Ask yourself: When's the last time you really fell in love with a fragrance? Do you even think twice about what your scent says about you? Can you identify your signature scent? If you're like the majority, chances are that you have a sad collection of once worn celeb-endorsed fragrances cluttering your vanity.
But, lucky for all of us according to Douglas Little, founder of Heretic Parfum, we're currently in the midst of a fragrance revolution. To find out how he's breaking the rules of fragrance with all-natural ingredient lists, non-gender specific scents and so much more, read on.
What was your first job?
I worked as an art director for a large cosmetic company in Woodland Hills, CA. That job sent me traveling all over the globe several times over and honed my skills as an artist, perfumer, marketer and business person.
What is a typical day like for you?
Like being set on fire and launched from a cannon. A typical day consists of early mornings, lots of caffeine and coloring boldly outside the lines.
Tell us about your office/workspace décor.
When I moved to Manhattan I told my realtor to find me the apartment from Rosemary's Baby. Unfortunately the Dakota was filled up so he found me a spot that's a stone's throw from the notorious landmark with a very similar vibe: A pre-war building filled with fantastic 19th century detail. It's the perfect space to be seduced by fragrance.
What are your favorite items in your office?
Two of my favorite items at my studio are my perfume organ (a shelf that organizes and holds my perfume ingredients) and a sculpture made by Tony Duquette. My perfume organ holds a little over 300 bottles of rare, natural and antique essences from all over the globe. The sculpture is of the Virgin Mary and was given to me by Hutton Wilkinson when my mother passed away—it has tremendous meaning to me.
What's the best part about your job?
The best part of my job is turning people on to fragrance. For the most part, people disregard their sense of smell and only use it to figure out if the milk has gone bad, smoke is in the house or dinner is ready. I love speaking about fragrance and sharing it with others. For many, discovering fragrance, especially natural fragrance, is eye opening and awe inspiring.
What's the most daring career risk you've ever taken?
Leaving my steady, corporate job to follow my dreams: absolutely terrifying.
Who are some of your career heroes?
Alexander McQueen, John Demsey, François Coty and Gypsy Rose Lee.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Look at everything as though you are seeing it for the first time, with eyes of a child: Fresh with wonder.
Tell us about what makes your scents different?
Heretic Parfum is comprised of 100% natural materials. This makes the fragrances very unique in the fragrance world as there are virtually no luxury fragrance brands that are 100% natural. Even the alcohol I use is corn alcohol. (Fun fact: Heretic is the only fine fragrance available at Barneys New York that is 100% natural).
How should buyers think about purchasing scents?
Fragrance is very personal and at the moment we are going through a bit of a fragrance revolution. What I mean by that is consumers are steadily growing tired of celebrity-endorsed fragrances and are looking for something special. I think that fragrance should be thought of like a signature: unique, individual and your own.
Why is it worth it splurge?
If you find a fragrance that does these things: makes you feel sexy, empowered, elusive, tranquil, sophisticated and demure, then it is well-worth the splurge.
What makes unisex scents work so well?
I don't believe in gender-specific scents. I believe that each of us have masculine and feminine aspects and it's how you work with these aspects that make you an individual. I chose to develop my fragrances without gender in mind so the person wearing it can make those decisions.
Tell us about the celebs that are fans of your parfums.
A few celebrities that have fallen in love with Heretic are Jodi Lynn O'keefe , Gwyneth Paltrow, Bette Midler and Dita Von Teese. I love seeing all of these women wear my fragrances as they are all strong, unique and extraordinary women. It's who Heretic Parfum was made for: unique and extraordinary people.
Today for lunch I had… a protein shake and a cup of coffee (super snooze-fest).
The first website I log onto every day is… it's a toss-up between NY Times or Mystic Mama.
My usual Starbucks order is… black coffee (it's the lesser of all evils).
If I wasn't doing this job, I would… be a psychologist or a stripper.
My favorite place to visit is… Big Sur and Paris.
List five things that are on your desk right now… sketch book, computer, bottle of sea weed absolute, passport and tarot cards.
The book I'm reading right now is… Odoratus Sexulais by Iwan Bloch.