Fragrance captures Bay Area's air

December 19, 2008 8:14:29 AM PST
Americans spend $12 billion a year filling their homes with just the right fragrance. In the Bay Area, there's a woman who has designed a scent with the fragrance of a morning breeze coming in from the Golden Gate.

"There is nothing like a sea breeze off the bay, mixed with the Marin Headlands and rain in the Presidio, it's spectacular; when you combine all these things, when you combine all these natural wonderful ingredients - you come up with something that's magic," said Lisa Wilson, fragrance designer.

And magic is exactly what San Francisco original Gump's department store had in mind when its CEO approached Wilson about a scent that said San Francisco.

"Fresh, horbacious, green, young, lively something that referenced our headlands our Pacific Ocean breezes," said Marta Benson, CEO Gump's.

So Wilson did her research - hiking the headlands - walking the Golden Gate Bridge - eventually bringing with her the perfumers who actually blend the ingredients so they could understand the magic she had in mind.

"We smelled hundreds and hundreds of fragrances until we got the final Majestic scent," said Wilson.

A co-worker of Lisa's at Through Smoke Creative, founder Gary McNatton, helped decide the final fragrance of what would become Majestic.

"I love it when it's appropriate, and when it's clean, and when it's fresh, and when it's natural and right. I hate it when it is misused, overused or inappropriate," said McNatton.

After all the research, the hard work and the magic, the question remained - had Lisa been able to capture the spirit, the essence of the Bay Area's air at its best?

At Gumps, Majestic is the number one selling home fragrance and has been honored with the equivalent of an Oscar from the Fragrance Foundation.

Anything that can evoke a feeling in a person and anything that can bring you to a place, like music - we've done something right," said Wilson.

That success has led to holiday scent, Gracious, which is Majestic, with spices and citrus blended in. A San Francisco Christmas scent you could say.


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