March is Women’s History Month, a month where we celebrate the vital role of women in American history. The 21 st of March is also National Fragrance Day, a day where we celebrate all things fragrant. Blending these two together, it was kismet to curate a collection of all female perfumers and creative directors that fearlessly charged into the often-secretive society of perfumery and made their mark. A gloriously fragrant mark that is!
For the 2022 March Collection, Gold Rush, we honor women in perfumery. Always inspiring, each one of these ladies rock the indie perfume world and it is our absolute honor to showcase them.
They’re gold. You’re gold.
Let's meet Kelly Jones of Kelly + Jones and enjoy the gold rush.
Scent Sommelier: Kelly Jones
House: Kelly + Jones
Fragrance Selected for the March 2022 Box: Mezcal Verde
Q: Who is the most influential woman in your life, past or present?
Always my mom – she’s been there behind the scenes with my business from the very start, cheering me on and inspiring my creativity.
Q: What do you think helped you the most to make a career as a woman? What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?
Before transitioning into a fragrance career, I lived a very different life working as a Product Planner in the auto industry. Yes, I am a gearhead! You can say that it’s a very masculine industry, but I simply applied my love of cars to my everyday work, and I found success, respect and fulfillment. The secret is to always, always follow your heart and passion.
Q: Did you always want to be a perfumer? If not, what did you want to be growing up and how did the transition to become a perfumer come about?
I was always in the woods as a child, gathering botanicals and trying to make my own perfume from the forest. The worlds collided when I was on a business trip in Japan, when I smelled the cherry blossoms blooming. That scent inspired me to follow my nose, remember nature and explore ways to create my own fragrance brand.
Q: When you did become a perfumer, were you self-taught or formally trained? Please expand on how that evolved, what was great about it, what was not great or things you wish were different.
When I started out, I knew absolutely nothing about perfumery – I just knew that I had to follow my nose. In fact, I didn’t even know about the world of the fragrance house. I took courses and started my own ingredient library to teach myself. With an enormous stroke of luck, I landed a coveted position with a fragrance house in New York and spent several years working in the industry on the marketing side. I met and worked with some of the world’s greatest perfumers, and the education and experience were invaluable. I don’t call myself a Perfumer; rather, I’m a Scent Sommelier – creating the initial fragrance concept and direction, and then I partner with an experienced perfumer to bring it to life. I’ve had the great honor of working with Steven Claisse from Takasago on Mezcal Verde. He’s created this most complex, mystical fragrance that takes you into the jungles of the Yucatan.
Q: How have others embraced or judged your profession as a Scent Sommelier?
My journey was unique since I have used my fragrances to cross into the world of wine and spirits, and even the auto industry. It’s so rewarding when I see how fragrance can positively impact other parts of our world, and when others find inspiration from it. I love to bring the world of scent into surprising new places, to awaken all of our senses.
Q: Perfumers and creative directors that have their own brands like you do, many times have to wear many hats. Is this the case for you? And if so, what hats do you wear the most? Which ones do you love, hate?
There are definitely many hats! Hand-pouring fragrance, even labeling and bottling… running our website, marketing, shipping, managing wholesale accounts and all of the business development. My favorite job always entails the creative side, like ideating new fragrance concepts and products. Even with the tasks that aren’t so fun for me, like taxes and accounting – I am grateful every day that I get to do what I love.
Q: What advice or words of wisdom would you give a young woman who wanted to be a perfumer or start her own perfume company?
Even when it gets super challenging - never, ever quit.
Q: We chose Mezcal Verde for this month’s collection. Can you tell us more about this fragrance? The inspiration, the key notes, how it makes you feel when you wear it, why customer’s love it, etc.).
This fragrance is the 4 th in our Eau de Mezcal series – inspirations from the mystical world of Mezcal. During the shutdown in 2020, my trips to Mexico were cancelled. I trekked into the forests of the Catskills, discovering hidden, lush waterfalls that reminded me of the Yucatan jungle. This fragrance transports your senses on a forbidden trail through lush leaves into hidden waterfalls, wherever you are. Ingredients include Vetiver, Patchouli, Violet, Amber and Lavender with smoky nuances of Cade and Birch. A portion of every sale goes to Programa Vaca, a grassroots organization in Mexico that teaches rural communities to build using sustainable, natural materials.
Q: What in your life has brought or given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment? Looking back, what would you have done differently? What would you do again?
Every time I choose to go against the grain, it leads to the greatest adventures. Life is about taking risks and always being true to your heart, while doing the right thing. My only regret in life is selling my surfboard back when I moved away from LA! There have been heartaches and heartbreaks too, but I cherish all the chapters.
Q: What do you do for fun these days?
I have a Cairn Terrier puppy who looks just like Toto from the Wizard of Oz. We’re searching for adventures over the rainbow – and good smells, of course!
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