My name is: Frances Shoemack.
I live in: A house overlooking the ocean just outside of New Zealand's capital city, Wellington.
I’m known for being: The founder of Abel fragrances.
I’m talking about: We use only 100% natural, plant-derived ingredients in our fragrance collection. Many people don't realize their fragrance is created using petrochemical-derived synthetic ingredients that are nonrenewable, non-biodegradable and often linked to health concerns such as endocrine disrupting. I love helping our customers find joy through their daily scenting rituals without the environmental hangover.
Before I created this, I was: I studied viticulture and oenology at university, so, before making perfume, I was making wine! I’ve always been really engaged by the intersection of art and science and, both wine and perfume (made from natural ingredients), are that for me.
My interest was sparked when: A grew up on a farm here in New Zealand and my mother is a yoga teacher who grew much of what we ate, so I’m incredibly grateful that clean living has always been a part of my life. The journey for Abel started when I moved to Amsterdam in my late twenties and fell in love with the emerging niche perfume scene, but was disappointed when I couldn’t find a modern natural perfume within that world.
The idea behind it is: Abel is for any perfume wearer who is curious about what’s in their current (conventional) scent and curious to try something better for them and the planet. But it’s also for anyone who sees the beauty.
What “Clean Living” means to me personally is: Such a huge question! But if I was to distill it down to one word, that word would be: integrity. For me, the joy goes out of an experience—be it perfume, food or anything else we consume or have in our home—if, when we dig a little deeper, we realize the product was created with toxic ingredients and/or processes that were harmful to people, animals or the planet. As a brand founder and product creator, integrity is extremely important to me. But, also as a consumer, I feel that I owe it to myself to know how a product was made, plus the impact it will have on me and the environment. If I had more words to play with, I'd add, “less is more.”
The clean product I’m currently obsessed with is: I’m just generally pretty obsessed with scent and its ability to trigger an emotional reaction. At the moment, that scent is neroli, and the reaction is its incredible power for grounding and balancing during times of stress or hormonal flux. Plus, this beautiful oil from early harvesting orange blossom flower with its tart, creamy bright profile smells incredible. I’m currently wearing Golden Neroli on my pulse points before bed and at any moment I need a pick me up during the day.
The words I live by are: Asking myself (and those around me), “Will it matter in five years?” is such a simple notion for when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It can can give perspective within seconds.
One truth that is so important, but people don’t always realize is: I've always found the quote, “This too shall pass,” comforting in testing moments, when it highlights the ephemerality of life and gives perspective. It’s only recently that I learned the full meaning of this quote (popularized by Abraham Lincoln, but attributed to Persian poet Rumi), making it pertinent not just in times of struggle, but also in times of joy. It was an "ah ha!” moment for me around the preciousness of life and a reminder to be grateful and live in the moment.