Gino Percontino is the craftsman behind Añoranza, inspired by the Havana that exists only in a dream. And indeed, that’s how it exists for Gino—he has never been to the Cuban capital, though he has spent plenty of time in the Caribbean, experience that helped inspire his execution of that ethereal concept. The end result is stunning: floral and fresh, somehow reminiscent of mojitos and the salt of the sea and sensual nights spent dancing on cobblestone streets…
We wanted to hear how he did it. Gino was kind enough to give us a little of his time. Keep reading to see what he told us, including how his research for Añoranza included a little trespassing, and why it was like bottling paradise.
Our admiration for Annie Jackson knows no bounds. She’s the co-founder and COO of Credo Beauty, where she has essentially redefined clean beauty for a new generation through the brand’s pioneering approach to retail, both online and off. (Not to brag, but you can find our products on Credo’s real and virtual shelves.) Before that, she helped build Sephora’s U.S. presence from the ground up.
That’s why we asked her to curate a Sample Set of her favorite scents, which you can find right here. (You’ll never guess which one reminds her of “a badass with a sharp tongue”—specifically, her grandmother.) While we had her, we made sure to ask her how she does it, why she does it, and how she overcame the many challenges that face anyone brave enough to start a business from scratch.
We know fragrance—now. But not so much when we started, which is why we turned to experts like Anne Serrano-McClain and Chandler Burr, amongst others, to help us get our bearings.
And now, as we explore new realms beyond fragrance, we’ve sought out expert assistance yet again. Folks who had deep knowledge in different product categories, and who shared our beliefs and values—and of course have a good sense of humor.
Well, as luck would have it, good folks were just down the road—our fellow Austinites at Texas Beauty Labs. They know deodorant, body wash and body lotion. And as it just so happens, we’re getting into the business of making deodorant, body wash and body lotion. (More on those in a minute.)
In fact, they created the Internet’s best-selling natural deodorant, so they know a thing or three about crafting great-smelling products that are also made with integrity. And since that’s sort of our whole thing, we thought we should get to know each other better. Here’s what we’ve learned.
It seemed like a good idea at the time: Take some of our fine fragrances, and make candles from their scents. After all, if you love the way something smells on your skin throughout the day, why not perfume the air with it, too. Easy, right? Well, in the immortal words of the Brad Pitt film Moneyball, it’s incredibly hard.
Fortunately, we had the incredibly talented perfumer Nathalie Benareau to help us, and she made it seem effortless. In roughly two months, she took her original scents from Hanami, Olmsted & Vaux and Hepcat, and translated them into Annica, Claremont and Howl, respectively. “This guy I love to work with is very knowledgeable, and he gave me a few ideas on what to use,” she says. “I called him in and he said ‘Augh! These people who try to turn fragrance into a candle. It never works!’ [Laughs.] But it does if you do it the right way.”
We couldn’t agree more. We spoke with Nathalie to learn just what the right way entails.
We’ve long been admirers of Made Safe, the country’s leading organization dedicated to helping you make informed decisions about what products to bring inside your home. In fact, we’re one of their official Supporter Brands, which is part of why we want to pass along this cool piece of news.
When we first founded our business, one of our first decisions was that we would be a values-based organization—one that always takes into account all of our stakeholders when making any decision. This means that we consider the perspective of our clients, our partners, our team, our investors and our planet, with everything we do.
This might seem like the obvious thing to do, but unfortunately it’s not a common one, as many businesses make decisions only through the narrow lens of short-term profitability. By instead considering all stakeholders, we believe we will make thoughtful and balanced decisions that will, in turn, create the best outcomes for all of our stakeholders—including, most importantly, you.
Happily, we’re not alone in adopting this approach. In fact, there is a wonderful organization dedicated to helping businesses focus on creating what many call “conscious capitalism.” That organization is B Lab, and we’re thrilled to share that we’ve just been certified by them as a B Corp.
These days, you hear the term “natural” thrown around a lot. It sounds great—who doesn’t like nature?—but it’s a little misleading. After all, cyanide is found in nature, but you wouldn’t want to eat it, drink it, or spray it on your skin. That’s why we prefer the term botanical. It’s a little more precise (we only use plant products). And at this point, natural is basically a marketing buzzword. And who needs more of those?
Our goal is simple: We strive to use the best possible ingredients in all of our products, and the reality is that scents created in labs are often the better choice. Take Indian sandalwood. A wonderful ingredient, but one that’s been overharvested to the point of near-extinction. We love how it smells, which is why we don’t use it—we want future generations to experience it, too.
Welcome to the latest installment of Meet the Team, where we interview members of our team to get their insights on fragrance, candles, and life itself. Next up: Amanda Klohmann, who leads our Customer Experience team.
We spoke with her about her favorite fragrances, her scent memories, and her favorite places to go in Austin…
Today, we’re introducing a new series in which we interview the members of our team to get their insights on fragrance, candles, and life itself. We call it… Meet the Team. (Clever, right?)
First up: Shawn Freeman, who as our Chief Operations Officer keeps us running a tight ship, whether he’s overseeing all the orders we send every day, or assembling Ikea furniture for our upcoming pop-up shop. (Shh… you didn’t hear it from us.)
We spoke with him about his favorite fragrances, his scent memories, and (of course) his miniature golden doodle, Dixie.
Our friends at Glossy recently interviewed our founder and CEO, Eric Korman, for their namesake podcast. Among the topics: sustainability, transparency, and the fragrance industry at large (including what it means to buy a fragrance with a fashion designer’s or celebrity’s name stamped on it).