At the age when children are making lumpy castles in kindergarten sandboxes, perfumer Lisa Hoffman was busy dissecting a bottle of her grandmother’s Chanel No. 5. This was prompted both by her love of the scent, and by a perfume-making kit that her uncle had gifted her at the tender age of six. After being handed the kit, she snuck off to the bathroom to do her best at recreating the classic scent of No. 5.
This memory, she tells SWAAY, has stuck with her throughout the years and into adulthood. But it wasn’t until all six of her children had officially left the nest that she finally set out to pursue that career in perfume-making, which involved obtaining a perfume education in Grasse, France, under the guidance of some of the world’s most venerated perfumers. In 2007, she launched Lisa Hoffman Beauty, where, a decade later, you can still find her exquisite, regionally-inspired perfumes.
Over the next 12 months, the awards started rolling in. Women’s Wear Daily named Hoffman “Newcomer of the Year,” Redbook listed the company as one of “Beauty’s Top 40 of 2008,” and she was the recipient of Allure’s highly-coveted “Best of Beauty” awards in both 2008 and 2009.
The line further catapulted to fame when Hoffman came up with the genius idea to combine her fine perfumes with a line of “fragrance jewelry.”
Hoffman’s Fragrance Jewelry Invention
“It certainly was a ‘light bulb over the head moment,’” she tells us. “When working as a perfumer, I spent a lot of time testing my creations on myself and I usually have to kiss a lot of frogs before I find my prince. After a long day of fragrance testing, I wanted to go to a Pilates class, and was frustrated that I would be walking in covered with perfume. I thought, ‘If only there was a way I could put on and take off my perfume, as I did my jewelry, without letting it wear off or washing it off in between.’”
At the time, she was incidentally wearing a pair of Victorian earrings that her husband had given her. In the Victorian era, it was considered taboo to flash your precious jewels, so they were often hidden in metal, charm-like cages. That was the case with Hoffman’s earrings, and that’s when the lightbulb went off.
“What if the treasure inside the jewelry was a fragrance instead of a gem? That way, I could put on my perfume and take it off as I wanted,” she said. “I worked for close to a year to perfect the eco-friendly wood fragrance beads and filigree fragrance charm designs you see in my collections.”
Today, Lisa Hoffman Beauty carries the award-winning scents in liquid EDP form, as well as the “fragrance bead” form that fit inside her precious metal earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. The scents are noticeable, but mild, and truly do allow you to take your perfume on and off. The perfumed jewelry also hit a chord with women who love fragrances, but have sensitive, reactive skin.
Balancing Work and Life
Like many women, Hoffman is what she refers to as a “professional juggler.” Each day she hits the ground running to maintain business momentum, fit in family and friends, and carve out enough personal time for herself.
“As passion fuels me with the energy it takes to be a business owner, love is what fuels me to nurture my family and relationships,” she says. “When something matters, you find a way to make it work as best as you can. I often wish I could create more hours in a day and more days in the week, but even if I could, there would never be enough moments with my grandchildren or the time to execute every idea.”
She says she has great admiration for female leaders that demonstrate the ability to be groundbreaking while not deviating from their core sense of self, and it’s what she personally strives for every day.
Since Hoffman’s complete collection launched on her website in 2011, distribution has expanded to international territories, and she told SWAAY there are plans to open in at least four additional markets this year.
“Right now, I’m focusing on gaining fresh insights gathered from afar to inspire more innovation, both in my company and in the fragrance industry as a whole,” says Hoffman. “A discovery experienced on the journey often reveals itself as the answer to a challenge, a philosophy I’m keeping as the heart of my leadership and company values.”
Additionally, she says that Lisa Hoffman Beauty has many exciting projects in the pipeline, including moving into new markets, and that the next year will bestow exciting milestones and moments for the brand. We can’t wait to smell what comes next.
Dr. Victoria Bateman, an esteemed economist best known for her nude protests for gender equality, uses her body as a form of art that serves to challenge the stigma around women's bodies and women's rights, in the world of economics. In March 2018, Bateman attended the annual conference of the Royal Economic Society in Brighton stark naked with the word "respect" written across her chest and stomach. Unbashful in delivering her message, Bateman was determined to start a conversation.