Many of our customers ask us how we formulate our products, and decide on what scents to include in our lineup… so we sat down with Ann Gottlieb, Curie’s Chief Scent Officer, to give you all an inside scoop into the crafting of Curie’s signature scents.
Ann Gottlieb may very well be one of the most iconic Fragrance Creators in the world. She has created famous fragrances for Dior, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Axe, and countless other brands. Sarah read an article about her in the Wall Street Journal and knew she had to try to get in touch with Ann. Our customers loved our signature scents, but Sarah wanted to take them to the next level. A cold email turned into a long zoom, and before she knew it, Ann was on board. Having one of the most legendary noses in the industry curate our scents has been a dream come true for our team. If you’ve ever needed a sign to shoot your shot, let this be it!
I sat down with Ann in New York City to hear more about her experience as a Fragrance Entrepreneur and her thoughts on our newest scent, Coconut Nectar. Here’s a peek into what we talked about….
Sarah: How would you describe Curie’s scents as a whole?
Ann: The fragrances are not too perfumey. They're not complicated, but they smell really good and natural. With that being such an important aspect, they smell clean.
You look at the package, it is clean and white and where there are splashes of color, they're not deeply intense. It would never have worked to give you a sort of crunchy, heavy-ish kind of fragrance because it would be off-brand.
Clean, as you well know, is such an important characteristic today. The scents are not intrusive, they just smell good!
Sarah: What was the idea behind our Coconut Nectar scent?
Ann: I came to you six months ago and said I want to create a coconut scent for Curie.
We played around with coconut water because we wanted something fresh, and then we realized that instead of using coconut water, a little touch of mint would really accomplish the freshness that you wanted.
The perfumist did such a good job at putting a touch of mint in it, which one would not expect in a scent like this. What it does is, it cuts some of the creamy, warmth of the bottom, so that you get a real freshness. Which is so important in a deodorant.
It's a great fragrance in terms of the definition of transgenerational, really. It has tremendous consumer appeal.
Sarah: At what stage did we bring the mint? I feel like the earlier samples didn’t have it.
Ann: Yes, that’s right. The first couple of samples I think I said felt too sweet to me and a little too feminine. I wanted something that was more gender-neutral and fresh.
Sarah: What is your process when you create a fragrance?
Ann: One of the reasons that I think work life has been good to me is that I don't ever really create a fragrance. I create an image that is translated into something. So this Coconut Nectar fragrance is sort of the embodiment of your brand.
What I like to do is look at the fragrance in alcohol form first, because you can tell much more about the character of a fragrance before we start adding bases.
What I love about Coconut Nectar is I don’t know whether or not I want to lick it or put it on. There are just so many dimensions to it. You can smell the freshness on top, and this yummy warmth underneath. It sort of smells a little bit like a hug.
Sarah: How did you get started in this industry?
Ann: My entry-level job was at Estee Lauder, and it was during that time when Estee was very active in the business. She would go around just almost spilling fragrance on people and asking them for their responses.
I have no idea what I was doing and I would tell her what I thought. I was 24, and as you probably know, I am not fearful of my point of view. So when she would ask me, I would tell her what I thought, and she kept coming back to me more and more frequently. Then I was the only person working with her on fragrance at Estee Lauder. She became the most important mentor of my life because she was the one who saw in me.
I think a mentor is somebody who sees something in you that you don't see in yourself and boy, she saw something in me that I never in my wildest dreams would have thought was a gift.
I do think that part of the reason for my success is that I have a gift for smelling. I have a very good sense of smell, and an accurate one - I can tell what a fragrance is, who it would be for, and what the person who’s wearing it should be.
Sarah: Your nose is your lifeline. What do you do when you’re congested?
Ann: Oh, dear. That's a really good question.
The answer is trickier than you might think because if I have a cold and I'm completely clogged, I can't smell it all. So whatever work I have just goes on hold until I'm not congested.
However, what's even more dangerous is being in that stage between fully congested and fine because I can’t trust my nose, I don't know how accurate it is.
And so that is tricky. So I just really am very happy when I feel better.
Sarah: Is your nose insured?
Ann: I wanted to insure my nose, and I took it to probably about three or four insurance companies. I got turned down every time.
For a reason, that is. It's logical because you cannot tell if my nose isn't working. With every other sense, you can tell. For example, you can tell if something's wrong with your eyesight.
Sarah: What is your favorite scent note?
Ann: My very favorite note, which is in almost every fragrance I've done is vanilla.
I'm definitely a warm and cozy girl in terms of the fragrances that I like, and it's one of the reasons that I love the Coconut Nectar Deodorant so much.