When Laura Slatkin was visiting California with her daughter in 2017, they decided to enjoy a spa day. As they opened the door to the steam room, an intense rush of eucalyptus filled the air. “We both looked at each other and were like, ‘oh my god, this is amazing,’” Slatkin, the founder of NEST New York, recalls. “It made you feel so alert and terrific. It was so uplifting. It made us feel really rejuvenated. I got back to New York and I begged the Beverly Hills Hotel to tell me what fragrance they had in the steam room. Finally, after so many phone calls, they told me it was just a eucalyptus oil that they bought on Amazon.”
After placing an order for that same eucalyptus oil and sending one to Maria Dempsey, the CEO of NEST New York, Slatkin took the concept to her perfumer. “We talked about creating this amazing eucalyptus fragrance that’s really integrating,” Slatkin says. “Then we studied botanicals that have for centuries proven that they can affect your mind, body and spirit. The team got into aromatherapy and wellness, and we created the Wild Mint & Eucalyptus Collection and launched it in January of 2021.” A blend of the essence of wild mint, eucalyptus basil and Thai ginger, it took about a year to develop the formula, since it was challenging to balance properly because they didn’t want it to smell functional.
“We were still in a pandemic, but the timing was perfect because people were at home and wanted to scent their sanctuary,” Slatkin says. “They needed this kind of fragrance. I call it the work candle because it heightens your awareness and clarity; it brightens up your home.” Dempsey adds, “We were finding that consumers during the pandemic were waking up in their apartment and going to their desk—there was no separation of work and personal time. This scent was going to create this space for you when you’re working, providing clarity and focus, with ingredients that help to provide those benefits. I wanted to introduce home fragrance and products that provided a benefit to the consumer.”
The Wild Mint & Eucalyptus Collection was the most successful launch in Slatkin’s 30-year career, becoming a best-seller right behind their bamboo and grapefruit scents. “That was greeted with enormous success; we thought it would double our business in three years and it doubled in nine months,” she says. “That started us on a roll of introducing all these different candles that have these time-honored botanicals that impact your mood.” Each fragrance in NEST New York’s Wellness Collections is created with the intention of boosting well-being by harnessing the therapeutic benefits of the power of scent.
The second collection is Driftwood & Chamomile, designed to help people unwind after a busy day and set the scene for peaceful slumber with notes of chamomile, driftwood, sandalwood and vanilla bean. “When you’re working at home, the lines are so blurred as to when your day starts and when it ends,” Slatkin says. “Before, you went to work and came home and were resting and relaxing. Now you just don’t know how to switch it off. So, we created a candle to help you signal to unwind.” Next, they launched Himalayan Salt & Rosewater, with notes of rosewater, geranium, salted amber and white woods to soothe the mind and spirit.
A different approach is taken with their wellness collection. They start with the need of the consumer and build from there. “For example, we began with unwinding and sleep and then created Driftwood & Chamomile,” Dempsey says. “You start with the benefit and then [consider] what are the ingredients that help to provide that benefit to the consumer. Whereas with our other fragrances, it’s more of where is an olfactive gap within a portfolio.”
The brand’s foray into wellness led them to examine their business overall. “This whole movement to wellness has been a big move for the brand,” Slatkin says. “During this period, we took a look at our fine fragrance portfolio, which is very successful. When it comes to fine fragrance, what does wellness mean? People really got into our beautiful perfume oils that they could massage into their skin. The perfume nurtures and moisturizes your skin while it fragrances it. The Perfume Oil Collection has been another huge success for us. We’re excited about these new categories we’ve moved into that have really expanded the brand in a significant way.”
Next NEST New York will expand their body wash offerings in the wellness fragrances to bring that experience into more options, adding Driftwood & Chamomile on September 1. In the winter, they will introduce their next wellness scent, an energizing one, as well as more international growth in the upcoming months. “We’re going start to expand into personal care products with these wellness fragrances because we feel this wellness collection gives us permission to go into personal care in a meaningful way,” Slatkin says.
Wellness has truly become a global phenomenon. “With the pandemic everyone is just wellness, wellness, wellness,” Dempsey says. “How do I take care of myself? When you look at the success of wellness, there’s been an evolution and also an acceptance of new fragrances.” And NEST will continue to create them.