Sherman Oaks resident Kathleen Laccinole has always joked that “in my next life I’ll be a perfumer.” As she explains, ”I have an extremely ‘emotional’ nose and love, love, love scent.”
In reality, Laccinole spent many years as a music executive before becoming a writer and professional screenwriter. That is until one day when she was “going along doing her daily routine” when suddenly this single mom of two says she came upon an inspiration to blend music and scent.
“And with that thought, my ‘next life’ was promoted to NOW,” she relays.
“I was sitting in traffic, listening to a Bach concerto on the radio. Suddenly, I felt I wasn’t in traffic, but riding a bicycle through the French countryside. The music had transported me. That’s when it hit me that this Pavlovian response occurs with scent, and by combining both scent and music that could trigger and incredibly pleasant experience for anyone.”
Today, Laccinole (who also happens to be a trained classical pianist) is using her skills and experience creating music and stories, but has transferred her creative talent to the formation of her own perfume and candle company, Gwendolyn-Mary, where she artfully combines scent and sound.
“I already knew all about making candles, as well as the composition of perfume and music… plus I was looking to start a family business and something to do with my kids…so with the help of some extremely supportive friends, and family, Gwendolyn-Mary was born. I packed up the kids, took off for France, and essentially started a new life. We immersed ourselves in learning the art of perfuming, and have yet to look back.”
She spent the last year back home assembling her team, sourcing glass manufacturers, designers and perfumers. Each soy based candle and the perfumes are hand-mixed and poured individually. The glass candle containers are meant to be reused. Just wash the soy wax out at the bottom and you’ve got new glassware.
Candles and perfumes are virtually a dime a dozen these days, but all are not equal. Gwendolyn-Mary stands out for uniquely fresh scents, beautiful packaging, and moreover, for the creative and innovative way they are used.
The company’s premiere line, “Pavane,” is based on the dignified couple’s dance that was popular during the Renaissance period of the 16th century. The line has three distinct scents for top notes, middle notes and bottom notes. Laccinole explains that both the candles and scents can be layered and used together, or separately, so it becomes a personalized experience. Each candle comes with a note which suggests a piece of music to enjoy with the scent.
Gwendolyn-Mary perfumes and candles have sophisticated, smooth, floral and earthy fragrances using scents such as orange blossom, petit grain, lychee, water lily, Moroccan Red Rose, sandalwood, oak moss and Madagascar vanilla. They do not overpower, but rather, bring forth a deliciously swirling air of calm and romance. Also available are Gwennies, a whimsical line of candles produced with fun scents (such as hot cocoa, grapefruit, creme brûlée and orangesicle) wrapped in cellophane and adorned with matching ribbon and a surprise charm.
Gwendolyn-Mary products are just hitting the market. Find these delicious scents locally at Simply Succulent and Nadia Thibault Skincare — both in Studio City. Online go to Gwendolyn-Mary direct or check out Open Sky. Order the candles and perfumes separately or as a Pavane set of three to layer. Custom and corporate gifts are also available through the website.