Turning passion into perfume wasn’t difficult for Daniel Giles, the mind behind Perfumehead.
For the entrepreneur with a résumé that includes Too Faced and Benefit Cosmetics, it all started after a bout of COVID-19 took his sense of smell.
“After three months, when my sense of smell came back, I really began to appreciate and almost honor the lost art of our sense of smell,” Giles said. “We take scent for granted, and that was really the tipping point for developing and honing in on why I wanted to do perfume.”
The end result is Perfumehead, a luxury collection of seven extraits de parfum that will mark their retail debut on Violet Grey Sept. 12. Each one is priced at $425.
“I positioned the brand as luxury because I wanted the most beautiful notes, the most beautiful ingredients and a return to craftsmanship as well,” Giles said. “Everything is done by hand, and I wanted to be very deliberate about that.”
The brand is inspired by Giles’ time in Los Angeles, where he currently resides, with names like Reine des Anges (including notes of turkish rose, patchouli and amber) and Somewhere (with notes of palm leaves, lemon blossom and palo santo).
“It’s my own personal ‘osmocosm,’ which we talk about as being our scent universe,” Giles said. “I didn’t want L.A. to be a cliché, the sort of old Hollywood tropes. I wanted smells and emotions I feel from living here.”
That L.A.-centric ethos is part of what attracted Violet Grey to the brand. “Perfumehead’s wonderful founder, Daniel Giles, told us that he created the brand with Violet Grey and the Melrose Place store in mind, which is among the reasons we are so proud to launch the collection in-store exclusively, where our customers can have a truly personal experience discovering the range,” said Sarah Brown, Violet Lab’s executive director. “The fragrances are created as a group, to tell a story, and as an homage to Los Angeles. The artisanal scents and numbered bottles, the names, the layered references, and the overall design are beautiful, chic, sexy, provocative – everything we look for in a product.”
To that end, Giles developed each one with a few factors in mind, from the time of day to the wearer’s mood. “It was about translating that into the notes we would choose, and how we would layer it,” Giles said. “I also wanted the fragrances to be at the highest possible level of perfume oils, and that’s why they’re all extraits.”
He and Brown expect Perfumehead’s value proposition to resonate widely. Though both declined to quantify sales expectations, industry sources estimated the brand to reach $4 million in net sales for its first year on the market.
Brown said that fragrance at Violet Grey was on the upswing as well.
“We are known for skin care, certainly, but we are also known for having the best eye and edit in the business,” Brown said. “We have a tightly curated Edit of what we feel are must-have scents—from the tiny and niche to the classics and icons—and we are adding to it thoughtfully with products and brands we feel are true stand-outs.”
Giles eventually plans to expand the retail footprint, but noted that “when you launch with Violet Grey, there’s so many things that they do for you, starting with the Violet Code,” he said. “It’s getting the products into the right hands, and they’re a fantastic customer for a small brand.”