Charlotteans love a customized, interactive experience — from pour-your-own candles at The Candle Bar to building your own cheeseboard at SkillPop. Now, you can build your own scent.
Katrina Sellers recognized the “do it yourself” trend and decided to capitalize on it. In 2018, she started Charlotte’s only locally based perfume company, Jules & Vetiver. The brand focuses on offering Charlotteans a small-batch, design-your-own perfume experience.
Sellers learned how to make perfume via an online course, books on the subject, and simply by practicing.
“I don’t think there’s such a thing as a born perfumer. It’s a skill set that you hone over time,” she explained. “It was intimidating at first. There’s a lot of chemistry behind it. But so much of it is just trial and error and being passionate about it. I’ve seen my collection of ingredients grow from 20 to I don’t even know how many. You’re always hearing about a new ingredient or a new scent combination.”
How it works: There are a few ways to experience Jules & Vetiver, depending on budget and time preference. You can work with Sellers to create a scent unique to you from scratch, shop from five ready-to-wear fragrances, or experience The Fragrance Bar out at local events, where you’ll get to design your own scent, choosing from 27 possible combinations.
Cost: Creating something via the fragrance bar costs between $34-$89, depending on ingredients and bottle size. Bespoke pricing starts at $199.
The Fragrance Bar: It’s designed to be a “hands-on, educational experience” with Sellers as your guide.
The actual production process happens off-site, and you’ll receive your finished scent a week or two later, in either a purse-sized spray or a one-ounce bottle.
Custom options: This process is both more expensive and more involved, but it’s popular for brides-to-be, those celebrating birthdays, and true perfume lovers.
To start, you’ll take a survey covering everything from food preferences to scents you love or have used before — whether it’s the Tommy Girl you rocked in 2002 or the scent of cotton candy that brings back memories of family trips to Myrtle Beach.
Sellers will send you fragrance options and you’ll provide feedback, going through up to three rounds of revisions. Once the fragrance is finalized, it’s blended and then bottled in sleek packaging (you can choose hardware and labels) and sent to you in the mail.
“It allows people to play around and, as cheesy as it sounds, it’s a process of self-discovery. People are often very surprised by what they like. And that way they feel like they have something that’s entirely their own. It’s not me saying, ‘Here’s something I made. I hope you like it.’ You’re in the driver’s seat.”
How it’s made: To create her fragrances, which are eau de toilettes (which means ten percent of the bottle is pure fragrance), Sellers uses a mixture of man-made and botanical ingredients. Sellers said sandalwood, florals, and clean scents are always fan favorites. People are also into food-inspired smells right now. But, ultimately, the final fragrance make-up is completely up to the client.