By  on January 5, 2009

Niche perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has set out to cultivate a local clientele with Essence Studio, her shop that opened recently in Boulder, Colo.

“There is a growing interest in niche fragrance, and there is very little of it here,” said 38-year-old Spencer Hurwitz, whose umbrella company is named Parfums des Beaux Arts. “The kinds of shops that you would see in shops in Los Angeles and San Francisco are what people are looking for here, and that is what we are creating for them.”

In a 1,600-square-foot space in North Boulder’s Uptown Broadway District, a budding neighborhood filled with artists’ studios, 350 square feet of the space is carved out for retail, 75 for custom blending and the remainder for production and Colorado’s first perfume museum, which is slated to be opened next year. Spencer Hurwitz projected that the store will generate “upwards of $125,000” in first-year sales.

Spencer Hurwitz called the design aesthetic as a mix of modern, upscale chic and pithy Versailles, pointing to a brocade iridescent couch, a vintage chandelier and a recycled marble bar as stylistic examples. Water-inspired and metallic colors are used throughout. “People have commented that it feels relaxing,” she said.

Spencer Hurwitz, a trained painter who originally entered the scent business in 1991 when she went to work at Essence Perfumery in Boston, has accumulated a massive library of fragrances during her career. She develops at least 11 scents a year and has a variety of collections for different customers, including the Essence Studio, at $25 to $55; DSH New Creations, at $39.50 to $65; Garden Bathe Aromatherapy, at $26 to $54, and Perfection Connoisseur Fragrances & Les Rouges, for $60 to $250.

Limited Edition Collection, begun in 2002, features fragrances often restricted to 500 units. Three fragrances influenced by Spencer Hurwitz’s travels in Japan, priced at $65 to $95, will be added to the collection next year: Yubi, a floral based on osmanthus; Kyoto, a chypre with a dash of incense, and Anzu, a warm interpretation of apricot. Select limited edition fragrances and DSH New Creations sell in about 20 U.S. doors.

In September, Dawn Perfumes, a 23-scent collection priced at roughly $100 to $230, was introduced to Japan at Barneys New York, Ginza, Yokohama and Shinjuku. The collection is a collaborative effort between Spencer Hurwitz and Tokyo’s Ungulate Labs, and Spencer Hurwitz’s goal is to enter into a similar collaboration with a European company to expand there as early as next year.

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