Founder, creator and praised scent savant, Nicole Eckels of Glasshouse Fragrances shares her story with Remix. We chat about how she came to create globally renowned Glasshouse Fragrances, the success of the viral ‘A Tahaa Affair’ (IFYKYK) and what her ultimate candle scent is.
“I've had a lifelong fascination with scents. In my earliest memories, I cherished the fragrance of my mother's perfumes and the alluring collection of bottles on her vanity. When I was a teenager, my mother began using home fragrances. The cozy ambience created by the glow of scented candles made our house feel warm and inviting and I loved that and my Mom’s ritual of using them.” - Nicole Eckels
At what age did you develop a love for scent and when did you decide to turn that into a career?
My journey into the world of scents started in the cosmetics industry, where I spent many years working at Chanel. It was during this time that I discovered the remarkable depth of my olfactory senses. While I might struggle with remembering names, I have an uncanny ability to recall and identify various scents. However, the main turning point was when I relocated to Australia. It was there that I transformed my passion for fragrances into a full-fledged career, founding Glasshouse Fragrances.
What sort of challenges did you face when creating your company?
The most demanding aspect has undoubtedly been mastering the art of crafting our products. Many brands similar to ours typically outsource the production of products to a contract manufacturer. However, we've chosen to make all of our candles and diffusers, and honing this skill over the years has been quite the challenge. I'm delighted to share that we've finally achieved success. In all honesty, I've yet to encounter a candle or diffuser that matches the quality of Glasshouse Fragrances.
Glasshouse Fragrances has undergone a major global expansion with the success of the brand, how has your experience been working on this and seeing your brand reach more corners of the world?
I can hardly put into words the immense joy and satisfaction I felt upon our successful launch in the USA. Being my original home, the thought of failing here was extremely scary. This achievement is a testament to the remarkable team of talented and diligent individuals I have the privilege of working with, as well as the exceptional quality of our products. The USA market is saturated with countless brands, and our immediate success has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Your collection of scents are so comforting and promises to light up any space, what is your process for developing new scents?
I'm privileged to collaborate with an exceptional team of perfumers, and making scents together begins with creativity and exploration. Our goal is to craft scents that break away from the ordinary and inspire our customers by transporting them. Above all, we prioritize the outstanding performance of our fragrances in all the formats so that we satisfy the most ridiculously picky fragrance lover.
Your brand also doesn’t end at the scents as your packaging has become just as recognizable, where did the inspiration for your archetypal packaging stem from?
We have an affinity for the classic with a fun twist. Nothing surpasses the combination of colour and sophistication, and we also love thought-provoking names and stories that are on all of our boxes.
You also took those cult favourite scents and created an on-the-go fragrance line (genius), how was the process of this and was this an expansion you always wanted to make?
The Glasshouse Fragrances concept was born to be a lifestyle fragrance brand but it took a while to have the time and space to work on our Fine Fragrances. Now that they are here, I am absolutely thrilled and so are our customers. On-the-go fragrances are an absolute must-have!
What an incredible thing seeing your passion become a household name! How did it feel to have ‘A Tahaa Affair’ go so viral?
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have established Glasshouse Fragrances and watch it become a household name and now a global success. Bringing this dream to life has been profoundly fulfilling and the part that I love the most is witnessing the immense joy our customers get when enjoying Tahaa or any of our products for that matter! We put so much time, care and love into what we do and it makes us feel very proud to see that people love the products.
If you could collaborate with any brand, business or person who would it be and why?
Throughout the years, we have had the pleasure of collaborating with diverse artists. Therefore, I am particularly drawn to the idea of partnering with a culinary artist, someone like Marco Pierre White. With his deep understanding of both fragrances and flavours, they share common roots, coupled with his dramatic (often hilarious) passion for perfection, anything we worked on would be truly extraordinary.
I know this is probably a difficult choice to make, but if you could choose one ‘favourite’ fragrance from your line, what would it be and why?
I really love Fireside in Queenstown. It is such an incredible scent, smokey but wrapped in this incredible florally that elevates it to a whole new level of sophistication. We created it for New Zealand, but we extended its launch a year later and now it’s a worldwide hit. In fact, we just received our first USA beauty award from Elle magazine for the fragrance. Thanks, Queenstown!