I recently had the chance to interview Perfumista Denise Estrada on her new store, Melange, in Sherman Oaks, California. 70 + fragrances and essential oils are readily available to sniff, blend and play with. Blend to your heart’s content to create body oil, exfoliating wash, bath salts, and eau de parfum, the goody potential is endless!
Tell us about Melange. I opened Melange (French, means to mix or blend), in July 2007. This is my third retail store (sold the other two in 2004). I have also worked as a formulator, manufacturer and consultant for personal care industry. This store was the realization of all my wish lists. Great products and a LOT of wonderful fragrances to play with. A chance to introduce people to fragrance and enable them to create their own fragrances in a relaxed environment.
Keep the pricing reasonable so that it is accessible to a lot of people. Products range from $18 to $42, including your choice of fragrance (s). Also, we bring in other products from great companies who share our commitment to product excellence and fragrance. Many of our fragrances can only be found here; I have worked on them for many years and held on to them until the store opened.
Do you have a signature scent or do you like to play with different scents? Because I work with fragrances all day, I do not wear anything to work as I find it interferes with what I am blending.
I try fragrances we are working on for the store often, and use the fragrances from other companies we carry in the store. As far as a signature fragrance, the one fragrance I return to time and time again is L’Artisan , The’ pour un Ete’ (Summer Tea). It is a blend of Lemon, Mint, Jasmine Bergamot and Green Tea. Simple, yet so wonderful. I discovered it around the time my daughter was born. I think much of my love for it is my association of the fragrance with such a wonderful time in our lives.
Fragrance is a popular gift, do you have any recommendations to gift givers? It is always helpful if you know what type of fragrances the person you are buying for likes. At the store, we encourage a gift certificate to custom blend if the recipient is local. This ensures they get something they will love. If they live far away, we have “safe” floral, citrus, green or cyphre fragrance selections that we blend into eau de parfum.
Do you read blogs? I love blogs, but the day-to-day of the store leaves me with very little time. Most often I look at them during the evening, if there is time. I have discovered a lot since opening the store, and they have been very supportive of Melange. I have found great make-up and fashion tips along the way, and I find them a much faster & easier source than print media.
What are your favorite beauty products? do you have any beauty rituals? I take a bath daily. No quick showers for me. It is my one ritual. This gives me a chance to try different Melange fragrances, as well as products from other companies I carry in the store. I love Cote Bastide Fig bubble bath & L’Orange Bath Oil. Abahna (a London-based natural line), makes amazing Bath Oils (their Grapefruit is heaven!). I have used Claus Porto soaps from Portugal (Oprah’s favorites!) for 20 years. I use only my body cream. It took years to get my formula just where I wanted it; I just use new fragrances often.
Lafco NY House & Home Candles in Gardenia and Peony are wonderful & I use my Cielo candles and Polynesian Home Ambiance Diffusers all over the house. For beauty, I LOVE Sara Happ lip scrubs, especially Vanilla. Bobbi Brown makeup, Mac Eye Shadow. For skin, I blend my own using bases from my lab and botanicals. I custom blend for my skin needs (I am an esthetician since 1987)… Over the counter, I like Dermalogica. As a formulator I can tell you they are wonderfully made products. I also like the Bobbi Brown skin line. Her Lavender toner is great.
What can a visitor to Melange expect? A lot of olfactory and visual stimulation! People tend to circle a few times, to take in all the little indulgences (soaps, lotions, etc., ) on the tables. Many are not widely sold, so people are interested in them. Most end up at the fragrance bar. We set the fragrances out so that anybody can sit and explore them comfortably. We provide as much or a little guidance as you want in selecting or formulating a personal fragrance. Some people are very brief and simple. Some people spend an hour and write everything down. Everybody is different, and that is what is so wonderful.
We blend the fragrances in the product of your choice (we offer a lot of bath, spa, perfume, home fragrance choices). We measure in grams, carefully and mix meticulously. Everything is labeled, carefully archived and stored on a personal computer file so a client can refer back to their formula at any time. Many people like to adjust their fragrances seasonally (lighten it up for Summer, warmer for Winter, etc); so keeping their fragrance preferences and formulas on file is very helpful. If you leave happy you came, we were successful. This store is my love. I consider my time there a blessing and my customers only add to that.
13632 Ventura Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10:00-6:00 Saturday 10:00-5:00
Monday By Appointment
Be sure to stop in to Melange some time soon and experience all that it has to offer. Check out their Blending Events that blend wine, appetizers and fragrance at the same time. Thank-you Denise and here’s to your continued success!
Tags: boutiques, CA, california, Denise Estrada, DIY, fragrance, gifts, los angeles, make your own, Melange, perfume, scent, Sherman Oaks