Most don’t consider the complexities and subtle nuances of creating a scent. The interplay of bergamot, vanilla, jasmine, patchouli, and wood is a delicate balance called “Lightning Paw.” Enter the nose of this creation: Heather Sielaff.
Sielaff became involved in the fragrance business as a means to escape the physical rigors of her other job.
“I started making perfume as a hobby because I assumed there was no way to tie it into my work,” Sielaff explains. “My training is in different forms of bodywork, things like neuromuscular therapy and Gyrotonic. Making perfume was a way to be alone, to do something that didn’t involve straining my body.”
This side hobby turned into an actual business when friends began suggesting she should start selling her creations. In 2009, she launched her product at Nationale, a Portland gallery and specialty shop. One-by-one, Sielaff designs, distributes, packs, and ships each of her fragrances.
Sielaff contends there is immense emotion tied to the power of scent.
“We don’t really grow up discussing smells. Things smell good or bad. But smells bring up so many emotions for each of us. I like the idea of introducing that concept to people, to open them up to the idea that smell is so much more than just good or bad.”
As she continues to produce each vial one-by-one, she’s perfectly content with the size of her business as it is. Starting with a $200 investment, her attention to detail has paid off, selling in online stores and numerous shops across the country.She harkens to the memories tied people and different experiences, in the same way one can remember specific memories tied to the smell of someone’s home. Sielaff elaborates, “I can walk into my grandmother’s house and instantly feel the ease of every Sunday lunch I’ve had there since childhood. I can smell damp earth and be taken on countless walks through the Pacific Northwest in a matter of seconds. I hope the scents I create take people on little trips like that!”
Sielaff describes Portland as the perfect place to practice such a small craft, “I can drive 20 minutes outside of
the city and be in a beautiful gorge with waterfalls and endless trees. I’m always amazed at how lush and green everything is. The rain doesn’t bother me at all. It makes me feel like everything is washed and clean.”
But perhaps the most important part of her business are her intentions.
“Portland is also full of such talented people doing what they love. It’s not about making a ton of money it’s about being fulfilled. That’s the most inspiring thing to me, fulfillment.”
Special thanks to Work.Place for the photos.
We are giving away sample sets of Heather’s fragrances!
If you’d like to win one, email us a photo of something you’ve created. It can be anything; a bag, a belt, a poster, or even your own fragrances too. We’ll select a winner to send a sample pack.
Email us with your name, age, address, and gender [to know which sample kit to send you] to florenceandmillie [at] gmail [dot] com.