The Olfactive

Hans Hendley

  • Can you tell us about yourself and your life growing up?

My life has been pretty interesting and non-traditional thus far. When I was young my parents decided to leave city life behind and move to the countryside to build a home. I was home-schooled and allowed much freedom and exploration. I left home for college to study art and photography. After school I spent several years in the commercial photography world, working on all kinds of shoots and productions while making music the side. Wary of commercial photography and in need of a change, I moved to New York with only what I could fit in a rental car and some gracious friends who let me stay with them while I found a place to live and some work. In the years following, I had some fantastic gigs working with spirited small brands in New York and traveling all over the country. But most importantly, it was during these NYC years that I rediscovered my love for perfume.

  • Have you always had a interest in perfume or smell?

As a young boy, I would make tinctures of citrus, cloves, cinnamon sticks and pine needles in rubbing alcohol in feeble attempts to make my own cologne. I typically kept a small collection of fragrances as a teenager too. Most guys I knew had one perfume but I recall periods of keeping several to wear for different occasions. Never did I imagine that later on in life, perfumery would become an unwavering obsession.

  • Do you have any strong scent memories?

The smells that feel very evocative or nostalgic to me are mostly natural or environmental things, pine, cedar, oak, forest floor, daffodil flowers (narcissus), honeysuckle, sage, tomato leaf, fresh bread, sawdust, smoke and the secretly amazing smell of gasoline!

  • When did you begin to discover a love for the art of fragrance and scent making?

Thinking about making perfumes seriously didn’t happen until a friend introduced me to some of the interesting stuff that was happening in the indie world and my mind was blown! I didn’t know there were perfumes like that available and it really opened up my curiosity to learn more, which lead to me obsessively learning how fragrances are made.

  • Were you self-taught or did you enroll in classes to learn the craft?

The self-taught category is one that I’m very happy to be in. Early on, the general lack of solid information readily available about how a good perfume is really made kind of intrigued me. The opaqueness of the industry motivated me to work harder to learn how to make the things I wanted to make.

  • What is a personal motto or promise that you keep for yourself and brand?

The most important personal promise is that the perfume itself must always be the most important part. This means things like not compromising on raw materials or getting caught up in marketing to a point of compromising quality.

  • How and when did you start the brand?

Once I finally built up the confidence to openly share some of the perfumes I had been working on, the positive response really gave me the confidence I needed to think about my secret hobby as something I could do much more seriously. I spent a long time on what the aesthetic and overall vibe would be, but mostly really working hard on the perfumes. My e-boutique and first collection of perfumes launched in October of 2014.

  • Did you have any fears starting out?

That’s a trick question right?! Of course, I had so many fears and still do sometimes. I’ve learned that many creative people are often plagued with doubts and fears. Especially with presenting something personal to the public. In the beginning, I was worried that nobody would like my perfumes, or that they would somehow get broken or lost during shipments. It can be nerve-racking, really!

  • Where do you see the future of the fragrance world headed?

We seem to be experiencing an unprecedented saturation point of fragrance products. It’s actually kind of a weird conflict for me to even be contributing to the thousands of perfume launches each year. I think the market will continue to fragment for a while before things swing a new direction. I think we will see a good bit of attrition in the niche perfume world.