7 Handmade Perfume Businesses that Set Themselves Apart





So what is it that makes handmade products so special? What makes people seek out products from handmade businesses over big name brands mass produced and sold using truly mind-blowing marketing budgets? One reason is the extra time, care and quality these handmade business owners put into their products. Look at the growing number of handmade perfume businesses out there.

A growing number of people are creating beautiful artisan perfumes that are made entirely of essences extracted directly from plant materials. These ingredients include precious oils taken from delicate neroli flowers and rose petals, along with a few extracts that will surprise you — like coffee beans, butter, and even beeswax! Here’s how some better known handmade perfume makers distinguish themselves, their brands and their products from all others.



Sweet Smelling Handmade Perfume Businesses

Aftelier Perfumes: Mandy Aftel, California

Mandy is an author and teacher who is considered by many to be one of the most talented and sought after perfumers in the world. Her perfumes contain oils she has sourced from the four corners of the earth. In addition to a custom in-studio (Berkeley) perfume consultation, you can purchase perfumes and other personal care products including face, hair, and body elixirs and fragranced organic teas. She even offers a set of the six essences that are used in things like candy, chocolate, and ice cream: clove, coriander, lavender, peppermint, ylang ylang, and wild sweet orange.

Says Mandy:

I love remaining small, and work with awe and passion for the alchemy that transforms rare essences into gorgeous perfumes. They are sold exclusively on my website and are not available in stores.

Visit Aftelier Perfumes.

Charna Ethier: Providence Perfume, Rhode Island

Charna is a supremely talented perfumer. Providence Perfumes are Fifi award nominated, which is the highest honor in the industry. I personally cannot say enough about Charna’s perfumes. I have sampled several of them, and while they are all wonderful, I have a special fondness for Ginger Lily and Cocoa Tuberose. If you ever needed a reason to visit Rhode Island, our tiniest state, you now have one.

Visit Providence Perfume Company, drop in at Charna’s boutique and take a class or have a perfume party or customize a perfume at her perfume bar at 13 South Angell St. Providence, Rhode Island.

Briar Winters: Marble & Milkweed, New York

Briar is a professional pastry chef turned apothecary Maker. In addition to skincare products, she also creates artisan perfumes enveloped in one-of-a-kind perfume compacts. Using botanicals like tuberose, ambrette seed, saffron, tonka bean, and roasted seashells (yes, you read that correctly), Briar’s liquid creations are in a base of jojoba oil which Briar says makes the perfume slide onto your skin like “nectar.”

Visit Marble & Milkweed, and enjoy what I think is one of the most beautiful Instagram feeds online.

Alexandra Balahoutis: Strange Invisible Perfumes, California

Alexandra Balahoutis is the creative mind behind every original Strange Invisible Perfumes fragrance, which is composed of organic, wildcrafted, biodynamic, and hydro-distilled essences. These small-batch scents are hand-mixed and set into a base of distilled cognac, then aged for at least six months. The cognac is distilled from non-GMO, pesticide-free grapes by a twelfth-generation master distiller in Napa Valley, California.

How can a perfume not be awesome when it’s made with such care?

Visit Strange Invisible Perfumes.

JoAnne Bassett: JoAnne Bassett Perfumes, Texas

JoAnne is a luxury natural perfumer who makes perfumes with only essential oils, absolutes, botanicals, infusions and tinctures she makes herself from flowers lovingly grown in her own garden. I have had the pleasure of trying one of her perfumes, Le Voyage, made with citrus, jasmine and vintage Mysore sandalwood — three of my favorites. JoAnne will customize a perfume for you based on your favorite scents, your personality, and even a particular time or experience in your life. JoAnne also hosts perfume and bridal parties, corporate events, and “perfume play shops” where you and your friends can get together and make your own perfumes.

Visit Joanne Bassett Perfumes.

Jennifer Botto: Thorn and Bloom, Massachusetts

With names like Savage Garden and Stranger and the Cherry Grove, this perfumer is known for her support of the farmers and processors of raw materials and a commitment to ensuring that the fruit of their harvest is not forgotten. One of her fragrances, Bird of Paradise, was a finalist in the 2016 Artisan Art + Olfaction Awards held in Los Angeles just a few days ago. Says Jennifer:

Reveling in scent can be the perfect way to escape; it can bring you full blooms in a frozen tundra, fresh grass in a sea of pavement, or a lover’s musk when you’re all alone.

Visit Thorn and Bloom.

Hall Newbegin: Juniper Ridge, California

Hall has been called the “bushwhacking perfumer” because he and his team create fragrances entirely from essences that they personally distill themselves … on site … in the woods. Many of the oils used in the fragrances are distilled using a campfire distillery in the back of a van. It takes weeks to collect enough plant material to distill enough fragrant oil to a limited number of products that Juniper Ridge sells out of very quickly. In addition to perfume, Hall and his team also make a small selection of tea, smudge sticks, incense, and candles.

With names like Winter Redwood, Topanga Canyon, and Cascade Forest, each Juniper Ridge product transports you to the spot in nature where the natural oils originated. Says Hall:

“We take an olfactory snapshot of a place, and put it into a bottle.”

Support Handmade Perfume Businesses

The ingredients used in over-the-counter perfumes are a mysterious cacophony of aroma-chemicals created in fancy laboratories and designed to be placed in a fancy bottle with a celebrity’s name on it. Why settle for that when you can scent your body with ingredients that are infused with the love and care of an artisan perfumer?

Have you tried any of the perfumes made by the artisans? Which ones intrigue you the most? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Perfume Photo via Shutterstock

4 Comments ▼

Donna Maria Coles Johnson


Donna Maria Coles Johnson Donna Maria is the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, a trade organization providing mentoring and coaching services, and affordable product liability insurance, to makers and creative entrepreneurs across North America. An award-winning small business advocate, Donna Maria has hosted the Indie Business Podcast since 2005. She blogs at Indie Business Blog.

4 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    What I love about handmade perfumes is that you can usually customize the scent. While I love popular scents, there are just some scents that are created just for you.

  2. Thank you Donna Maria for mentioning my company. I love being able to offer my all natural perfumes that I perform royal alchemy on. My botanical perfumes raise vibrations and ascend people into higher consciousness just from wearing them. I am living my life purpose and as a master of energy effecting change in people all over the world.

  3. Hikmat Sher Afridi

    From the last two years I inclined to natural perfumes & bought a varieties of JoAnne BAssett perfumes. Their creations are master pieces, vibrant, pleasnt and nurse the soul. My signature scent is JoAnne Bassett INITMACY.
    I am also thinking for other natural perfume houses like Strange Invisible Perfumes, House of Matriarch and Juniper Ridge

  4. As President and CEO of the Natural Perfumers Guild, I’m delighted to see three of our Certified Natural Perfumers featured. Congratulations to Alexandra, JoAnne, and Jennifer, the recognition is well-deserved. When I started my natural perfume line in 1991, it was a lonely field. The rise in artisan perfumery is wonderful, and the Guild perfumers mentioned will be celebrating our organizations 10th Anniversary on June 1st. We’ve all come such a long way!

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