Yes it is that time again! I am starting up Indie Interview once again! I shall be asking indie owners serious and silly questions to find out more about them! For our first installment we have Claire from Sixteen92. Maker of awesome smelleries!
Where are you from?
I’m a Texas girl — born and raised in Dallas
What made you decide to start making perfume?
There are a few ways I could answer this question, really. In the most general sense, I had been searching for a fulfilling creative outlet that gave me something to *make* with my hands. I am in the creative industry by career, but as an interactive and digital art director it is rare that I have the opportunity to create something tangible, something wearable, something truly personal. I wanted something I could put my whole heart into; fragrance has always been something I connected with on a very personal level, and from my very earliest experiments I knew this was something I needed to explore further.
Why sixteen92 and how did you come up with the branding?
I’ve always been fascinated with history and lore, and particularly have not shied away from some of the darker periods in early American history. So while the name Sixteen92 is obviously a cultural reference to the 1692 Salem witch trials, I wanted to blend some of these historical references with a modern design aesthetic when working on the brand. Perfumery is an ancient and timeless art that has grown and evolved over the centuries, taking bits and pieces of character from every era. As perfumers we are inspired by Alchemy (the old), guided by Science (the modern), and invigorated by Magic (the creative).
How do you choose the names and quotes for your scents?
Usually I’ll have an idea of a story I’d like to tell with a scent before I begin blending; other times, it’s a little more difficult! There have been a few cases where a finished blend has really surprised me by being nothing like what I’d planned, and I think that’s part of the beauty of perfumery — there is an element of control (and science) involved, but still the blends sometimes seem to want to tell their own stories and go in their own directions
How long does it generally take you to make a batch of a scent?
From initial concept to completion of a production batch may be hours, days, weeks, or, in a few cases, many months. For most concepts, I have a few versions brewing simultaneously, and will narrow down slowly over the course of a week or two until I’ve found the blend that comes closest to what I was trying to achieve. Many blends (and some entire concepts) never quite get there, and there are a few that I’ve been working on for months. Once I have an approved formula and am ready to brew a production batch, though, it goes pretty quickly. I can mix a production batch in under an hour, but they do like a bit of a “rest” before they’re ready to be bottled.
Where do you make your perfumes and other products?
I have taken over about half of the first floor of my house, much to my husband’s displeasure. Goals for 2015 include moving into a dedicated production facility.
What sizes do you offer for your perfumes, lotions and shower gels?
Perfumes are available in 2mL sample vials and 1.5 dram (5.5-6mL) bottles; most general catalogue scents are also available in 10mL roll-on bottles. Lotions are available in 1oz mini and 4oz full size jars. Shower gels are available in 2oz mini and 8oz full size bottles.
Will we see any new products from you in the future?
I hope so! I am currently working with a candlemaker to hopefully translate some of my scents into candles and possibly other room fragrance options. I do not have a timeline for this yet as I am still in the planning stages, but it’s something I’m definitely working on
Oooo candles in your scents would be so amazing, room fragrance too!
Is making awesome smelly things your only job?
It is not. I currently own two businesses (the other being a line of screen printed infant and toddler clothing called Mod & Mini) and I work full-time in the advertising industry.
You sound like a busy lady!
What should new customers expect when purchasing from you?
Between my general catalogue and seasonal releases I try to present a fairly broad range of scents, so hopefully everyone should be able to find something that they love! I also put a lot of care into my packaging, and try to make the entire purchase experience as aesthetically pleasing (and great-smelling ) as possible.
What would you recommend for new customers to try?
When trying any new fragrance brand I always recommend starting with samples, as they give you the opportunity to try several different scents to see what works best for you. I recently introduced a Best Sellers sample pack that includes 6 of my most popular fragrances; I think it offers a little something for everyone
What would you say is your signature scent from your line?
I certainly have best-sellers (hello, Lolita!), and I also have my personal favorites, but I’m not so sure I would classify any single fragrance as a “signature;” that might be best left up to the wearer
Which scent best represents your company and style?
I would probably say Salem. Not necessarily for the obvious 1692 references, but because I think it represents my overall approach to fragrance design — a bit conceptual, atmospheric and slightly weird, but still wearable.
Salem is one of your scents I really want to try. It sounds amazing!
What are some scents that smell awful on their own?
Haha! There are a few. Civet comes to mind. Yikes. But it’s gorgeous blended at very small (<1%) dilutions with heady florals. Many of the aroma chemicals (Floralozone, Rose Oxide, some of the Aldehydes) are so strong undiluted that they will hurt your nose, and Birch Tar out of dilution smells like barbecue sauce.
I’m kind of curious about Rose Oxide now.
What are your favorite scents to work with?
I try to keep a pretty varied list of favorites, in an effort to remain as objective as possible with new blends. But the scents I am personally drawn to are the Fall and Winter types — the atmospheric, resinous, incense and smoky scents. I find those are often easier for me to blend because they are the scents that I personally wear most often. But, on the other hand, I think it might be more fun blending some of the floral/green Spring or Summer types because those are a bit more challenging for me. I’ve found some unexpected favorite notes while working with heavy florals and aquatics, despite these not being my personal choices for everyday wear. In fact, a few of my personal favorites from my own collections are some of the sweeter, more floral scents. I think I feel more connected to them because I spent so much energy working on them
What is your favorite scent from another indie company?
I have a few! BPAL Snake Oil, Aklemia Vamp, Solstice Scents Covered Bridge and Conjure, and 1000 Flowers Reglisse Noir (are they indie? Maybe more niche. Oh well).
Some non-indie favorites include several from Tokyo Milk (Bullet Proof and La Vie La Mort in particular), Comme des Garçons Avignon and Synthetic ry Clean, Fresh Cannabis Santal, Prada Eau de Parfum, and my weird guilty pleasure that nobody is allowed to laugh at me for, Britney Spears Curious (i’msosorry).
Now random questions!
What’s your favorite book?
I wish I had more time to read! There are a lot of books on my reading list. For classics, I would have to say Wuthering Heights. I’ve actually been working on a Wuthering Heights collection forever; maybe one day soon it’ll be ready
Do you have any pets?
I have two very opinionated dogs — a Boston Terrier named Maddie and a Siberian Husky named Bruce Wayne. My older daughter has a Bearded Dragon named Steve.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I don’t have much of that, to be honest. If I did, I suppose it would be spent on photography, which is something I enjoy but haven’t had much time for lately.
Do you have any hobbies?
I like cars (driving them, working on them, etc). If I had more time (see above re no free time!), I would love to get a cool old muscle car to restore.
Would you rather be a bat or a crow? And why?
Despite my strongly held belief that both of these animals are badass and awesome, I would have to choose bat by process of elimination, due to the fact that all crows are simply waiting for the first available opportunity to peck my eyes out. True facts.
Thanks so much for answering my questions Claire, I really appreciate it! I learned a lot. If you want to get a hold of Claire or try any of her products you can find Sixteen92 on Facebook and Instagram as well as on Etsy!
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