DIY Scent Studio is a make-it-yourself perfumery. More accurately, it’s an experience; an experience in smelling and creating. It is scientifically proven that the sense of smell has a high correlation to emotion and memory. DIY Scent Studio allows patrons to create their own custom perfume. Says owner Sherry Meredith, “We help create memories and we are artists. At DIY Scent Studio we encourage everybody to engage in making their own creation.”
Before opening the shop in the summer of 2017, Sherry considered herself a perfume hobbyist. She had a strong interest in perfumes and developed her hobby by taking perfumery classes with natural perfumers in Grasse, France. She saw the perfume organs and enjoyed making perfumes so much that she wanted to share experience. Says Sherry, “I thought how nice it would be to have something similar here on the East Coast.” (Incidentally, a perfume organ is a collection of vials containing pure aromas.)
Sherry enjoys the whole process of creating perfumes and her number one goal is having a satisfied client who loves what they made. She shares, “That’s the ultimate. And we guarantee you’ll love what you make. We’re not going to let you leave the shop without something you love.” Once you land on your personalized fragrance, the shop will keep your formula on file for future use. If you want a refill, you can call them and they will mix it for you, or you can return and recreate it using the saved information. And then make something new!
There are so many different materials on the organ. It can present a challenge to some to make choices. Sherry explains, “It’s a process. We just tell clients, this is like making a painting. You’re not going to make a masterpiece the first time you paint.” She encourages everyone to just enjoy the fun of the experience. She adds, “Some people discover themselves through this exercise. They’ll say, ‘Oh I didn’t know I would like this!’” Sherry finds it thrilling to observe her clientele uncovering new favorites and new inspiration through their experimentation. I asked Sherry if she had developed her OWN perfumed masterpiece. She answered, “Yes, I have. It’s called ‘Italian Holiday’. I created it in memory of my trip to Italy and it takes me back.“
Just as in other mediums of art, inspiration can come from so many different sources; a destination that you want to capture, an outfit that you want to enhance, or an event that you want to mark in time. Sometimes it’s the change of season that you want to capture and reflect. Says Sherry, “Those that are really into perfume, that really love it, will buy scents for the seasons. They might plan to come back and make a new perfume for the spring, but most people are making it based on their personal preference.” In her experience, there might be a few clients who are influenced in their aroma choices based on the seasons, but 100% of the time, the choices are quite personal. They may invoke an emotional response, or bring to mind a fond memory.
Her purest desire is to create happy, satisfied clients that refer DIY Scent Studio to others. That is, infact, how I found the perfumery. A friend of mine, (shout out to Leasa Yi!) and her daughters enjoyed the experience at the studio so much that my friend reached out to me and encouraged me to check them out.
In truth, I have always wanted to go to a perfumery. Nearly 20 years ago, I was traveling abroad to Capri, Italy and spotted a DIY perfumery on the island. I knew I would not have time during my trip to patronize that shop, but I have never forgotten that pull and intrigue that I felt. I LOVE fragrances, so checking out Sherry’s place became molto importante.
When I reached out to Sherry for this interview and she offered me the chance to come in to create a custom perfume, I was over the moon excited. I couldn’t wait! I admit that I fell into the category of being overwhelmed with all of the choices and possible combinations, but Sherry expertly guided me, explaining the origins of the aromas and how they each behave in terms of layering.
Yes! There is layering involved. When you concoct your perfume, you choose notes that work together based on your preference, but there is a science behind how they evaporate and in what order. It’s amazing. I was totally geeking out. It’s science that smells good! I cannot WAIT to go back.
And speaking of going back, the shop is primarily open on the weekends. The process takes a bit of time, so Sherry finds that most people have more time on the weekends to allow themselves to fully enjoy their time there. DIY Scent Studio also offers opportunities to host parties on sight. Think of it as an alternative to the painting or pottery parties. Says Sherry, “Clients will say, ‘I’ve made 10 paintings. I don’t think I have room for any more paintings.’ This is a wonderful option.” (But let me just clue you in on something here…mom to mom. The take away from this party is CONSUMABLE! That’s right! Once it’s used, it’s gone. It does not take up any space on your already crowded walls nor on your display shelves. Just sayin’.)
Think in terms of bridal parties, birthday parties, or girls day out. (But I think it would be a fun corporate outing or a fun romantic date!) Says Sherry, “I have something for all age groups including roll-ons for the kids.” There are 12 work stations in the shop, so if there is a party booked for 8 or more people, the shop will be closed off to the rest of the public. This guarantees focused assistance for your party guests.
The shop is still very new, so at this point in it’s life, the main goal is just to have people enjoy the experience. Sherry adds, “If that develops into another store, or more employees, that’s wonderful.” She reports that, so far, there have been no real surprises good or bad. Although it’s taken a little longer to ramp up than she anticipated, she doesn’t want to rush through the maturation and business is growing all the time, steadily building upon their client base
DIY Scent Studio does sell ready made perfumes and gift certificates. They can make a custom made perfume for someone, or even try to recreate an expired perfume that someone loved. Visitors are encouraged to come in and make their own perfume or have a party. Sherry shares, “I want people to come in and participate in [the process] and tell their best friends. That’s the best advertising.”
These experiential venues are excellent formats for bringing people together for some fun. Sherry reminisces, “I had one woman come in to purchase a gift certificate for her daughter and granddaughter and the 3 of them came in and made perfume together.”
Sherry is proud to have brought this concept to fruition. This business offers the community a different experiential option. Says Sherry, “We’d love to share all of these wonderful smells with people. If they don’t want to make something, that’s just fine, they can come and smell and just enjoy the experience.”
DIY Scent Studio is located at: 4007 University Drive, Fairfax, VA. 22030