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Who are you and what do you do?
D: My name is Dawn Goldworm and I am the Cofounder and Scent Director of olfactive branding company, 12.29.
S: My name is Samantha Goldworm and I am the Cofounder and Business and Marketing Director of 12.29.
How did the concept for 12.29 come about?
D: 12.29 essentially translates a brand’s essence or DNA into a scent identity or smell logo. I arrived at the idea while writing a master’s thesis at NYU on olfactive branding. I had been working in the traditional beauty industry designing scents for beauty, celebrity and fashion brands and felt that scent could be used beyond the traditional skin application and really make an impact and how consumers emotionally engage with brands and experiences.
How did you become involved in the hotel industry and how has the branded scent become an important part of shaping the guest experience?
S: We became involved in the hotel industry through our friend, Jason Pomerac. At the time he was the Creative Director of Thompson Hotels. He has since left to build a new brand, SIXTY Hotels. D: The hotel industry is unique in the sense that guests must feel engaged the moment they arrive in the hotel lobby…whether that engagement is comforting, exhilarating, or sexy, the guest must immediately identify with the hotel to begin a positive journey on their trip. Scent is an integral part of this experience and can completely change the dynamic in which this journey begins. We are honored to be entrusted with that piece of the hotel branding.
Where do you look for inspiration and how do you research the type of scent to align with a particular property? Why are custom scents so desirable?
D: We have a proprietary creative process that we take each brand through that translates the brand’s essence or DNA into a scent. We essentially look at all existing brand references: aesthetic, sound, touch, etc. and translate this information into a smell. It is really an olfactive branding exercise, which is why every scent must be custom because every brand we work with is unique. A custom scent allows the brand to express or communicate itself through another medium to complete the branding message. And therefore, if a guest smells the brand scent outside of the hotel, they immediately recognize the scent, the hotel, and most importantly how they feel about their experience with the property.
Do you have a favorite hotel in the world? If you haven't already, what would you peg as its signature notes?
S: I love the Viceroy in Anguilla. It’s absolutely beautiful and so relaxing. I fell in love with my boyfriend there. Its signature notes would be salty sea from the gorgeous ocean and clean and smooth from the impressive marble décor. D: My favorite hotel experience was at Sandy Lane in Barbados. What a luxurious experience! I visited quite a few years before I started in perfumery yet I still recall that when you arrive, they hand you the most deliciously scented towel to wash your hands and face. The scent – tropical fruits and a white floral – immediately put me in a Caribbean state of mind.
Have you ever been asked to compose a scent that seemed completely outlandish or impossible?
D: I have been asked to design many very interesting scents – from body fluids to dystopia to the smell of someone’s baby…the list is quite impressive! And I rarely say no. Scent, whether a bit more conventional or somewhat outlandish is always an adventure and I thoroughly enjoy it!
Are there any 12.29 projects that stand out to you as exemplary or favorite accomplishments?
S: I am particularly proud of the work we did with Design Miami / Art Basel. Since 2009 the scent has been a significant part of the fair experience, diffused as you enter the tent. Belle-lle, a bespoke scent designed by 12.29 for Design Miami/, was created around a Lily flower with a fluid green sweet floralcy. It was made to embody the modern, cutting edge essence of Design Miami/. It is unique and completely amazing!
How do you see the relationship between hospitality and olfactory branding evolving in the next few years?
S: Scent is changing the hospitality experience. Creating a “scent-identity” is part of a complete multi-sensorial marketing mix for hotels. While most brands are familiar with design aesthetic, auditory, touch and taste cues, hotels are beginning to explore olfaction as a final message. Scent will begin to enhance all the other sensory design elements in a hospitality space and differentiate the space from others creating a truly unique, engaging brand environment.