OLO Fragrance is an Oregon-based fragrance line founded by Heather Sielaff. Long before the launch of the company, Sielaff studied varying forms of bodywork, including neuromuscular therapy, aromatherapy and Gyrotonic. Sielaff became more acquainted with various oils through her work and started making her own blends. This hobby would turn into her business — OLO Fragrance launched in 2009. Sleigh, a self-taught perfumer, has put hard work into her business. She still hand blends her perfumes, incorporating “fractionated coconut oil, essential oils, key accords and absolutes,” and sells them online and through stores around the country. All OLO perfumes are 85 percent (or more) natural, contain no aldehydes or alcohol, and are not tested on animals.
Below, read my interview with Sielaff and enter to win a 9 ML OLO perfume of your choice…
How did you come up with the name OLO? What does it mean to you and how
is it relative to what you offer?
The name OLO came to me in a dream. I had been trying to decide what to call the perfume line so I had been looking up the definitions of different words. I think this was just my mind playing with the word “olfactory.” It doesn’t really mean anything, I just had a very vivid image of the word in all caps when I woke up one morning.
I love the names of your fragrances, how do you come up with them?
All the names have come about in different ways. I don’t have a specific process for selecting the names, I just go with what feels right. Some are very literal descriptors, like “Cedar & Rose” or “Violet / Leather.” Other perfumes were actually named first. I was walking through Lone Fir Cemetery here in Portland and I came across a really old tombstone with the name “Erastus.” I was thinking about how that was such an old sounding name and wondering what kind of man Erastus was. I made a perfume based on the name and what I thought could be the personality of that man.
What people, places or things have you gathered the most inspiration from
in recent years?
I always gather inspiration from the Oregon coast. It’s the place I go to recharge and reevaluate myself. I also find inspiration from people that do what they love.
What is one fact about aromatherapy that you think all people should know?
Honestly, I use aromatherapy to create a mood for myself. I feel like through scent alone essential oils can take your mind to another place. I’m not the kind of person that believes essential oils are a cure all though, I don’t really think of them that way. I guess I would want people to know that they don’t cure cancer and they should probably go to a doctor!
What is your most popular scent sold and why do you think people enjoy it
“Dark Wave” is definitely the most popular. It wears really well on both men and women. I aspire to make my fragrances unisex. I really dislike labeling scents as masculine or feminine. I think I just found a sweet spot with Dark Wave. It’s kind of sexy but comfortable too.
Aside from perfumes and the like, what are some of your favorite
day-to-day, ordinary smells?
Trees. Dirt. Baked sweets. Oolong tea. The air before it rains.
You’ve done a lot of neat things with OLO fragrance, including
collaborations on limited-edition products. If you could partner with any
other maker or brand, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I have a few people I want to collaborate with, but it’s a secret. I’m trying to figure out how to make it happen and I don’t want to give my plan away.
Did you set any resolutions or goals for 2015 for OLO? If so, have you
achieved in any of them? What is one thing you’d like to accomplish before
the end of the year?
My main goal was to make a few 100 percent natural body products. We are finishing up the packaging, but they will be ready to release in a few weeks. The soaps are my favorite. I want to go on one uninterrupted vacation before the end of the year, even if it’s just for a few days. It’s hard for me to walk away from the business for more than a day, but I’m attempting to rectify that.
What is one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned, since being a
business owner, about who Heather Sielaff is? Do you have any words of
advice to people interested in starting their own business?
I don’t play well with others. I can’t have business partners. Not because I fight with them, but because I defer too much in order to avoid conflict. I know exactly what I want and I do much better when I have complete control over the direction of the business. I am also very impatient and would rather do things myself than teach other people how to do it. I’m a classic control freak. I’m consciously working on letting other people help me, but I know I need control of the vision behind OLO always and forever.
I think if you start your own business you have to learn to be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. You have to be able to admit to what you are not good at and seek help from people that can do certain aspects of your job better than you can. I’m working on it!
What are you favorite scents? Let’s talk in the comments and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win the popular Dark Wave or another scent of your choice from the line…
*Giveaway open to US and Canada residents. Winner will be contacted by email on Aug. 10.