Perfumarie is like a sensory playground…if you like curated beauty, hand picked exotic scents (that smell really good). I have been wearing the same scent for 3 years… I’m embarrassed to admit this… Chanel’s “Sycamore." It comes in a pretty bottle that reminds me of No. 5. No- longer. I am changed. Except I don’t know what kind of girl I am now…Let me explain. Because it's completely delightful. This beautifully designed and curated shop happens to be shredding the idea behind what one's "scent" identity is. I couldn't believe my eyes, erm, nose, that I stopped to chat with the beautiful and newest members of my tribe on what their mission is. I tried my best to pay attention to their words, but all I kept thinking was, "I need to tell everyone about this place!!!"
But...my initial discovery of this game changer for the fragrance community went beyond just that. It's in fact a model for how we engage with products as customers. I became smarter about engaging, defining, and educating customers about my brand…
Founder Mindy Yang is an innovator and visionary with spiritual roots (she happens to be a reiki master too). She created Perfumarie with the goal of disrupting the status quo within commerce by taking the focus off the product and all that noise that comes with it and spotlighting the actual experience, engaging with the person experiencing it. (OMG, don’t you love that?? She’s like a superhero woman but her super power is disruption – gorgeous smelling, curated disruption!) I wonder if they have an internship program?? I had to get to the bottom of what makes this incredible girl boss tick by asking her my favorite hard-hitting questions.
AS: May I start with my favorite question- what is your spirit animal?
MY: The jellyfish.
AS: Love it- speaking of magical creatures, do you believe in magic? If so, what does it look like?
MY: Yes. Everything is energy, and magic happens when you combine faith with the deepest respect for the spirit of people, places, and/or things. For instance, perfumes are potions and activators of moments and emotions.
AS: Yes, they stir up things deep in my core, forgotten memories. They also instigate and empower. How would you define empowerment or ferocity. What does ferocity mean to you?
MY: Being fearlessly focused in actualizing your dream- unconditionally.
AS: What are three things you would tell someone who is just starting their journey to finding themselves? Do you have 3 pieces of advice to share?
MY: Quietly sit with yourself often and find your inner self. Love and trust that voice… Learn to become your own best friend.
AS: What are three things you keep in your hand luggage?
MY: I travel with a black azeztulite, for protection and infusion of light on hand.
AS: If you were able to gift somebody a "thank you," someone who truly helped / inspired you on your own journey, whom would that be?
MY: William Harris, my better half, inspires me every day and cheers me on to be always greater than myself. He’s a daily reminder of how there are extraordinary, yet humble, people in the world that care so much and made wonders happen.
AS: Thank you, Mindy.
Cut to my visit at Perfumarie. This was all surprise and delight. Ms. Ava Steinbrenner walked me through the unique experience that makes up a visit to their shop. She opened my eyes (among other senses) by further demystifying the business of fragrance...
Ava: Those misconceptions of the industry, we’re erasing them. This is an inclusive model- it shouldn’t be: “you do this, so you, therefore, should be into fragrance.”
AS: What’s that mean, “inclusive model,” just for a civilian like me?
Ava: So, how we are inclusive, is there are two aspects to the fragrance industry: in my perception as a still fledging fragrance fanatic; and it’s my experience from repping in a luxury department store, kind of like a Bloomingdales, as customers are shopping for a brand and not a fragrance.
AS: Oh, and so that’s why you made me look at things without a brand.
AS: What brand did I buy?
Ava: I can’t tell you until the reveal!
What they’re doing is they’re shopping for the latest fragrance du jour. They don’t know if it really matches them, but if it’s the latest celebrity, the latest designer, the latest, you know, iconic celebrity, they’ll shop for that whether it suits them for not. And then they realize it doesn’t suit them. And that’s why, actually, so many niche fragrance companies are emerging, because it’s more about the ingredient, and the art and the magic of perfumerie, as opposed to the name of the brand or the name of the celebrity. And that’s the reason honestly- it’s growing.
Ava: And just to get more into that. Perfumarie is taking the noise out of the model, the brand, the inundation of so many brands. You’re missing fragrances you may not have smelled...
Ava:..out of one brand to the next. Then on the flip side of that, the super niche, like a Barney’s. The Barney’s fragrance counter is a beautiful representation of niche brands. But it can be- for someone who’s very new to fragrance- it can be intimidating. Not just the scents, but also the pricepoint.
AS: Oh yeah, this was $15 for the bottle.
Ava: Exactly! So in our model, how we are inclusive is 1) we take away the noise, the brands, and 2) we take away the high pricepoints. There is affordable pricing.
AS: Oh it’s an inclusionary thing. I like that!
Ava: For someone like me, I like Le Labo’s Tuberose scent, and it’s the New York scent, so it’s the most expensive- it’s about a $400 pricepoint. So I can never afford it. But if Le Labo wanted to partner with us, we can essentially provide that fragrance to everyone at a much more affordable pricepoint. That’s the beauty of Perfumarie.
AS: I like that feeling of being able to have accessibility and it’s not like an exclusive, only for….
Ava: Correct. And the same goes for a retail brand. We are a multi-sensory playground that isn’t just exclusive to fragrance. It’s the olfactory experience at its core. So with bracelets, you’re wearing them around your wrist so it ties in with that fragrance pulse point.
AS: It’s a beautiful shop by the way.
Ava: Thank you! We have South African spices, chocolates… so we’re really open to bringing in anyone. We don’t turn anyone away. People want to know, well, what’s on our fragrance wall? Is it just mass brands? No- it’s mass, it’s niche, it’s luxury niche…
AS: And is Ms. Mindy Yang the curator of all those different things?
Ava: Mindy definitely plays a vital point in the curation process. She’s very open-minded, which is something that I really love about her, especially as a boss and a visionary. We’re very intuitive in the energy of brands, and the willingness to want to work together, because again, it is a partnership. It only works when both parties are equal in this mission of ours. Again, we’re completely open-minded and inclusive, not just to our customers but to the brands.
If anyone is in NYC and has an hour to invest in wellness – pls consider the delights that is Perfumarie. Tell them I scent you. Teehee!
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