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Laura SlatkinNest New York

Laura Slatkin is a pioneer in the luxury home-fragrance space, having launched Slatkin & Co. with her husband, Harry, back in 1992. Today, she’s focused on Nest New York, where she creates sophisticated fragrances for high-end candles, diffusers, perfumes and more.

What drove you to start your own brand? In 2005, I started a company that focused exclusively on private label. I created home fragrance assortments for more than 100 brands—important brands like Christian Dior, Laura Mercier, Nars, Banana Republic, Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch. I was quite proud of my business. But as the home fragrance industry grew, I began to notice that people weren’t responding to fashion designer and retailer fragrances in the way we thought they would. Consumers were making their voices heard, and I couldn’t help but listen. They were telling me they wanted a brand steeped in authenticity and creativity. As a pioneer in the field of home fragrance, I felt that I had the deep expertise to deliver exactly what they wanted. Given my passion for fragrance, I was inspired to create a truly iconic brand that would be loved and coveted. I started Nest in 2008, and it was greeted with enormous success from the day it hit the shelves.
“Consumers wanted a brand steeped in authenticity and creativity. I felt I could deliver exactly that.”

What’s your favorite product in the line? My absolute favorite new fragrance is Wild Mint & Eucalyptus, which is part of our new wellness collection. The inspiration for the fragrance came more than three years ago, when I was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel. After a long day, I decided to go up to the spa and sit in the steam room. I opened the door to the steam room and experienced the most amazing aroma of eucalyptus—so invigorating and refreshing. It made me feel like I was in another state of mind, transporting me to a peaceful place where I could clear my head and focus on my body. That was the beginning of Nest’s wellness journey. I wanted to capture that moment—scenting a sanctuary with a fragrance that transported my mind and soul.

What are your morning and evening routines? The first thing I do every morning is log onto the New York Times Spelling Bee. Then I hop in the shower in time for my hairdresser to arrive. I get my hair done almost every morning because it’s the one thing that makes me feel beautiful and ready to start my day on the right foot. While my hair is being done, I apply my makeup. My favorite foundation is Chantecaille Future Skin. It gives a beautifully natural look. At night, the makeup comes off with Clarins eye makeup remover and RéVive Foaming Cleanser. I hop into bed with my husband, and we watch The Golden Girls—it’s our lullaby. What would people be surprised to learn about you? I’ve worked every day of my life, since I was 14 years-old. In my teens, if I wanted a new top to wear to a party, I had to pay for it myself. When I graduated high school, my father told me that I had two choices. I could go to college and my dorm would be paid for, but I’d have to work, as my weekly allowance would only be $30 for food and all other expenses. Or I could remain living at home, but I’d have to pay rent. My profoundly strict upbringing left me no choice but to work hard and achieve. I’ve been trained to plow through challenges, and I’ve learned that you can do anything as long as you focus and apply yourself. It’s helped me in all my endeavors. What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business? The best advice I can offer someone starting their business is to be scrappy, lean and always have your cheap hat on, and yet, to demand perfection in everything you do. And, most importantly: Be original. Be different. Show the world something it has never seen before. Laura Slatkins of NEST New York
The Founders Series
Learn how some of the beauty industry’s most dynamic entrepreneurs find inspiration and develop must-have products as they share their advice for aspiring business moguls and much more