What is the Perfume Project?

This blog is a constantly evolving forum for thoughts on perfume, perfume-making, plants (especially orchids and flora of the Pacific Northwest) and life in general. It started out chronicling the adventures of Olympic Orchids Perfumes, established in July 2010, and has expanded in other directions. A big part of the blog is thinking about the ongoing process of learning and experimentation that leads to new perfumes, the exploration of perfumery materials, the theory and practice of perfume making, the challenges of marketing perfumes and other fragrance products, and random observations on philosophy and society. Spam comments will be marked as such and deleted; any comments that go beyond the boundaries of civil discourse will also be deleted. I am grateful to all of you, the readers, who contribute to the blog by commenting and making this a truly interactive perfume project.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Last weekend I visited Meredith Smith in the lovely little perfume shop that she opened last October in West Seattle. Meredith is a perfumer who has been selling her own line, Sweet Anthem, on her website since 2006. Her new brick-and-mortar shop features her own complete line of perfume oils, EdPs, and solid perfumes. She currently carries other Pacific Northwest perfume lines as well, including Arcana (Portland, OR), Wiggle (Olympia, WA), Slumberhouse (Portland, OR), Rebel & Mercury (Seattle, WA), and Lulu Beauty (Seattle, WA). Within the next few weeks she will be adding selected perfumes from Ayala Moriel (Vancouver, BC) and some of my own Olympic Orchids perfumes.

Finding the shop is fairly straightforward, since it’s about 10 blocks south of the main business center of West Seattle, with plenty of street parking if you travel by car. The shop isn’t immediately obvious since the main, large lettering on the sign says “Vegan - Unique - Local”, with the name “Sweet Anthem” in small print at the top, but it is distinctive once you get used to the concept of the shop half-concealing its name.

Inside, the shop is simply and tastefully decorated and arranged, with everything displayed in an orderly and accessible way. It has a bright, comfortable feeling that’s enhanced by Meredith’s helpful manner and friendly smile. If you’re in the Seattle area, it’s a perfect place to spend some time sniffing.

With two perfume shops on California Avenue (the other one is Knows Perfume), West Seattle seems to be becoming the perfume center of the region. I’m not sure why, except that a lot of artsy people live there, so maybe that’s where the highest concentration of perfumistas is found. In any case, it’s a very good development. I'm looking forward to exploring some of the fragrances offered in Meredith's shop, including her own line.


  1. Hi Ellen,

    Thank you for the info on the Sweet Anthem and Knows Perfume shops. West Seattle is indeed becoming a kind of artsy destination. There are also at least a couple of beer stores in the neighborhood that carry all kinds of beers from everywhere. I am not a beer drinker, but Brad likes lagers and enjoys all kinds of fragrances as well. Beer and perfume at the same time? I don't know about that, but visiting West Seattle would be a great way to spend a weekend afternoon.


  2. Thank you for posting all this info, Ellen! Yes, I'm well aware of the signage issue and working on changing that this year. That was an oversight on my part -- I love our big apothecary branding, but it's true. It's confusing as heck! Looking forward to seeing you soon!


  3. Hi Gail, an afternoon sampling beer and perfume in West Seattle sounds like great fun! In summer it could even be combined with a trip to Alki Beach.

    Meredith, the sign is only mildly confusing the first time someone is trying to find your place, and after that is just cute and amusing. Maybe just adding the word "perfume" or "perfumery" to the big center part instead of "vegan" would do the trick. Anyway, aren't most contemporary perfumes technically vegan in that they don't contain any animal products? To me, vegan makes it sound like a restaurant or food store.