Luxury brands from Prabal Gurung to Thompson Hotels are taking things to the next level with designing women – and sisters – Dawn and Samantha Goldworm. Dawn and Samantha have designed for everyone from Lady Gaga to Kate Moss in one uber-specific area of brand identification: scent.

Through their firm 12.29 the girls design what they call an ‘olfactive brand’ – which could include anything from the scent in a showroom or the perfume wafting down with the runway with the models in a fashion show. Now with a new line of candles under the same name, these sisters are bringing their thoroughly thoughtful scent-scapes into homes and offices everywhere. Check out our interview with Dawn and Samantha below to find out what their creative process is all about, then find your new favorite scent by exploring the stories behind each only scent remains candle…

The Chalkboard Mag: Where did your love for great scents begin?
Dawn Goldworm: My love of scent began with my mother. A rather traditional start, but tender nonetheless. My father used to bring back small flacons of Coco Chanel parfum from Paris on his travels abroad. When there was only one drop left in the bottle, she would give it to me to place in my intimates drawer. I was 10 years of age.

TCM: What does an olfactive education look like? Something like a sommelier’s training with wine and grapes?
DG: Yes, similar. Olfactive training combines the language of perfumery with ingredient training, genealogy and sourcing/extraction. One must learn and memorize hundreds of ingredients. But more importantly, in my position, one must learn how to communicate these ingredients through language.

TCM: Was travel a part of the process from the beginning, or did that come with sourcing scents for clients?
DG: Travel was always part of the equation because our clients are global ranging from Italy to Hong Kong to the U.S. to London. We try to travel to our clients’ home offices to go through the 12.29 propriety creative process and “live” in the clients’ spaces. For Poltrona Frau, I traveled to the factory in Tolentino, Italy to smell all of the materials, dyes and processes used to make their furniture. It was fascinating.

TCM: How does the relationship with a client begin? What elements influence the building of a custom scent for someone?
DG: The 12.29 proprietary creative process dissects the brand to understand all of the other elements that define the brand in the market, such as color, sound, emotion, etc. We use all of this information to translate the brand into an olfactive vision, or smell.

TCM: What feeling do you find is most common for a brand to be after?
DG: Every brand has its own emotional space that they would like their client to feel or live in when experiencing the brand. For a hotel, they often want to the clients to feel comfortable or “at home.” For a retail brand, they often want their clients to feel alert or excited to discover. But ultimately, every brand has its own emotional goal for their target market.

TCM: Which feeling is the most difficult to create? And have you achieved it? 
DG: Scents can elicit a variety of emotions. However, the scent does not work alone. The scent works with the other branding elements of the space or product: aesthetic, touch, sound and sometimes taste to fulfill this feeling. If all the elements are not working in harmony, than the final result can be difficult, no matter the proposed feeling.

TCM: Place on earth with your favorite scent:
DG: Formentara has the most amazing smells…and they change throughout the day. The island of Formentera smells of beach seaweed and salty sea air in the morning; creamy, green fig trees and sandalwood in the afternoon; and indolic fruity white flowers and rosemary at sunset.

TCM: What is your favorite way to diffuse a scent?
DG: We prefer to diffuse scent with a commercial diffuser that atomizes the oil into a gas, giving a very even scent distribution while not sticking to anything.

TCM: What is your personal favorite scent or blend of scents?
DG: Scents to me are like colors. I try not to have subjective opinions so I can do my job better. However, in my personal life, I love the smell of fresh herbs and fruits and vegetables like basil, rosemary, fresh cut lemon and county tomatoes.

TCM: What does your own home smell like?
DG: Amber. I sent it to all the homes in the 12.29 family. It is our scent of home and peace.

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