Cruelty-free and locally-made luxury perfume sounds almost too good to be true. But Katrina Sellers makes it real at Jules and Vetiver.
Originally from New York, Katrina found her passion for fragrance and beauty early. She decided she wanted to pursue a hands-on career. Then, it felt only natural to create a fragrance. We sat down with Katrina where she opened up about Jules and Vetiver’s respective ingredients and customizable scent option.
What led you to create a fragrance entirely your own?
I wanted to know exactly how the perfume was made and how ingredients work together. I wanted to really get to know the inner workings of a perfume, because it was always interesting to me, but completely opaque, because pretty much every single fragrance out there refuses to disclose what’s in it.
How did you choose the name “Jules and Vetiver”?
I knew I wanted a name that would be a little playful, not too feminine (since we’re a unisex brand), and inspired by raw materials. I’ve always loved the name “Jules” and vetiver is one of my favorite botanical ingredients to work with.
What elements of mainstream fragrance were you trying to steer clear of?
The traditional way of buying perfume is baffling and opaque. We end up buying things for all the wrong reasons because looks and labels skew us. The more we remove the traditional barriers that make perfume feel confusing and unapproachable, the more people can learn about how fragrance is built and layered.
How do you go about selecting ingredients for each batch?
I start off with a scent brief to sketch out a vision for the scent and to give some inspiration and direction. For me, this usually involves noting a few key ingredients or accords that I want to build around. It ends up being a lot of trial-and-error. Getting feedback is also vital. I want to gather as much data as possible about everything our clients like, and use that to innovate the artistry of our scents.
Tell us more about your customizable fragrance services and what customers can expect from the process?
We’ve just started rolling out this offering. We start with a detailed questionnaire to start sketching out your scent profile. We blend three rough scents based on that initial data, and then do a couple more rounds of calibrating until we land on a final scent. At the end, you have a scent that’s tailored for you. Eventually, we want to perfect the process where we’ll focus a lot more on customization. I want our fragrances to be about you, not us.
What has the process being like of starting your own business?
Perfumery is an amazing balance of art and science, and being able to tirelessly work away on something until you’ve made what you love is incredibly rewarding. Being small can be scary, but it means I can make small batches and calibrate the brand until, collaboratively with client’s feedback, we’ve built a brand and a portfolio of fragrances that we love. I already feel like we have made great strides.