Life-altering moments are usually found in the big experiences, like finally getting that career break or falling in love with The One. But Shaan Hathiramani, founder of Harvey Prince, thinks that something as small as the little molecules that our noses pick up as scents can in fact change our lives.
Tapping into the growing field linking smell to memories and emotion, his up-and-coming company—already making splashes in the likes of Vogue, The Early Show, and The New York Times—has been rolling out nine “scents with a purpose.” Empowering women and changing their lives might be tall orders for a fragrance, but Shaan argues, “Smell is one of our most ancient and powerful senses. You can smell something and be overcome with some memory or feeling.”
It all began when Shaan and his brother wanted to create a custom fragrance that captured their mom’s effortless beauty and ageless aura as a Mother’s Day present. The brothers found their inspiration in the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, whose studies showed that pink grapefruit and mango mask the scent of fatty acids breaking down with age. Not long after Shaan and his brother circulated their product on the Internet to share with friends and family, blogs began to pick up on the fruity, floral perfume—and so an entire scientifically inspired lifestyle brand was born.
While this first perfume might have been made for a mother in mind, it’s less about one’s age and more about the spirit of youth. Shaan laughs about emails telling tales of teenage perfume swipers in the house: “Ageless is beloved by moms and borrowed by daughters everywhere.”
Over here at Mochi, we love that every fragrance revolves around such a state of mind, with a very real story behind it. Shaan says of a new Yogini scent in the works: “There’s a post-yoga glow that stays with you through the day. We were inspired by that moment and wanted to provide that to anyone who wanted to access it—the scent is grounding and soothing.” On the flip side, the upcoming Hello scent is meant to add a fresh jolt to a long afternoon at the office or late night at the library. “Use this instead of reaching for a 5-Hour Energy Drink,” he suggests.
Sure, this all sounds a little fantastical. How much can a perfume actually do? Yet women who haven’t gone out in months credit a renewed confidence for dipping their toes back into the dating pool to Ageless. Someone even reports dabbing on the perfume one day and being greeted at the crack of dawn by the husband who hand’t uttered a good morning for years.
Shaan presents a logical argument behind their mission: “The modern woman has lots of demanding moments and moods in her day that require different reactions and personalities. A scent can add this little spark into your day.” In other words, the right perfume could draw out the right emotions to help us tackle different situations. While it might not tell you what to say in an interview or what to do on a date, it can boost your confidence or help you stay calm.
And believe it or not, these scents do seem to evoke the same energy in the majority of their sniffers. “Surprisingly what people tend to consider youthful scents will be in a similar category of smells—more floral scents—as opposed to sharper, peppermint smells,” Shaan says of Harvey Prince’s survey findings. “Everyone has their own experience and memories to draw on and will tell a different story around the scent, but the reaction will generally be the same.”
At the end of the day, whether perfumes can really change our lives, we’re loving this young company’s positive, individualized approach to fragrance. Anyone can relate to one of Harry Prince’s many perfume personalities, and no one will argue with paraben-free, hypoallergenic products. Like Shaan says, “You don’t have to be in your 30s to have a quality perfume—and you don’t have to buy the Justin Bieber perfume either.”
Last modified: October 18, 2011