Last year, more than 2,500 new perfume brands launched offering a plethora of often-confusing options. This summer, one boutique shop opened in historic downtown Alpharetta that will forever erase the need to embark on yet another frustrating fragrance shopping excursion.
INDIEHOUSE Modern Fragrance Bar, a clean beauty, interactive experience opened in historic downtown Alpharetta this past June with 150+ personal and home fragrances found nowhere else in Atlanta as well as ways to create unique scents at the Blending Bar or at a fun Scent Blending Workshop.
The concept was born from the founder’s long-time quest for her perfect fragrance. Carrie Hadley was drawn to fragrances because they encourage people to interact. Beautiful fragrances, she felt, were so personal and inviting but the hunt was usually a daunting task.
“Shelves upon shelves of beautiful bottles had names that provided me no idea what was inside,” Hadley related. “The salespeople were always very nice and tried to help, but honestly I usually didn’t know what I wanted because scents were never organized in an intuitive way.”
After spending time in the south of France and then developing proprietary house scents at a perfumer’s studio in Los Angeles, Hadley decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I researched and analyzed the fragrance buying experience,” she said. “When I shopped for a scent, a test spray would usually get all over me or my handbag – so I wore it whether I liked it or not. And if I did find one that I liked enough to purchase, the price was absent, so at checkout it was: ‘surprise! that will be $400!’ As a consumer, that puts you in the position to tell a complete stranger that you cannot afford the thing you just announced you would buy - a terrible business model. People buy beauty products to feel good, not to be humiliated at the end of the experience.”
“It dawned on me that we didn’t need another new fragrance brand, but a newway to shop for and find your perfect fragrance.”
Hadley’s modern twist on the traditional shopping experience includes testing fragrances by smelling paper flowers under funnels to eliminate that “spray it on small strips” problem, and all of the clean fragrances are organized into a manageable six categories, from Modern Romantic to Sporty Chic, allowing guests to “choose their own adventure.”
As Alpharetta-Milton residents since 1996, Carrie, a sales professional, and her husband Bryan wanted to ensure all of INDIEHOUSE products were clean enough for any of their three daughters to use. After 18 months of research using robust EWG.org tools, she found the best standard is the one used in the European Union.
“By law the EU has banned 2,500 ingredients from use in fine fragrances whereas our FDA only bans 30. So, until this country passes tougher laws, we will only use brands that are formulated without excessive preservatives and toxic ingredients.”
Not only a clean shop, INDIEHOUSE is the only fragrance boutique in the country to combine a niche shopping experience with a custom fragrance blending workshop space.
During the two-hour workshop ($89 per person), guests learn how to deconstruct complex fragrances into primary building blocks then create a personal scent to evoke whatever character, mood and style they want to share with the world.
“Designed to be a perfect girl’s night out or a unique date night, we feature bridal party, teambuilding and special birthday packages,” Hadley said. “Guests are welcome to bring a bottle of wine and a nosh to sip and snack at the beginning of the workshop, then I turn them loose with 30 ingredients to create their own unique scent.”
During the Blending Bar experience ($49 per person), guests create a custom scent anytime during store hours from one of six house blends, enhanced with a few notes of their choosing and blended by an INDIEHOUSE fragrance guide.
Nestled in the heart of historic downtown Alpharetta, INDIEHOUSE Fragrance Bar is located at 26 Old Roswell St., Suite 101, Alpharetta. Store hours will be adjusted for COVID-19 protocols.